Monday, July 29, 2013

Rio de Janeiro Welcomes Papa Francesco & 3 million Youth to Copacabana Beach Mass


Under the ever watchful eye of the Christ the Redeemer statue looking down from the mountains surrounding Rio de Janeiro Papa Francesco, Pope Francis, ended World Youth Day with over 3 million of the faithful on the Copacabana Beach.
As far as the eye could see there was a mass of humanity, many who camped out on the beach overnight to share this moment with Papa.
Finally even the western media in the US had to cover the story, I mean three million peaceful people in one place is quite a story in this day and age.  The fact the vast majority were youth makes it a better story.
Here in America we get a daily dosage of money, murder, drugs and demons it seems but during his stay in Brazil the past few days  the Pope actually defined the false gods of today and told the youth they must work to stop edifying such idols of evil.
Pope Francis led his first large mass on Wednesday since returning to his native Latin America, decrying "ephemeral idols" like money and power at Brazil's most revered shrine.
"It is true that nowadays, to some extent, everyone, including our young people, feels attracted by the many idols which take the place of God and appear to offer hope: money, success, power, pleasure," he said at the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida basilica.
"Often a growing sense of loneliness and emptiness in the hearts of many people leads them to seek satisfaction in these ephemeral idols," he said.
In a meeting with bishops and cardinals from South America he talked about the loss of Catholics in Brazil.

"At times we lose people because they don't understand what we are saying, because we have forgotten the language of simplicity and import an intellectualism foreign to our people," he said. "For ordinary people the mystery enters through the heart."

The pope also warned the bishops against assimilating fashionable values of secular culture.

"People today are attracted by things that are faster and faster: rapid Internet connections, speedy cars and planes, instant relationships," he asked. "Is the church herself caught up in the frantic pursuit of efficiency? Dear brothers, let us recover the calm to be able to walk at the same pace as our pilgrims, keeping alongside them, remaining close to them, enabling them to speak of the disappointments present in their hearts and to let us address them."

Among the pope's specific recommendations for the church in Brazil were deeper engagement by bishops in national debates on such "pressing concerns" as "education, health and social harmony"; and more attention to collegiality within the episcopate, downplaying "central bureaucracy" in favor of "local and regional elements."

He gave special attention to the needs of the Amazon basin, in terms of both ecological protection and the training of indigenous clergy to serve indigenous peoples there.

"'Pastoral care' is nothing other than the exercise of the church's motherhood," the pope said. "She gives birth, suckles, gives growth, corrects, nourishes and leads by the hand.

"So we need a church capable of rediscovering the maternal womb of mercy," he said. "Without mercy we have little chance nowadays of becoming part of a world of 'wounded' persons in need of understanding, forgiveness and love."
Pope Francis told leading Latin American bishops that all Catholics must renew the Church with a “missionary spirit,” acknowledging that he and other bishops are “lagging somewhat” in spiritual renewal.
“Bishops must be pastors, close to people, fathers and brothers, and gentle, patient and merciful. Men who love poverty,” the Pope said.
He praised bishops with “simplicity and austerity of life,” urging them not to act like “princes” or to be “ambitious” in seeking to lead another diocese.
Rather, bishops should be “pointing the way” for their people, preventing them from “being scattered” while “ensuring that no one is left behind.” They should be men capable of guarding and protecting their congregation while also instilling hope “so that light will shine in people’s hearts,” the Pope said July 28.
The Pope criticized pastoral plans that “clearly lack nearness, tenderness, a warm touch” and are incapable of sparking “an encounter with Jesus Christ” and with other people.
“Christ’s followers are not individuals caught up in a privatized spirituality, but persons in community, devoting themselves to others,” the Pope said.
Pope Francis focused on two challenges to missionary discipleship: the “inner renewal” of the Church and dialogue with the world. He noted the Second Vatican Council’s guidance in engaging modern life.
“Responding to the existential issues of people today, especially the young, listening to the language they speak, can lead to a fruitful change, which must take place with the help of the Gospel, the magisterium, and the Church’s social doctrine,” the Pope said.
He noted the need to engage the many subcultures of the modern city on their own terms.
“If we remain within the parameters of our ‘traditional culture,’ which was essentially rural, we will end up nullifying the power of the Holy Spirit,” he warned. “God is everywhere: we have to know how to find him in order to be able to proclaim him in the language of each and every culture; every reality, every language, has its own rhythm.”
Pope Francis praised the spread of Bible groups, ecclesial base communities and pastoral councils. He said these advance the responsibility of the laity and help overcome “clericalism.” He particularly praised expressions of popular piety as a “healthy thing” that shows greater lay autonomy.
He also warned against several temptations that are false visions of the missionary spirit.
He said clericalism, an excessive lay dependence on or privileging of priests, is “a temptation very present in Latin America.”
“The phenomenon of clericalism explains, in great part, the lack of maturity and Christian freedom in a good part of the Latin American laity,” he said.
Both laity and priests take refuge in clericalism “because it is easier,” he lamented. This causes some Catholics to fail to grow in Christian life or to take refuge in ideology.
The Pope warned against turning the message of the Gospel into an “ideology,” whether it is “market liberalism” or Marxism.
He said the psychology-focused tendencies of some spirituality courses and spiritual retreats reduce the encounter with Jesus Christ to “self-awareness,” a “self-centered approach” that “has nothing to do with the missionary spirit.” He mentioned the new age practice of the Enneagram as one example.
He criticized the “gnostic solution” of elite groups of “enlightened Catholics” who offer a “higher spirituality.” He said some advocates of ordaining nuns to the priesthood or of giving communion to the divorced and remarried fall into this error.
He also warned against the “Pelagian solution” that seeks a “purely disciplinary solution” through “the restoration of outdated manners and forms which, even on the cultural level, are no longer meaningful.”
Repeating his previous criticisms, he warned against reducing the Church to “the structure of an NGO” focused on quantifiable results, statistics, and a business-like organization. He said some bishops’ conferences open more and more departments that do not help the mission of Church.
Concerning the inner renewal of the Church, Pope Francis stressed the need for “pastoral conversion” focused on “Jesus Christ as the bearer of God’s Kingdom” and trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
He posed many questions to the bishops for their own self-examination.
He said bishops should ask whether they and their priests are working to ensure that their work is “more pastoral than administrative” and whether they serve “the People of God as a whole” rather than “the Church as an organization.”
He asked the bishops to examine whether they “manipulate” or “infantilize” the laity.
“In practice, do we make the lay faithful sharers in the mission?” he asked.
He said bishops should not simply react to complex problems, but should promote opportunities to “manifest God’s mercy.”
The Pope concluded with an exhortation: “I beg that we take seriously our calling as servants of the holy and faithful people of God, for this is where authority is exercised and demonstrated: in the ability to serve.”
Pope Francis addressed the bishops hours after celebrating Sunday Mass for millions of World Youth Day pilgrims gathered on Rio’s Copacabana Beach.
In spite of security concerns Papa Francesco has safely returned to Rome.

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