2015-09-09 11:12:00

Pope Francis: families and churches must be open, welcoming

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday continued his catechesis on the family, focusing his attention on the relation between the family and the Christian community.

Listen to Christopher Wells report: 

At his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis noted that the bond between the family and the Christian community is a “natural” bond, because “the Church is a spiritual family, and the family is a little Church.” The Church, he continued, “is the home of those who believe in Jesus as the source of the brotherhood between all men.” The great events of worldly power “are written in the history books, and remain there, but the story of human affections is written directly on the heart of God, and that is the story that remains in eternity.” And this, he said, is why the family is so important.

Jesus Himself, after living for thirty years in the midst of the family in Nazareth, gathered a community around Himself, which is the Church. And this family, the Pope said, is not an “exclusive, closed sect” but a welcoming family that includes not only the Apostles, but also the hungry and the thirsty, the stranger and the persecuted, sinners and Pharisees.

For this reason, Pope Francis said, “it is indispensable to revitalize the covenant between the family and the Christian community.” He went on to say that the family and the parish are “the two places in which that community of love is realized which finds its ultimate source in God Himself.” The Holy Father said “a generous faith is needed to find the understanding and courage” needed to renew this covenant. Only through the grace of God will families and parishes be able to accomplish the “miracle” of shaping a more fraternal and humane world.

Below, please find the English language summary of the Pope’s remarks at Wednesday’s General Audience:

Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the family, we reflect today on the connection between the family and the Christian community. The Church is the home of those who believe in Jesus Christ as the source of the unity of the entire human family. Christ chose to enter our history, to become part of a human family, and to form a community which welcomes all who wish to hear his good news of the Father’s love. There is a close bond, then, between the family and the Church. Families and parishes are the two places where we encounter, in every age, that communion of love which has its ultimate source in God. Just as our families are domestic churches, our parishes are called to be welcoming families. This “covenant” has to be renewed, with the courage and vision born of faith, so that these centres of love, evangelization, and solidarity can, with the help of God’s grace and despite all our limitations, work true miracles for the shaping of a more fraternal and humane world.

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