The Church is not an NGO, warns Pope Francis
The pope had a direct message for employees of the Vatican's Institute for Religious Works
- Vatican City
- April 25, 2013
The Church is not a bureaucratic organization, it is a story of love, if "it creates offices and becomes somewhat bureaucratic, the Church loses its main substance and is in danger of turning into an NGO. And the Church is not an NGO". The statement was repeated at Mass this morning by Pope Francis celebrated in the chapel of St. Martha's residence. Among those present, were employees of the Institute for Religious Works (IOR).
According to Vatican Radio, the Pope himself brought the subject up: "It's a love story ... But there are those from the IOR ... excuse me, eh! .. some things are necessary, offices are required ... ok! but they are necessary up to a certain point: as an aid to this love story. But when organization takes first place, love falls down and the Church, poor thing, becomes an NGO. And this is not the way forward."
The readings of the day tell the story of the first Christian community that grows and multiplies its disciples. A good thing, says the Pope, but that can push to make "deals" to get even "more partners in this venture." "Instead, the path that Jesus willed for his Church is another: the path of the difficulties, the path of the Cross, the path of persecution ... And this makes us wonder: What is this Church? This, our Church so it doesn't seems a human enterprise".
The Church is "something more": "the disciples do not the Church make, they are only the messengers sent by Jesus. And Christ was sent by the Father." So, you see that the Church begins there, in the heart of the Father, who had this idea ... I do not know if He had an idea, the Father: the Father had love. This love story began, this love story that lasts through time and still has not ended. We, the women and men of the Church, we are in the middle of a love story: each of us is a link in this chain of love. And if we do not understand this, we do not understand anything about what the Church is. "
"The Church does not grow thanks to human strength: some Christians made mistakes for historical reasons, they took a wrong turn, they had armies, and they waged wars of religion: that is another story, which is not this love story. We too must learn by our mistakes how the love story progresses. But how does it grow?
Like Jesus simply said, like the mustard seed, it grows like the yeast in the flour, without noise. "The Church grows "from the bottom, slowly." "And when the Church wants to boast of its quantity and makes organizations, and makes offices and become somewhat bureaucratic, then the Church loses its main substance and is in danger of turning into an NGO. And the Church is not an NGO. It's a love story ... But there are those from the IOR ... excuse me, eh! .. some things are necessary, offices are required ... ok! but they are necessary up to a certain point: as an aid to this love story. But when organization takes first place, love falls down and the Church, poor thing, becomes an NGO. And this is not the way forward. "
A head of state, he said, asked how big the Pope's army was. But the Church does not grow "through the military", but with the power of the Holy Spirit. Because the Church is not an organization. "No, it is a Mother. It is a Mother. There are many mothers here, at this Mass. How would you feel if someone said to you:' So... you are the manager of your house '?' No, I am the Mammy!. 'And the Church is Mother. And we are in the middle of a love story that runs on the power of the Holy Spirit and we, all of us together, are a family in the Church who is our Mother. "