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I dream of a restless Church

· In Prato the Pope condemns corruption and exploitation calling for dignified work for all, and he invites the National Ecclesial Convention in Florence to reject obsession with power and to avoid losing touch with the people ·

A Church that is free, open, restless, “ever closer to the abandoned”, with the face of a mother who “understands, accompanies and caresses”: this is the ‘dream’ Pope Francis confided to participants at the fifth National Ecclesial Convention, who met on Tuesday morning, 10 November, in the Cathedral of Florence.

The meeting with the bishops and delegates from all dioceses of the country, called to outline the path of the ecclesial community for the next decade, offered Pope Francis the opportunity to make his tenth pastoral visit in Italy. Preceded by a break of an hour and a half in Prato, the Pope’s participation at the conference was the high point of the trip, which ended in the afternoon with the Mass in the Artemio Franchi Communal Stadium.

Expounding upon the overall theme of the meeting — entitled “In Jesus Christ the New Humanism” — the Pope gave a lengthy and detailed address in which he first recommended attitudes of humility, selflessness and beatitude, which above all teach “not to be obsessed with power, even when it takes the face of a power that is helpful and functional for the social image of the Church”. He therefore warned against certain temptations, such as Pelagianism and Gnosticism, urging instead to follow the examples of saints like Francis of Assisi and Philip Neri, but also of special personalities such as Don Camillo di Guareschi.

Moreover, the Pope recommended the “capacity for dialogue and encounter”, above all with the least and the marginalized, and he recalled that “evangelical poverty is creative” because it protects the Church “from every surrogate of power, image and money”.

Previously, in Prato, a city symbolic of hard work which has been forced to confront the challenges of economic crisis and immigration, the Pope denounced corruption and lawlessness. Recalling the story of the seven Chinese who died as a result of exploitation and inhuman living conditions, Pope Francis called for the need to give everyone respect, welcome and dignified work.

The Pope’s address in Prato  

Address to the National Ecclesial Convention in Florence  

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