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The Church both human and divine

· New series of catecheses begun by Pope Francis ·

An appointment with the Romans to celebrate Corpus Christi together

The Church “is not an organization established by an agreement between a few people”, but “she is a work of God”, because she was “born precisely from this loving design which is gradually brought about in history”.

This morning, Wednesday 29 May, Pope Francis cited Benedict XVI in reaffirming the real identity of the Church as “God's family”. And beginning a series of catecheses on the mystery of the Church – as he himself explained to the faithful who were present at the General Audience – he condemned  the behaviour of those who still say: “Christ yes, the Church no”, or “I believe in God, but not in priests”.

It is truly the Church, recalled the Pope, that “brings Christ to us and that brings us to God”. It is a big family that naturally “also has human aspects”, and therefore “those who make up the Church” – whether pastors or the faithful – are people with “shortcomings, imperfections, and sins”. No one is exempt, “the Pope has these too”, he said without hesitating. But what is beautiful is that at the very moment in which “we realize we are sinners we encounter the mercy of God who always forgives”.

And if, as “some people say”, sin “is an offence to God”, then it is also true that there is “also an opportunity to humble oneself—the Holy Father emphasized—so as to realize that there is something else more beautiful: God's mercy”.

Therefore, he added, it is necessary that each of us ask today: “How much do I love the Church? Do I pray for her? Do I feel part of the family of the Church? What do I do to ensure that she is a community in which each one feels welcome and understood, feels the mercy and love of God who renews life?” The Faith “is a gift and an act which concern us personally, but God calls us to live with our faith, together as a family, as Church”, said the Pope.

The Holy Father saluted pilgrims coming from different countries and ecouraged them to love the Church. He particularly asked the French groups present to defend her and devote themselves to her. He then greeted the Italians and arranged with the Roman faithful to celebrate Corpus Christi together on Thursday 30 May.

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St. Peter’s Square

Aug. 25, 2019

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