Saturday, December 7, 2019

Greetings for Catholic inspired NGOs

This morning, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father, Pope Francis received in audience the participants taking part in the IV World Forum of Catholic Inspired NGOs taking place in Rome from 5 to 7 December 2019 and focused on the theme: Toward a More Inclusive Society.

Greetings of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
for Catholic NGOs

Dear representatives of the Holy See to International Organizations,
Dear friends and leaders of Catholic inspired NGOs,

I am glad to welcome you to this headquarters of Peter, a symbol of communion with the universal Church. Thank you for coming from several countries of the world to share experiences and reflections on the issue of inclusion. Thanks for this effort. Your eyes are no longer going to work hard because they can read calmly. With this, you want to convey a concrete testimony to encourage the most vulnerable to be welcomed, included, in order to make the world a common home. All this is done with experiences on the ground and also in the international political arena.

Many of you are interested and try to be present in places where the human rights of people, their living conditions, their habitat, their education, their development and other social problems are debated. In this way, they give life to what the Second Vatican Council affirmed: the Church exists in this world and lives and acts with it (Gaudium et spes, 40).

It is a frontier for the Church in which they can play a remarkable role, as the Council itself recalled in speaking of the cooperation of the Christian in international institutions, I quote: To the peaceful and fraternal creation of the community of peoples can also serve in multiple ways the various international Catholic associations, which must be consolidated by increasing the number of their well-trained members, the means they need, and the proper coordination of energies. Effectiveness in action and the need for dialogue call for team initiatives in our time (GS, 90).

This Council's statement has great relevance and I would like to highlight three aspects in it: 1) formation of members; 2) having the necessary means; 3) sharing initiatives and knowing how to work in a team.

First: formation. The complexity of the world and the anthropological crisis in which we are immersed today require a coherent testimony of life in order to create a dialogue and a positive reflection on human dignity. This testimony supposes two demands: on the one hand, a great faith and confidence in knowing ourselves as instruments of God's action in the world; it is not our effectiveness that prevails; on the other hand, it is necessary to have adequate professional preparation in scientific and human subjects to know how to present them from the Christian perspective; In this sense, the Social Doctrine of the Church offers the framework of adequate ecclesial principles to better serve humanity. I recommend that you get to know these teachings, train well in them, and then translate their plans.

Adequate formation and education, as a transversal dimension to the problems of socio-political life, is today a priority commitment for the Church. We cannot speak from memory. That is why I wanted to launch a global appeal, to rebuild a global Pact concerning education, a step forward that is aimed at peace and justice, that works toward reception between peoples and universal solidarity, in addition to having accountability for the care of our common home, in the sense that is expressed in the Encyclical Laudato si '. Therefore, I encourage you to further increase your professionalism and your ecclesial identity.

Second: have the necessary material means to carry out the indicated purposes. Remember the parable of the talents. The means are important, they are necessary, yes, but they may sometimes be insufficient to achieve the proposed objectives. We don't have to get discouraged. We must remember that the Church has always done great works with poor means. We must try, certainly, and use our own talents to the fullest, but demonstrating with these talents, the truth that all power comes to us from God, that all power is not ours. It is there where his wealth lies; for the rest, Saint Paul says: God has the power to fill you with all his gifts, so that you always have what you need, and still have enough to do all kinds of good works (2 Cor 9:8) . Sometimes the excess of material goods means to carry out a work is counterproductive because it anesthetizes creativity. And that, from the administration of a housewife, to large industries or large charities, to have to shake my head to see how I feed six thousand, with a portion for four thousand; That increases creativity, for example. Moreover, in all this, there is a disease of the material means in the institutions; Sometimes, when they are abundant, resources do not reach where they need to go. Because, as we have resources, we pay a sub-secretariat there and a sub-secretariat here; and, then, the administrative organization chart grows so much that 40, 50, 60% of the contributions that are received remain in the organizational apparatus and do not reach where they are meant to go. This I don't invent, this happens today in many Church institutions that you know well.

Finally, sharing initiatives to work as a team. The experience of faith, knowing how to carry the grace of the Lord, tells us that this is possible, to share our initiatives to work as a team. Collaborating in common projects makes the value of the work shine even more, because it shows something that is innate to the Church, its communion, walking together in the same mission (syn-odos) at the service of the common good, through the co-responsibility and contribution of each one. Your Forum seeks to be an example of this, so the projects they carry out in each place, joining forces with other Catholic organizations, and in communion with their pastors and with the Representatives of the Holy See before international organizations, will have the multiplier effect of the leaven of the Gospel, and the light and strength of the first Christians. Today's world is demanding new boldness and new imagination to open other avenues for dialogue and cooperation, to favour a culture of encounter, where the dignity of the human being is placed at the centre according to God's creative plan.

Dear friends: the Church and the Pope need your work, your commitment and your witness on the frontier of the international arena.  For you, the word border must have a lot of meaning.  Keep up the good work and always with renewed hope.  Thank you.
Texto original en español
Testo in italiano
Texte en français

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