Pope: What have you done to make the church holy?

 francis_pope   All Catholics must ask themselves what they personally have done lately to build up the holiness of the church and ensure people feel welcomed and loved in it, Pope Francis said.
    “Some people today say, ‘Christ, yes; the church, no,’ like they say, ‘I believe in God, but not in priests,’” the pope said. Such a position does not make sense because “it is the church that brings us Christ and brings us to God. The church is the great family of God’s children.”
    During his general audience May 29, Pope Francis announced he would begin a series of talks about the church.
    “The church is the great family of children of God,” he said. “Certainly it has human aspects from the members who comprise it, pastors and faithful. They have defects, imperfections, sins. Even the pope has them – and he has many – but what is beautiful is that when we become aware that we are sinners, we find the mercy of God. God always forgives. Don’t forget this. God always forgives.
    “Sin is an offense against God, but it’s also an opportunity,” he said. “Humiliation can lead one to see there is something beautiful awaiting you: the mercy of God. Think about this.”
    God’s plan is to unite all humanity into one family where everyone recognizes he or she is a child of God and loved by him: “The church is born from God’s desire to call all people into communion with him” and “to participate in his divine life.”
    During the Year of Faith, he said, Catholics should pray that their parishes and the entire church would increasingly be a family that lives and shares God’s love and mercy.
    Noting that many people today complain about the church, Pope Francis urged Catholics to ask themselves several questions: “How much do I love the church? Do I pray for it? Do I feel part of the church family? What do I do to make the church a community where everyone feels welcomed and understood, everyone feels the mercy and love of God who renews life?”
    Too many times, the pope said, “we are faith-checkers instead of facilitators of the people’s faith.” He used the example of an unmarried mother who goes to a parish asking that her baby be baptized only to hear, “No, you aren’t married.”
    “This young woman had the courage” to carry her baby to term and not have an abortion, he said, and “what does she find? A closed door. And this happens to a lot of people. This is not good pastoral zeal. This pushes people away from the Lord.”
    – VATICAN CITY (CNS)

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