Sunday February 9th. 2014                                                                                        Charity registration No. SC 002876

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In his first extensive letter, Pope Francis has insisted from the very beginning that evangelisation must start with the emphasis on God’s saving love before we start proclaiming the doctrine of the Church— and that applies to each of us!

He lays out a vision of the Catholic Church dedicated to evangelisation in a positive way, with a focus on society's poorest and most vulnerable, including the aged and unborn.

Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), released by the Vatican last November, is an exhortation, with Francis' distinctive style evident throughout.

He writes that an "evangeliser must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral!"

There is an emphasis on some of his special themes, including the danger of  "spiritual worldliness".

The Church's message has to concentrate on the essentials - “ the basic core is the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ who died and rose from the dead."

Inspired by Jesus' poverty and concern for the dispossessed during his earthly ministry, Pope Francis repeats his familiar call for a "Church which is poor and for the poor".

The poor have much to teach us, he writes. "We are called to find Christ in them, to lend our voices to their causes, but also to be their friends, to listen to them, to speak for them and to embrace the mysterious wisdom which God wishes to share with us through them."

Charity is more than mere hand-outs, the Pope insists. "It means working to eliminate the

causes of poverty and to promote the  development of the poor.

"This means education, access to health care, and above all employment that the poor can enhance the dignity  of their lives."

Yet, he adds: "The worst discrimination which the poor suffer is the lack of spiritual care. They need God and we must not fail to offer them his friendship, his blessing, his word, the celebration of the sacraments and a journey of growth and maturity in the faith."

Pope Francis again criticises  the "ideologies of financial speculation," which he blames for the current financial crisis caused by the  "idolatry of money”.


And he emphasises that the Church’s concern for the vulnerable extends to unborn children - "the most defenceless and innocent among us" whose defence is closely linked to the defence of each and every other human right.

"A human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development."

Evangelisation must also entail peace-making through ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue.


Pope Francis reaffirms Church teaching that only men can be priests, but notes that their "sacramental power" must not be "too closely identified with power in general," nor understood as domination.”

He allows for the "possible role of women in decision making in different areas of the Church's life."

The Pope stresses the importance of mercy, particularly with regard to the Church's moral teaching.


The above article and the following information was taken from Flourish, the Archdiocese of Glasgow's monthly newspaper whose editor is by Vincent Toal

 

The Joy of the Gospel—and us. This letter of Pope Francis asks each Catholic to be involved in the evangelisation in their parish. This will become more necessary as the number of clergy decreases


The Archdiocese of Glasgow is a prime example of the serious problems that all diocese throughout Britain, and in other countries, are experiencing

Because of the shortage of priests, and few vocations to the  priesthood, the Glasgow Archdiocese will have to rely more and more in the future on deacons and the laity to assume more responsibility for the running of parishes.


In 1977, the number of priests working in the Archdiocese was 285. By 1997, this was reduced to 166, and today there are only 85 priests!

Archbishop Tartaglia warns that by 2020 there will be fewer than 50 priests in the diocese because of sickness, retirement of elderly priests and lack of vocations


He will shortly have a  meeting with the priests and laity of the diocese to discuss with them the difficult decisions he must make of closing down some parishes and amalgamating others so that priests will not be stretched to the limit trying to serve three or more parishes.  


Our own diocese, as well as other dioceses in Scotland,  will possibly meet similar problems in the near future as our clergy get older and there are few vocations to replace them.


This is where parishioners will have to play a more active evangelising role in sharing the responsibility of running the parish with their parish priest, and even prepare for the day when there may be no resident priest in the parish.

Joy of the Gospel - Evangelii Gaudium