The Pope in St Martin's Cathedral in Bratislava (Photo: Catholic Press Photo)

The Pope in Bratislava: "The Church and the adventure of freedom"

The Pope address to bishops, priests and the religious. "May the proclamation of the Gospel be liberating, never oppressive. And may the Church be a sign of freedom and welcome!"
Pope Francis

I am happy to greet all of you, and I am grateful to Archbishop Stanislav Zvolenský for his kind words. Thank you for your invitation to feel at home in your midst. I have come as your brother, so indeed I feel like one of you. I am here to share your journey – this is what a Bishop and a Pope is supposed to do – your questions, and the aspirations and hopes of this Church and this country; in that regard, I just told the President that Slovakia is a poem! Sharing was the style of the first Christian community: they were constant in prayer and they walked together in concord (cf. Acts 1:2-14). They also quarrelled, but they walked together.

This is what we need most of all: a Church that can walk together, that can tread the paths of life holding high the living flame of the Gospel. The Church is not a fortress, a stronghold, a lofty castle, self-sufficient and looking out upon the world below. Here in Bratislava, you have a castle and it is a fine one! The Church, though, is a community that seeks to draw people to Christ with the joy of the Gospel, not a castle! She is the leaven of God’s Kingdom of love and peace in our world. Please, let us not be tempted by worldly trappings and grandeur! The Church must be humble, like Jesus, who stripped himself of everything and made himself poor in order to make us rich (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). That is how he came to dwell among us and to care for our wounded humanity.

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