“I dream of a ‘missionary option,’ that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s custom, ways of doings things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation. The renewal of structures demanded by pastoral conversion can only be understood in this light: as part of an effort to make them more mission-oriented, to make ordinary pastoral activity on every level more inclusive and open, to inspire in pastoral workers a constant desire to go forth and in this way to elict a positive response from all those whom Jesus summons to friendship with him. As John Paul II once said to the Bishops of Oceania: ‘All renewal in the Church must have mission as its goal if it is not to fall prey to a kind of ecclesial introversion.” (27)
Thought for the day: Pope Francis is calling the Church to a renewal today. Not in the distant future. What does Pope Francis mean when he says that the structures of the Church should not have as their goal her self-preservation? Is the Church to often caught in a trap of ecclesial introversion? Where is Jesus calling me to bring the Good News?
Last week, I was having dinner with a priest from Cuba. He was telling us that when John Paul II visited Cuba. The government allowed the Church greater freedom for a couple of years to preach the Gospel. He went on to relate the different approaches that the evangelical churches and catholic churches took. The evangelical churches quickly called evangelists to preach in their churches. They organized buses for people to come to their churches. The catholic bishops decided to write a document on evangelization. Then they created sub committees to study the document. Eventually the government cracked down on the churches and the window of greater freedom was closed. The end result was that the protestant churches grew greatly while the catholic church lost many of it members.