Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pope challenges bishops to take to the streets

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 30th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Over the weekend, Pope Francis challenged bishops to get out and preach the gospel everywhere, seeking out those most in need.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Saying Mass in a Rio cathedral with a thousand bishops in attendance, Pope Francis issued a challenge. "We cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in our communities when so many people are waiting for the Gospel! It's not enough simply to open the door in welcome, but we must go out through that door to seek and meet the people."

The call to action is similar to one he gave to the youth on Thursday, exhorting them to "shake up" their parishes and communities.

Pope Francis is calling upon the world to take notice of the poor and the marginalized and their plight, and to minister to their needs.

For the Pope, this is more than a message, this is a mission. During his visit to Rio, he visited slums in the troubled city, as well as drug offenders. He welcomed a party of 35 trash recyclers from his native Argentina.

"Let us courageously look to pastoral needs, beginning with the outskirts, with those who are farthest away, with those who do not usually go to church. They too are invited to the table of the Lord."

The call is a reminder that there should be none barred from Church, and none who are left out or disenfranchised. We are all equal in the eyes of the Lord and rich or poor, we all look alike at the hour of judgment.

The call is also a plea, a plea for action in the face of assault from advancing secularism and evangelical movements which are stripping the youth away from the Church. Part of the responsibility for these losses rests with the bishops, who content to remain cloistered in cathedrals are not making the true grace of the Church known well enough to vulnerable people.

The Holy Father has himself lived this, both as a bishop and now as Pope. Today he commands amazing respect. Let's see if the rest of the Church now heeds his call to follow.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)