The ax of Pope Francis on ecclesial movements, stop to presidents for life and abuses of power

The ax of Pope Francis on ecclesial movements, stop to presidents for life and abuses of power
The ax of Pope Francis on ecclesial movements, stop to presidents for life and abuses of power

Vatican City – After the ax that fell on the vast and jagged archipelago of ecclesial movements – from Neocatecumentals to the Renewal of the Spirit, from CL to Focolarini, from Sant’Egidio to Catholic Action just to name the most important and deeply rooted – Pope Francis he explained why he recently signed a bill preventing presidents from staying for life. What he wants is to avoid self-referentiality, the abuses that have occurred in some realities, sometimes the overly autonomous management of structures in which a healthy turnover is lacking at the top. The movements recognized by the Vatican are several hundred, some of which are commissioned as the Heralds of the Gospel.

“The exercise of government within associations and movements is a theme that is particularly close to my heart, especially considering the cases of abuse of various kinds that have also occurred in these realities and which always find their roots in ‘abuse of power’ underlined Francis at the meeting with the moderators of the associations of the faithful, ecclesial movements and new communities, organized by the Dicastery for the Laity on the theme “Responsibility for governance in lay groups: an ecclesial service”.

“Not infrequently the Holy See, in recent years – observed the Pontiff, also recalling the decree of 11 June last ‘International associations of the faithful’ -, has had to intervene, starting not easy processes of rehabilitation. And I think not only of these very bad situations, which make noise; but also to the diseases that come from the weakening of the foundational charism, which becomes lukewarm and loses the ability to attract ».

He reiterated that government posts are “a call to serve” not a power role. «They delegate to the other tasks and responsibilities for certain areas, but only theoretically! In practice, however, delegation to others is emptied of the desire to be everywhere. And this desire for power cancels all forms of subsidiarity. This attitude is ugly and ends up emptying the ecclesial body of strength. It is a bad way of disciplining ».

According to the Pontiff, who are they realities in which superiors try to make their role “eternal”, even by “changing the constitutions”, or “buying” re-election. In some religious institutes “by always keeping the same people in government posts, they have not prepared the future; they have allowed abuses to infiltrate and are now going through great difficulties ”.

“The other obstacle to true Christian service,” very subtle “, is” disloyalty “, and” we encounter it when someone wants to serve the Lord but also serves other things that are not the Lord. And the other things are always the money. It’s a bit like playing a double game! “

In short, the Pope added, we must avoid falling «into the trap of disloyalty when we present ourselves to others as ‘the only interpreters’ of the charism, the only heirs of our association or movement; or when, deeming ourselves indispensable, we do everything to cover life-long positions; or when we pretend to decide a priori who should be our successor. But no one is master of the gifts received for the good of the Church, no one must suffocate them ».

Speaking off the cuff, Francis complained of a certain mentality at the top of the Church which, according to him, does not see the real problems of the people. «So much poverty, misery … I think of us who here in the Vatican complain when the meal is not well cooked, when there are people who do not have to eat».


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