02 May 2017
Pope Francis: “The charism of Catholic Action is the charism of the Church herself”
2nd International Congress on C.A. Catholic Action is a mission with everyone and for everyone
The mission of Catholic Action today is—according to Pope Francis—to form “missionary disciples.” The heart of the Holy Father’s long speech, interrupted by many additions off the cuff, to the 2nd Congress of the FIAC (International Forum on Catholic Action) is the mission, as delineated by the Conference at Aparecida and, above all, Evangelii Gaudium.
The meeting began with the introductory words of Card. Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, who emphasized that “All the world’s Catholic Action Associations strongly feel the call to ‘go to the limits,’ to be passionate disciples of Jesus, desirous to get out of the confinement of old habits and old models in order to meet men and women who are still waiting for the message of the Gospel, and to joyfully witness to the Father’s love manifested in his Son Jesus.” After this, some gifts were offered to the Pope, including a notebook with drawings of children of Catholic Action and a Bible found at the bottom of a migrant barge, opened at the page of Psalm 55: “Give ear to my prayer, O God; And do not hide Yourself from my supplication.”
The Holy Father then took the floor and indicated the mission of the association for today, insisting that: “The charism of Catholic Action is the charism of the Church, deeply incarnated in the present and in the environment of every diocesan church.” He, therefore, praised the International Forum of Catholic Action for having “decidedly adopted Evangelii Gaudium as its charter.”
This choice derives from the fact that “the mission is not a task of Catholic Action among many others; it is the task. Catholic Action has the charism for exercising the Church’s pastoral ministry;” and, in order to do this, it is necessary to “rethink your formation plans, your forms of apostolate, and even your prayer, so that they may be essentially, and not occasionally, missionary.”
The words pronounced in front of the Catholic Action delegates from around the world strongly manifested the Pope’s consideration for the laity as a whole and his concern that laypeople not be clericalized. “Catholic Action cannot remain distant from people, but it comes from the people and must be in the midst of the people. You need to popularize Catholic Action more.”
Likewise, Pope Francis expressed his desire for the laity be the protagonist of the outgoing Church: “Going out means openness, generosity, encountering reality beyond the four walls of the institution and the parishes. This means giving up excessive control over things and not programming results.”
The day ended with the vespers, presided by Card. Farrell.