By Christopher Wells
In receiving participants in the IV Forum of Catholic Inspired Non-Governmental Organizations, Pope Francis noted that their visit to the See of Peter is a symbol of their communion with the universal Church.
The Holy Father reminded them that they demonstrate what Vatican II described as “the presence of the Church in the world”. Quoting from the pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes, the Pope said, “Different Catholic international bodies can assist the community of nations on the way to peace, sisterhood and brotherhood”.
Strengthening Catholic-inspired organizations
Taking his lead from the Council’s teaching, Pope Francis went on to address three ways in which Catholic-inspired organizations can be strengthened: “the formation of members, having the necessary means, and coordinating initiatives through teamwork”.
With regard to formation, the Pope noted the need for a consistent witness of life, which calls for both a deep formation in the faith, and “a suitable professional preparation”, that allows one to address contemporary concerns from a Christian perspective.
Pope Francis recalled the parable of the talents as he spoke about the importance of possessing the necessary means to accomplish their work. Sometimes, he said, those means might prove insufficient – but we should not become discouraged, “but keep in mind that the Church has always accomplished great works with limited means”.
Finally, emphasizing the need to coordinate initiatives through teamwork, Pope Francis said that “cooperating in shared projects makes the value of our works even more evident”. As a result, he said, the projects carried out together “will have the expanding effect of the leaven of the Gospel and the light and power of the earliest Christians”. Today’s world, he continued, “is calling for new boldness and new imagination in opening new paths of dialogue and cooperation, in order to promote a ‘culture of encounter’…”
The Church needs your work
Pope Francis concluded by assuring those present, “The Church and the Pope need your work, your commitment and your witness at the frontiers of the international community”. And he encouraged them to “move forward with courage and ever-renewed hope”.