Pope Francis to Church leaders in Hungary: Risen Christ is the future

Meeting with Hungarian bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, seminarians, and pastoral workers, Pope Francis calls for “the grace of discernment,” to enable us to approach our own times with openness and a” prophetic spirit”.

By Christopher Wells

Pope Francis’ message on Friday to Hungarian Church leaders – bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated women and men, seminarians, and pastoral workers – focused on the centrality of the Risen Christ, who is “indeed our future.”

Prophetic receptivity

In the face of the challenges of the modern world, the Pope warned against two contrary temptations of “bleak defeatism” and “worldly conformism.”

Instead, he said, the Church is called to a “prophetic receptivity” based on the Gospel, which gives us “the grace of discernment, enabling us to approach our own times with openness, but also with a prophetic spirit.”

Recalling Christ’s parable of the fig tree, Pope Francis explained that we are called to be open to the signs of the times, and to see the changes and challenges of the modern world “as a fruitful plant pointing to the time of the Lord’s future coming.”

Pope Francis with Hungary's Church ministers
Pope Francis with Hungary's Church ministers

Bear witness to communion

He noted that in Hungary, some of those challenges include secularism, materialism, hedonism, and polarization, which especially threaten families and the young.

Yet, these challenges can help the Church, the Pope said, quoting his predecessor, Benedict XVI, since they provide opportunities to strengthen the faith and understand contemporary issues more deeply.

Pope Francis went on to highlight various trials facing the Church, including the vocations crisis and division within the Church. Of the latter, the Holy Father insisted on the need “to bear witness to communion,” as the "first pastoral priority,” because, he said, “God is communion and He is present wherever there is fraternal charity.”

Pope Francis kisses a relic of St. Stephen's hand
Pope Francis kisses a relic of St. Stephen's hand

Men and women of prayer

Concluding his remarks, Pope Francis pointed toward “the Church to which we must aspire: A Church capable of mutual listening, dialogue, and care for the most vulnerable. A Church welcoming to all and courageous in bringing the prophetic message of the Gospel to everyone.”

And he invited Church leaders in Hungary, and all the faithful of the country, to be welcoming, to bear witness to the prophetic message of the Gospel, and above all, to be men and women of prayer “because the future depends on this.”

He prayed that their spirits “might never falter, but always press on with great joy.”

Budapest, Meeting with Consecrated Persons

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28 April 2023, 18:00