–– Sito di FORMAZIONE PERMANENTE MISSIONARIA –– Uno sguardo missionario sulla Vita, il Mondo e la Chiesa A missionary look on the life of the world and the church –– VIDA y MISIÓN – VIE et MISSION – VIDA e MISSÃO ––
Communiqué of Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, Director of the Holy See Press Office re: Pope Francis’ Meeting with Victims of Sexual Abuse by the Clergy for by members of their own families or teachers.
This morning between 8:00 and 9:00 am, at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, the Holy Father received some victims of sexual abuse by the clergy or by members of their families or their teachers. The group consisted of five adults – three women, two men – who have suffered abuse when they were minors. Each person was accompanied by a family member or support person. The group was accompanied by Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston and Chair of the commission set up by the Pope for the protection of minors; by the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Most Reverend Charles Chaput and Bishop Fitzgerald, head of the Diocese of Philadelphia Office for the protection of minors. The Pope spoke with visitors, listening to their stories and offering them a few words together as a group and later listening to each one individually. He then prayed with them and expressed his solidarity in sharing their suffering, as well as his own pain and shame in especially in the case of injury caused them by clergy or church workers.
Pope Francis reiterated the commitment of the Church so that all victims be heard and treated with justice; the guilty be punished and crimes of abuse be combated with an effective prevention program in the Church and in society. The Pope thanked the victims for their essential contribution to restore the truth and begin the journey of healing. The meeting lasted about half an hour and ended with the blessing of the Holy Father.
My dearest brothers and sisters in Christ, I am grateful for this opportunity to meet you, I am blessed by your presence. Thank you for corning here today.
Words cannot fully express my sorrow for the abuse you suffered. You are precious children of God who should always expect our protection, our care and our love. I am profoundly sorry that your innocence was violated by those who you trusted. In some cases the trust was betrayed by members of your own family, in other cases by priests who carry a sacred responsibility for the care of soul. In all circumstances, the betrayal was a terrible violation of human dignity.
For those who were abused by a member of the clergy, I am deeply sorry for the times when you or your family spoke out, to report the abuse, but you were not heard or believed. Please know that the Holy Father hears you and believes you. I deeply regret that some bishops failed in their responsibility to protect children. It is very disturbing to know that in some cases bishops even were abusers. I pledge to you that we will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead. Clergy and bishops will be held accountable when they abuse or fail to protect children.
We are gathered here in Philadelphia to celebrate God’s gift of family life. Within our family of faith and our human families, the sins and crimes of sexual abuse of children must no longer be held in secret and in shame. As we anticipate the Jubilee Year of Mercy, your presence, so generously given despite the anger and pain you have experienced, reveals the merciful heart of Christ. Your stories of survival, each unique and compelling, are powerful signs of the hope that comes from the Lord’s promise to be with us always.
It is good to know that you have brought family members and friends with you today. I am grateful for their compassionate support and pray that many people of the Church will respond to the call to accompany those who have suffered abuse. May the Door of Mercy be opened wide in our dioceses, our parishes, our homes and our hearts, to receive those who were abused and to seek the path to forgiveness by trusting in the Lord. We promise to support your continued healing and to always be vigilant to protect the children of today and tomorrow.
When the disciples who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus recognized that He was the Risen Lord, they asked Jesus to stay with them. Like those disciples, I humbly beg you and all survivors of abuse to stay with us, to stay with the Church, and that together, as pilgrims on the journey of faith, we might find our way to the Father.
Questa mattina, nella Cappella del Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary a Philadelphia, il Santo Padre Francesco ha incontrato i Vescovi ospiti dell’Incontro Mondiale delle Famiglie.
A loro il Papa, dopo il saluto dell’Arcivescovo di Philadelphia, S.E. Mons. Charles Joseph Chaput, si è rivolto comunicando l’incontro appena avvenuto con un gruppo di persone abusate quando erano bambini (cfr Boll n. 729), ed ha poi pronunciato il discorso previsto.
Di seguito riportiamo le parole iniziali del Santo Padre e il testo del discorso rivolto ai circa 300 Presuli ospiti del raduno internazionale:
Dear Brother Bishops,
Good morning. I am deeply pained by the stories, the sufferings and the pain of minors who were sexually abused by priests. I continue to be ashamed that persons charged with the tender care of those little ones abused them and caused them grave harm. I deeply regret this. God weeps.
The crimes and sins of sexual abuse of minors may no longer be kept secret; I commit myself to ensuring that the Church makes every effort to protect minors and I promise that those responsible will be held to account.
Survivors of abuse have become true heralds of hope and ministers of mercy; humbly we owe our gratitude to each of them and to their families for their great courage in shedding the light of Christ on the evil sexual abuse of minors.
I say this because I have just met with a group of persons abused as children, who are helped and accompanied here in Philadelphia with particular care by Archbishop Chaput, and we felt that I should communicate this to you.
Dear Brother Bishops,
Good morning. I am deeply pained by the stories, the sufferings and the pain of minors who were sexually abused by priests. I continue to be ashamed that persons charged with the tender care of those little ones abused them and caused them grave harm. I deeply regret this. God weeps. The crimes and sins of sexual abuse of minors may no longer be kept secret; I commit myself to ensuring that the Church makes every effort to protect minors and I promise that those responsible will be held to account. Survivors of abuse have become true heralds of hope and ministers of mercy; humbly we owe our gratitude to each of them and to their families for their great courage in shedding the light of Christ on the evil sexual abuse of minors. I say this because I have just met with a group of persons abused as children, who are helped and accompanied here in Philadelphia with particular care by Archbishop Chaput, and we felt that I should communicate this to you.
I am happy to be able to share these moments of pastoral reflection with you, amid the joyful celebrations for the World Meeting of Families. I am speaking in Spanish because they told me that you all know Spanish.
For the Church, the family is not first and foremost a cause for concern, but rather the joyous confirmation of God’s blessing upon the masterpiece of creation. Every day, all over the world, the Church can rejoice in the Lord’s gift of so many families who, even amid difficult trials, remain faithful to their promises and keep the faith!
I would say that the foremost pastoral challenge of our changing times is to move decisively towards recognizing this gift. For all the obstacles we see before us, gratitude and appreciation should prevail over concerns and complaints. The family is the fundamental locus of the covenant between the Church and God’s creation, with that creation which God blessed on the last day with a family. Without the family, not even the Church would exist. Nor could she be what she is called to be, namely “a sign and instrument of communion with God and of the unity of the entire human race” (Lumen Gentium, 1).
Needless to say, our understanding, shaped by the interplay of ecclesial faith and the conjugal experience of sacramental grace, must not lead us to disregard the unprecedented changes taking place in contemporary society, with their social, cultural – and, sadly, also legal – effects on family bonds. These changes affect all of us, believers and non-believers alike. Christians are not “immune” to the changes of their times. This concrete world, with all its many problems and possibilities, is where we must live, believe and proclaim.
Until recently, we lived in a social context where the similarities between the civil institution of marriage and the Christian sacrament were considerable and shared. The two were interrelated and mutually supportive. This is no longer the case. To describe our situation today, I would use two familiar images: our neighborhood stores and our large supermarkets.
There was a time when one neighborhood store had everything one needed for personal and family life. The products may not have been cleverly displayed, or offered much choice, but there was a personal bond between the shopkeeper and his customers. Business was done on the basis of trust, people knew one another, they were all neighbors. They trusted one another. They built up trust. These stores were often simply known as “the local market”.
Then a different kind of store grew up: the supermarket. Huge spaces with a great selection of merchandise. The world seems to have become one of these great supermarkets; our culture has become more and more competitive. Business is no longer conducted on the basis of trust; others can no longer be trusted. There are no longer close personal relationships. Today’s culture seems to encourage people not to bond with anything or anyone, not to trust. The most important thing nowadays seems to be follow the latest trend or activity. This is even true of religion. Today consumption seems to determine what is important. Consuming relationships, consuming friendships, consuming religions, consuming, consuming… Whatever the cost or consequences. A consumption which does not favor bonding, a consumption which has little to do with human relationships. Social bonds are a mere “means” for the satisfaction of “my needs”. The important thing is no longer our neighbor, with his or her familiar face, story and personality.
The result is a culture which discards everything that is no longer “useful” or “satisfying” for the tastes of the consumer. We have turned our society into a huge multicultural showcase tied only to the tastes of certain “consumers”, while so many others only “eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table” (Mt 15:27).
This causes great harm; it greatly wounds our culture. I dare say that at the root of so many contemporary situations is a kind of impoverishment born of a widespread and radical sense of loneliness. Running after the latest fad, accumulating “friends” on one of the social networks, we get caught up in what contemporary society has to offer. Loneliness with fear of commitment in a limitless effort to feel recognized.
Should we blame our young people for having grown up in this kind of society? Should we condemn them for living in this kind of a world? Should they hear their pastors saying that “it was all better back then”, “the world is falling apart and if things go on this way, who knows where we will end up?” It makes me think of an Argentine tango! No, I do not think that this is the way. As shepherds following in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd, we are asked to seek out, to accompany, to lift up, to bind up the wounds of our time. To look at things realistically, with the eyes of one who feels called to action, to pastoral conversion. The world today demands this pastoral conversion on our part. “It is vitally important for the Church today to go forth and preach the Gospel to all: to all places, on all occasions, without hesitation, reluctance or fear. The joy of the Gospel is for all people: no one can be excluded” (Evangelii Gaudium, 23). The Gospel is not a product to be consumed; it is not a part of this culture of consumption.
We would be mistaken, however, to see this “culture” of the present world as mere indifference towards marriage and the family, as pure and simple selfishness. Are today’s young people hopelessly timid, weak, inconsistent? We must not fall into this trap. Many young people, in the context of this culture of discouragement, have yielded to a form of unconscious acquiescence. They are afraid, deep down, paralyzed before the beautiful, noble and truly necessary challenges. Many put off marriage while waiting for ideal conditions, when everything can be perfect. Meanwhile, life goes on, without really being lived to the full. For knowledge of life’s true pleasures only comes as the fruit of a long-term, generous investment of our intelligence, enthusiasm and passion.
Addressing Congress, a few days ago, I said that we are living in a culture which pressures some young people not to start a family because they lack the material means to do so, and others because they are so well off that they are happy as they are. That is the temptation, not to start a family.
As pastors, we bishops are called to collect our energies and to rebuild enthusiasm for making families correspond ever more fully to the blessing of God which they are! We need to invest our energies not so much in rehearsing the problems of the world around us and the merits of Christianity, but in extending a sincere invitation to young people to be brave and to opt for marriage and the family. In Buenos Aires, many women used to complain about their children who were 30, 32 or 34 years old and still single: “I don’t know what to do” – “Well, stop ironing their shirts!” Young people have to be encouraged to take this risk, but it is a risk of fruitfulness and life.
Here too, we need a bit of holy parrhesia on the part of bishops. “Why aren’t you married?” “Yes, I have a fiancée, but we don’t know… maybe yes, maybe no… We’re saving some money for the party, for this or that…” The holy parrhesia to accompany them and make them grow towards the commitment of marriage.
A Christianity which “does” little in practice, while incessantly “explaining” its teachings, is dangerously unbalanced. I would even say that it is stuck in a vicious circle. A pastor must show that the “Gospel of the family” is truly “good news” in a world where self-concern seems to reign supreme! We are not speaking about some romantic dream: the perseverance which is called for in having a family and raising it transforms the world and human history. Families transform the world and history.
A pastor serenely yet passionately proclaims the word of God. He encourages believers to aim high. He will enable his brothers and sisters to hear and experience God’s promise, which can expand their experience of motherhood and fatherhood within the horizon of a new “familiarity” with God (Mk 3:31-35).
A pastor watches over the dreams, the lives and the growth of his flock. This “watchfulness” is not the result of talking but of shepherding. Only one capable of standing “in the midst of” the flock can be watchful, not someone who is afraid of questions, afraid of contact and accompaniment. A pastor keeps watch first and foremost with prayer, supporting the faith of his people and instilling confidence in the Lord, in his presence. A pastor remains vigilant by helping people to lift their gaze at times of discouragement, frustration and failure. We might well ask whether in our pastoral ministry we are ready to “waste” time with families. Whether we are ready to be present to them, sharing their difficulties and joys.
Naturally, experiencing the spirit of this joyful familiarity with God, and then spreading its powerful evangelical fruitfulness, has to be the primary feature of our lifestyle as bishops: a lifestyle of prayer and preaching the Gospel (Acts 6:4). I have always be struck by how, in the early days of the Church, the Hellenists complained that their widows and orphans were not being well cared for. The apostles, of course, weren’t able to handle this themselves, so they got together and came up with deacons. The Holy Spirit inspired them to create deacons and when Peter announced the decision, he explained: “We are going to choose seven men to take care of this; for our part, we have two responsibilities: prayer and preaching”. What is the first job of bishops? To pray. The second job goes along with this: to preach. We are helped by this dogmatic definition. Unless I am wrong, Cardinal Müller helps us because he defines what is the role of the bishop. The bishop is charged to be a pastor, but to be a pastor first and foremost by his prayer and preaching, because everything else follows, if there is time.
By our own humble Christian apprenticeship in the familial virtues of God’s people, we will become more and more like fathers and mothers (as did Saint Paul: cf. 1 Th 2:7,11), and less like people who have simply learned to live without a family. Lack of contact with families makes us people who learn to live without a family, and this is not good. Our ideal is not to live without love! A good pastor renounces the love of a family precisely in order to focus all his energies, and the grace of his particular vocation, on the evangelical blessing of the love of men and women who carry forward God’s plan of creation, beginning with those who are lost, abandoned, wounded, broken, downtrodden and deprived of their dignity. This total surrender to God’s agape is certainly not a vocation lacking in tenderness and affection! We need but look to Jesus to understand this (cf. Mt 19:12). The mission of a good pastor, in the style of God – and only God can authorize this, not our own presumption! – imitates in every way and for all people the Son’s love for the Father. This is reflected in the tenderness with which a pastor devotes himself to the loving care of the men and women of our human family.
For the eyes of faith, this is a most valuable sign. Our ministry needs to deepen the covenant between the Church and the family. I repeat this: to deepen the covenant between the Church and the family. Otherwise it becomes arid, and the human family will grow irremediably distant, by our own fault, from God’s joyful good news, and will go to the latest supermarket to buy whatever product suits them then and there.
If we prove capable of the demanding task of reflecting God’s love, cultivating infinite patience and serenity as we strive to sow its seeds in the frequently crooked furrows in which we are called to plant – for very often we really do have to sow in crooked furrows –, then even a Samaritan woman with five “non-husbands” will discover that she is capable of giving witness. And for every rich young man who with sadness feels that he has to calmly keep considering the matter, an older publican will come down from the tree and give fourfold to the poor, to whom, before that moment, he had never even given a thought.
My brothers, may God grant us this gift of a renewed closeness between the family and the Church. Families need it, the Church needs it, and we pastors need it.
The family is our ally, our window to the world; the family is the proof of an irrevocable blessing of God destined for all the children who in every age are born into this difficult yet beautiful creation which God has asked us to serve! Thank you.
Alle ore 10.30 di questa mattina, il Santo Padre Francesco si è recato in elicottero all’Istituto di Correzione Curran-Fromhold di Philadelphia, per la visita ai carcerati.
Accolto dal Commissioner of Prisons, dal Direttore e dal Cappellano della prigione, il Papa ha raggiunto la palestra dell’istituto, dove lo attendevano circa 100 detenuti. Nel corso dell’incontro ha utilizzato una sedia in legno costruita appositamente per lui dai carcerati, che hanno voluto fargliene dono.
Dopo gli indirizzi di saluto del Commissioner of Prisons e dell’Arcivescovo di Philadelphia, Papa Francesco ha rivolto ai presenti il discorso che riportiamo di seguito:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Good morning. I am going to speak in Spanish because I don’t speak English, but he [pointing to the interpreter] speaks good English and he is going to translate for me. Thank you for receiving me and giving me the opportunity to be here with you and to share this time in your lives. It is a difficult time, one full of struggles. I know it is a painful time not only for you, but also for your families and for all of society. Any society, any family, which cannot share or take seriously the pain of its children, and views that pain as something normal or to be expected, is a society “condemned” to remain a hostage to itself, prey to the very things which cause that pain.
I am here as a pastor, but above all as a brother, to share your situation and to make it my own. I have come so that we can pray together and offer our God everything that causes us pain, but also everything that gives us hope, so that we can receive from him the power of the resurrection.
I think of the Gospel scene where Jesus washes the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper. This was something his disciples found hard to accept. Even Peter refused, and told him: “You will never wash my feet” (Jn 13:8).
In those days, it was the custom to wash someone’s feet when they came to your home. That was how they welcomed people. The roads were not paved, they were covered with dust, and little stones would get stuck in your sandals. Everyone walked those roads, which left their feet dusty, bruised or cut from those stones. That is why we see Jesus washing feet, our feet, the feet of his disciples, then and now.
We all know that life is a journey, along different roads, different paths, which leave their mark on us.
We also know in faith that Jesus seeks us out. He wants to heal our wounds, to soothe our feet which hurt from travelling alone, to wash each of us clean of the dust from our journey. He doesn’t ask us where we have been, he doesn’t question us what about we have done. Rather, he tells us: “Unless I wash your feet, you have no share with me” (Jn 13:8). Unless I wash your feet, I will not be able to give you the life which the Father always dreamed of, the life for which he created you. Jesus comes to meet us, so that he can restore our dignity as children of God. He wants to help us to set out again, to resume our journey, to recover our hope, to restore our faith and trust. He wants us to keep walking along the paths of life, to realize that we have a mission, and that confinement is never the same thing as exclusion.
Life means “getting our feet dirty” from the dust-filled roads of life and history. All of us need to be cleansed, to be washed. All of us. Myself, first and foremost. All of us are being sought out by the Teacher, who wants to help us resume our journey. The Lord goes in search of us; to all of us he stretches out a helping hand.
It is painful when we see prison systems which are not concerned to care for wounds, to soothe pain, to offer new possibilities. It is painful when we see people who think that only others need to be cleansed, purified, and do not recognize that their weariness, pain and wounds are also the weariness, pain and wounds of society. The Lord tells us this clearly with a sign: he washes our feet so we can come back to the table. The table from which he wishes no one to be excluded. The table which is spread for all and to which all of us are invited.
This time in your life can only have one purpose: to give you a hand in getting back on the right road, to give you a hand to help you rejoin society. All of us are part of that effort, all of us are invited to encourage, help and enable your rehabilitation. A rehabilitation which everyone seeks and desires: inmates and their families, correctional authorities, social and educational programs. A rehabilitation which benefits and elevates the morale of the entire community and society.
I encourage you to have this attitude with one another and with all those who in any way are part of this institution. May you make possible new opportunities; may you blaze new trails, new paths.
All of us have something we need to be cleansed of, or purified from. All of us. May the knowledge of this fact inspire us all to live in solidarity, to support one another and seek the best for others.
Let us look to Jesus, who washes our feet. He is “the way, and the truth, and the life”. He comes to save us from the lie that says no one can change, the lie of thinking that no one can change. Jesus helps us to journey along the paths of life and fulfillment. May the power of his love and his resurrection always be a path leading you to new life.
Just as we are, seated, let us silently ask the Lord to bless us. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May he make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May he lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Thank you.
Impromptu comments at the end of the meeting:
The chair you made is very nice, very beautiful. Thanks for your work.
Al termine, salutati individualmente alcuni detenuti, prima di fa ritorno in elicottero al Seminario S. Carlo Borromeo il Papa ha incontrato alcune persone dello staff e del personale lavorativo della prigione.
Nel pomeriggio, il Santo Padre si è congedato dal Seminario S. Carlo Borromeo, residenza papale a Philadelphia. Prima di raggiungere il B. Franklyn Parkway per la Santa Messa, Papa Francesco ha compiuto una sosta fuori programma alla St. Joseph University, retta dai gesuiti, dove ha incontrato il rabbino Abraham Skorka e benedetto una statua per onorare il 50° anniversario della dichiarazione conciliare Nostra Aetate.
Giunto poi al B. Franklyn Parkway, il Santo Padre ha percorso in papamobile tutto il perimetro del viale assiepato dalle famiglie, salutando i fedeli e abbracciando e baciando moltissimi bambini.
Alle ore 16 ha presieduto la Celebrazione Eucaristica a conclusione dell’VIII Incontro Mondiale delle Famiglie. Dopo la proclamazione del Vangelo, il Papa ha pronunciato l’omelia che riportiamo di seguito:
Today the word of God surprises us with powerful and thought-provoking images. Images which challenge us, but also stir our enthusiasm.
In the first reading, Joshua tells Moses that two members of the people are prophesying, speaking God’s word, without a mandate. In the Gospel, John tells Jesus that the disciples had stopped someone from casting out evil spirits in the name of Jesus. Here is the surprise: Moses and Jesus both rebuke those closest to them for being so narrow! Would that all could be prophets of God’s word! Would that everyone could work miracles in the Lord’s name!
Jesus encountered hostility from people who did not accept what he said and did. For them, his openness to the honest and sincere faith of many men and women who were not part of God’s chosen people seemed intolerable. The disciples, for their part, acted in good faith. But the temptation to be scandalized by the freedom of God, who sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous alike (Mt 5:45), bypassing bureaucracy, officialdom and inner circles, threatens the authenticity of faith. Hence it must be vigorously rejected.
Once we realize this, we can understand why Jesus’ words about causing “scandal” are so harsh. For Jesus, the truly “intolerable” scandal is everything that breaks down and destroys our trust in the working of the Spirit!
Our Father will not be outdone in generosity and he continues to scatter seeds. He scatters the seeds of his presence in our world, for “love consists in this, not that we have loved God but that he loved us” first (1 Jn 4:10). That love gives us the profound certainty that we are sought by God; he waits for us. It is this confidence which makes disciples encourage, support and nurture the good things happening all around them. God wants all his children to take part in the feast of the Gospel. Jesus says, “Do not hold back anything that is good, instead help it to grow!” To raise doubts about the working of the Spirit, to give the impression that it cannot take place in those who are not “part of our group”, who are not “like us”, is a dangerous temptation. Not only does it block conversion to the faith; it is a perversion of faith!
Faith opens a “window” to the presence and working of the Spirit. It shows us that, like happiness, holiness is always tied to little gestures. “Whoever gives you a cup of water in my name will not go unrewarded”, says Jesus (cf. Mk 9:41). These little gestures are those we learn at home, in the family; they get lost amid all the other things we do, yet they do make each day different. They are the quiet things done by mothers and grandmothers, by fathers and grandfathers, by children, by brothers and sisters. They are little signs of tenderness, affection and compassion. Like the warm supper we look forward to at night, the early lunch awaiting someone who gets up early to go to work. Homely gestures. Like a blessing before we go to bed, or a hug after we return from a hard day’s work. Love is shown by little things, by attention to small daily signs which make us feel at home. Faith grows when it is lived and shaped by love. That is why our families, our homes, are true domestic churches. They are the right place for faith to become life, and life to grow in faith.
Jesus tells us not to hold back these little miracles. Instead, he wants us to encourage them, to spread them. He asks us to go through life, our everyday life, encouraging all these little signs of love as signs of his own living and active presence in our world.
So we might ask ourselves, today, here, at the conclusion of this meeting: How are we trying to live this way in our homes, in our societies? What kind of world do we want to leave to our children (cf. Laudato Si’, 160)? We cannot answer these questions alone, by ourselves. It is the Spirit who challenges us to respond as part of the great human family. Our common house can no longer tolerate sterile divisions. The urgent challenge of protecting our home includes the effort to bring the entire human family together in the pursuit of a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change (cf. ibid., 13). May our children find in us models and incentives to communion, not division! May our children find in us men and women capable of joining others in bringing to full flower all the good seeds which the Father has sown!
Pointedly, yet affectionately, Jesus tells us: “If you, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Lk 11:13). How much wisdom there is in these few words! It is true that, as far as goodness and purity of heart are concerned, we human beings don’t have much to show! But Jesus knows that, where children are concerned, we are capable of boundless generosity. So he reassures us: if only we have faith, the Father will give us his Spirit.
We Christians, the Lord’s disciples, ask the families of the world to help us! How many of us are here at this celebration! This is itself something prophetic, a kind of miracle in today’s world, which is tired of inventing new divisions, new hurts, new disasters. Would that we could all be prophets! Would that all of us could be open to miracles of love to benefit our own families and all the families of the world, and thus overcome the scandal of a narrow, petty love, closed in on itself, impatient of others! I leave you with a question for each of you to answer – because I said the word “impatient”: at home do we shout at one another or do we speak with love and tenderness? This is a good way of measuring our love.
And how beautiful it would be if everywhere, even beyond our borders, we could appreciate and encourage this prophecy and this miracle! We renew our faith in the word of the Lord which invites faithful families to this openness. It invites all those who want to share the prophecy of the covenant of man and woman, which generates life and reveals God! May the Lord help us to be sharers in the prophecy of peace, of tenderness and affection in the family. May his word help us to share in the prophetic sign of watching over our children and our grandparents with tenderness, with patience and with love.
Anyone who wants to bring into this world a family which teaches children to be excited by every gesture aimed at overcoming evil – a family which shows that the Spirit is alive and at work – will encounter our gratitude and our appreciation. Whatever the family, people, religion or region to which they belong!
May God grant that all of us may be prophets of the joy of the Gospel, the Gospel of the family and family love, as disciples of the Lord. May he grant us the grace to be worthy of that purity of heart which is not scandalized by the Gospel! Amen.
Al termine della Santa Messa, dopo il saluto dell’Arcivescovo di Philadelphia, S.E. Mons. Charles Joseph Chaput, OFM Cap., il Presidente del Pontificio Consiglio per la Famiglia, S.E. Mons. Vincenzo Paglia, ha annunciato che il IX Incontro Mondiale delle Famiglie si terrà a Dublin (Irlanda) nel 2018.
Quindi il Papa ha consegnato il Vangelo di Luca a cinque famiglie di ogni continente: Kinshasa (Africa), La Habana (America), Hanoi (Asia), Sydney (Australia) e Marseille (Europa), e anche ad una famiglia proveniente da Damasco ( Siria).
Dopo la benedizione finale, il Santo Padre si è recato in auto all’aeroporto internazionale di Philadelphia, per il congedo e il rientro in Italia.
Dopo la Messa al B. Franklyn Parkway, in serata il Santo Padre Francesco ha raggiunto l’aeroporto internazionale di Philadelphia, accolto dal Vice Presidente degli Usa.
Prima della partenza per far rientro a Roma, in un hangar dell’aeroporto il Papa ha incontrato i membri del Comitato Organizzatore, i volontari e i benefattori dell’Incontro Mondiale delle Famiglie e, dopo un momento di canti e testimonianze, ha rivolto ai presenti le parole di saluto che riportiamo di seguito:
My days with you have been brief. But they have been days of great grace for me and, I pray, for you too. Please know that as I prepare to leave, I do so with a heart full of gratitude and hope.
I am grateful to all of you and to the many others who worked so hard to make my visit possible and to prepare for the World Meeting of Families. In a particular way I thank the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the civil authorities, the organizers, and all the many volunteers and benefactors who assisted in ways large and small.
I also thank the families who shared their witness during the Meeting. It is not so easy to speak openly of one’s life journey! But their honesty and humility before the Lord and each of us showed the beauty of family life in all its richness and diversity. I pray that our days of prayer and reflection on the importance of the family for a healthy society will inspire families to continue to strive for holiness and to see the Church as their constant companion, whatever the challenges they may face.
At the end of my visit, I would also like to thank all those who prepared for my stay in the Archdioceses of Washington and New York. It was particularly moving for me to canonize Saint Junípero Serra, who reminds us all of our call to be missionary disciples, and I was also very moved to stand with my brothers and sisters of other religions at Ground Zero, that place which speaks so powerfully of the mystery of evil. Yet we know with certainty that evil never has the last word, and that, in God’s merciful plan, love and peace triumph over all.
Mr. Vice-President, I ask you to renew my gratitude to President Obama and to the Members of Congress, together with the assurance of my prayers for the American people. This land has been blessed with tremendous gifts and opportunities. I pray that you may all be good and generous stewards of the human and material resources entrusted to you.
I thank the Lord that I was able to witness the faith of God’s people in this country, as manifested in our moments of prayer together and evidenced in so many works of charity. Jesus says in the Scriptures: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me”. Your care for me and your generous welcome are a sign of your love for Jesus and your faithfulness to him. So too is your care for the poor, the sick, the homeless and the immigrant, your defense of life at every stage, and your concern for family life. In all of this, you recognize that Jesus is in your midst and that your care for one another is care for Jesus himself.
As I leave, I ask all of you, especially the volunteers and benefactors who assisted with the World Meeting of Families: do not let your enthusiasm for Jesus, his Church, our families, and the broader family of society run dry. May our days together bear fruit that will last, generosity and care for others that will endure! Just as we have received so much from God –gifts freely given us, and not of our own making – so let us freely give to others in return.
Dear friends, I embrace all of you in the Lord and I entrust you to the maternal care of Mary Immaculate, Patroness of the United States. I will pray for you and your families, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. May God bless you all. God bless America!
Al termine, dopo la benedizione finale e il saluto individuale di alcuni volontari e benefattori, il Santo Padre ha incontrato nel DOW Chemical Terminal il Vice-Presidente degli Stati Uniti, Sig. Joe Biden, con i famigliari.
All’aeroporto internazionale di Philadelphia, il Santo Padre Francesco si è congedato questa sera dagli Stati Uniti, al termine del Suo 10° Viaggio Apostolico. Con il Vice-Presidente degli USA erano presenti Autorità civili ed ecclesiastiche e una rappresentanza di fedeli. Dopo gli onori militari e il saluto delle Delegazioni, l’aereo – un B777 dell’American Airlines – con a bordo il Papa che partiva alla volta di Roma è decollato verso le 19.45 locali.