During Pastoral Visit to Milan, Francis Urges Religious Not to Fear Multicultural Society, Warns Against Ideologies
“As pastors, we cannot avoid forming discernment in a very insidious scenario, in a culture of abundance, which presents many possibilities as valid and good, in which our young people are exposed to continuous ‘zapping,’ being able to navigate in two or three screens, various virtual scenarios, at the same time.”
Pope Francis made this appeal to religious who he met with this morning during his pastoral visit to the northern Italian city of Milan, with whom he met in the city’s Duomo.
“Whether we like it or not,” he encouraged, “it is the world in which they are inserted and it is our duty as pastors to help them to cross this world. Therefore, I think it is important to teach them to discern, so that they have the tools and elements that help them to walk the path of life, without the Holy Spirit that is in them being extinguished. ”
“When we are children,” said the Pontiff, “it is easy for the father and the mother to tell us what to do, and that is fine. But as we grow up amid a multitude of voices which all ‘seem’ to be right, the discernment of what brings us to the Resurrection, to life and not to a culture of death, is crucial. ”
The Holy Father shared these thoughts in the medieval Gothic cathedral during the encounter where he was asked questions by the city’s clergy. Diocesan priest, Gabriele Gioia, asked him how one is to face secularization and the evolution of plural, multiethnic, multicultural and multireligious society.
The Pope noted that “in every age since the early Christians has had multiple challenges” and recalled the episode of Peter in the house of Cornelius in Caesarea.
“We must not fear challenges and it is good that they exist. They are a sign of a living faith, of a community that seeks the Lord and has eyes and an open heart,” he said.
“Rather,” he warned, “let us fear a faith without challenges which is considered complete as if everything had been accomplished.” Because the challenges “help us to make our faith not become ideological.”
And for “multicultural, multireligious and multiethnic” societies, he pointed out that the Church’s history has much to teach us about the culture of diversity, because “the Holy Spirit is the master of diversity.”
Francis invited everyone to look at dioceses, religious communities, congregations, with so many charisms and ways of bringing to life the experience of believers.
“The Church,” said the Pope, “is an experience with many forms, one, but with many forms.”
The Holy Father also pointed out that the Gospel is enriched by its four versions. He therefore invited not to confuse unity with uniformity, plurality with pluralism.
“Everything that does not assume ‘human drama’ can be a very clear and distinguished theory, but not consistent with Revelation and therefore, ideological,” he said, speaking on the necessity of faith to be truly Christian and never illusory.
After speaking with priests and consecrated persons, the Pope recited the Angelus prayer outside the Duomo.
Before reciting the midday prayer, the Pontiff observed to those gathered in the square that the fog had cleared and that some had even predicted rain.
However, gesturing toward the clear blue sky, he pointed out, smiling: “I don’t see it.”
The Holy Father’s last event before returning to Rome was a meeting with recently confirmed young people in the Meazza-San Siro of Milan Stadium.