Sorry, I Have a New Commitment

Pope Francis sent his regrets to the plenary meeting of the Argentinian episcopate. He can't be present due to unforeseen events. But he shared some thoughts with them:

In a letter sent to the group, which will remain in closed session until April 20, the Pope begins by apologizing for his absence noting that recent commitments have impeded his attending. He then urges them to reflect on the theme Into the Deep in light of the great missionary document of Aparecida, launched following the V General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean. A document the then Cardinal Bergoglio helped draft.Mission he notes, is key to ministry. A Church that does not go out of itself, sooner or later, sickens from the stale air of closed rooms. Pope Francis went on to concede that at times, like anyone else, in going out the Church risks running into accidents. But he added I prefer a thousand times over a Church of accidents than a sick Church.Pope Francis said that the Church typically suffers from being self-referential, of only looking to and relying on itself. He spoke of a narcissism that leads to a routine spirituality and convoluted clericalism and prevents people from experiencing the sweet and comforting joy of evangelization.

The full letter, in Spanish, is here.

Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is a longtime Commonweal contributor.

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