Pope’s Message to Young People: Make a ‘Mess’ of Church Structure

Pope Francis’ trip to Brazil has been pretty eventful. He’s managed to make international headlines for essentially ignoring security guidelines in an effort to get closer to the thousands that have gathered to see him. Yesterday (the beginning of the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day), he visited a violence-plagued slum in Rio, and today he will meet with young convicts. But beyond his event itinerary, it’s the pope’s unconventional message that’s continuing to cause a stir. During a last-minute appearance in an area where of 30,000 pilgrims from his home country of Argentina had gathered, he encouraged believers to shake up the way the traditional church delivers the Gospel:

I want to tell you something. What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses! I want to see the church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures. Because these need to get out!


Andy Sauer


Andy Sauer commented…

This is a true message of Faith and Love that the Catholic Church has always stood for but has long been mired in controversy shielding people from that message - God Bless Pope Francis!



mynameismarcy commented…

The title is entirely misleading. Pope Francis is great, and also entirely Catholic. He is the Pope for Pete's sake. But every time anyone reports on him, they act as if he was just as against the Catholic church as anything. Note that he did not, in the quote attributed to him, say he wants the structure of the Church made into a mess. And also note, that the AP translation doesn't line up with the more official one by Vatican Radio.

There is so much to commend in Pope Francis. But can we please stop jumping at every chance to pretend that he has all these problems with the very nature of the Catholic Church. He is not so much asking Catholicism to change, but demanding that it change the world. Quite different.

Ashley Williams


Ashley Williams commented…

I think it's this obsession to unify the Church but the problem is that it cannot be unified. We are not together. There are fundamental differences. As Luther said, justification by faith alone is the article upon which the Church stands or falls. We are not together because we do not agree on the means of justification. It's great that he wants change, but let's not pretend like it's fundamental change. I do not hate Catholics or even entertain such ideas, but I am completely convinced we will not be together any time soon, if ever.

Thai Hong


Thai Hong commented…

Ashley: It's interesting that you quote Luther on justification without really knowing where the Catholic Church stands on the issue. There's more agreement than you think, it's always been a matter of people misunderstanding what the Church teaches.

Here is the 1999 Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification between the Lutherans and the Catholics, essentially saying that we agree with each other.


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