The Vedruna Family in Europe expresses its deep gratitude and support to Pope Francis in a statement that highlights his role as an authentic Pastor who guides the Church with hope and prophecy. In the following text, they express the special connection they feel with Francis’ pontificate, recognizing his valuable commitment to openness, inclusiveness and transformation of the Church.
“We cannot fail to opt for the hope and prophethood that Francis brings us!”
As the Vedruna Family in Europe we express our gratitude and renewed support to Pope Francis, determined to continue on this path of openness that he is proposing to us.
We cannot fail to opt for the hope and prophecy that Francis brings us!
First of all, we thank him for being a true Shepherd who “smells like sheep”, who listens and attends to all. He welcomes, listens, blesses, offers his word, raises his voice to all, protects …. Francis uses his shepherd’s staff, his pontificate, to to make us rest in green pastures, guide us to streams of calm waters, give us new strength and lead us along straight paths. (Ps 23:2). Fixing his eyes and heart especially on those who are on the margins and are discarded. And naming bluntly the causes, personal and collective, of our deviations from the Gospel. Because he does not seek to please but to lead, as pastor of the Church, all men and women without exception, to the Gospel of Jesus. He is the Pope of all. His is a pontificate of service, not of power: by the ways of the Gospel. He himself tastes like the gospel. And he is encouraging us to move out of our comfort zone towards Jesus and his Good News, towards human fraternity.
With this way of doing things, and knowing our human nature, it is not surprising that there is an intransigent opposition that, instead of dialogue, uses disqualification of its doctrine and pastoral action. Within the Church, through analyses clinging to the past, and a clericalism clothed in theological, spiritual or tradition-faithfulness reasons, advocating immobility in a world in constant movement that cries out for a greater humanity. Perceiving the changes to update the Church to the signs of the times as triggers of a crisis that could lead us to chaos. Nor are we surprised that he has been reproached outside the Church by some who see economic or other spurious interests at risk. The incomprehension and rejection suffered by Jesus himself and by so many authentic prophets in history is repeated in him.
His service in the pontificate is prophetic and is enlivening the hope of those of us who are part of the Church and also of others who were previously distant. It is giving a living hope inside and outside the Church. Pope Francis embodies the hope of the Second Vatican Council, of an open, Samaritan and merciful Church.
We appreciate his simple and compassionate style, with his expressions so popular and clear, so sharp using, like Jesus, the reference to everyday things with depth, tenderness and firmness. His passion for inclusion, his charity over orthodoxy, rigidity or control. Their renunciation of some atavistic privileges. His determination to uncover the truth about abuses of power of all kinds in order to eradicate them and to accompany the victims. Its renewal of structures in the Church. Its lively dialogue with other confessions, religions and convictions. His determination to ensure that the Church hears the cry of the poor and of the Earth. His eagerness to gather the Church, so pluralistic, to make a synodal journey, to walk together. Her grain of sand to initiate the visibility of the feminine face of God in the Church, in some places of decision, as we have never seen before. And above all, its integral spirituality that nurtures all this work: that loving awareness of not being disconnected from other creatures, of forming with the other beings of the universe a precious universal communion, […] because everything and everyone, humanity, the soil, the water, the mountains, everything is God’s caress” (cf. LS 220 and 84)..
We can say to Francisco, paraphrasing the end of a poem: continues to be a sign of faith and love. Sow hope in a Church that needs your heartfull of God. At the same time that in our Vedruna Family we watch to incarnate with our life this fresh wind of abundant life that Francis brings us.