Saturday, December 7, 2019

Pope Francis to NGO's "...testimony involves... a great faith and trust in knowing ourselves as instruments of God's action in the world...." Full Text


Hall of the Consistory
Saturday, 7 December 2019

Dear Representatives of the Holy See to International Organizations,
Dear friends, managers and managers of non-governmental organizations of Catholic inspiration,

I am pleased to be able to welcome you to this See of Peter, a symbol of communion with the universal Church. I thank you for coming from various countries of the world to share experiences and reflections on the theme of inclusion. Thank you for this effort. With it you want to convey a concrete testimony to encourage the acceptance and inclusion of the most vulnerable, to make the world a "common home". All this is accomplished with experiences in the field and also in international politics.

Many of you are interested and try to be present in the places where people's human rights, their living conditions, their habitat, education, development and other social problems are debated. In this way, you realize what the Second Vatican Council has said: the Church "is in the world and together with it lives and acts" (Cost. Past. Gaudium et spes, 40). It is a "frontier" for the Church in which you can play a remarkable role, as the Council itself recalled when dealing with the cooperation of the Christian in international institutions: "In addition, the various international Catholic associations can serve in many ways to build up the community of peoples in peace and brotherhood. Therefore it will be necessary to strengthen them, increasing the number of well-trained cooperators, with the necessary subsidies and through an adequate coordination of forces. In our day, in fact, effective action and the need for dialogue require collective initiatives "(ibid., 90). This conciliar affirmation is very timely and I would like to highlight three aspects: 1) the formation of the adherents; 2) the necessary means; 3) share initiatives knowing how to work in groups.

First: training. The complexity of the world and the anthropological crisis in which we are immersed today require a coherent testimony of life to be able to arouse a dialogue and a positive reflection on human dignity. This testimony involves two needs: on the one hand, a great faith and trust in knowing ourselves as instruments of God's action in the world; in the first place there is not our efficiency. On the other hand, it is necessary to have adequate professional preparation in scientific and humanistic subjects in order to know how to present them from a Christian perspective; in this sense, the social doctrine of the Church offers the framework of ecclesial principles suitable for better serving humanity. I recommend you to know it, to be well trained in it, to then "translate" it into your projects.

Appropriate training and education, as a transversal dimension to the problems of socio-political life, is a priority commitment for the Church today. We cannot "live on income". This is why I wanted to launch a global appeal to rebuild a Global Education Pact - a step forward - that builds peace and justice, acceptance among peoples and universal solidarity, as well as attention to the care of "Common home", in the sense expressed by the encyclical Laudato si '. I therefore encourage you to increase your professionalism and your ecclesial identity even more.
Second: to have the material resources necessary to achieve the stated goals. Let us remember the parable of the talents. Resources are important, they are necessary, yes, but it may happen that sometimes they are insufficient to achieve the proposed objectives. We must not be discouraged. It must be remembered that the Church has always done great works with poor means. We must certainly procure them and make our talents perform to the maximum, but by demonstrating that every ability comes to us from God, it is not ours. That is where your wealth is rooted; "After all - says St. Paul - God has the power to make all grace abound in you because, always having the necessary in everything, you can generously accomplish all the good works" (2 Cor 9: 8). Sometimes the excess of material means to carry out a work is counterproductive, because it anesthetizes creativity. And this, from the administration of a housewife to large industries or large charitable organizations. Having to strive to see how to feed six thousand with portions for four thousand, this, for example, increases creativity. Furthermore, there is a disease that concerns material resources in institutions: sometimes resources, when they are abundant, do not reach where they need to arrive. Because, since we have resources, we pay a sub-secretariat here and an under-sub-secretariat there ...; and then the administrative organization chart grows to the point that 40, 50, 60% of the contributions received remains in the organizational apparatus and does not reach where it should arrive. I do not invent this, this happens today in many Church institutions that you know well.

Finally, share initiatives to work in groups. The experience of faith, the knowledge of the Lord's grace, tells us that this is possible. Collaborating in common projects makes the value of works shine even more, because it highlights something that is connatural to the Church, its communion, walking together in the same mission (syn-odos) at the service of the common good, through co-responsibility and the contribution of each. Your Forum wants to be an example of this, and for this reason the projects that you carry out in every place, joining forces with other Catholic organizations and in communion with the Pastors and with the representatives of the Holy See in international organizations, will have the multiplier effect of leaven of the Gospel and the light and strength of the first Christians. Today's world requires new boldness and a new imagination to open up new avenues for dialogue and cooperation, to foster a culture of encounter, where the dignity of the human, according to God's creative plan, is placed at the center.

Dear friends, the Church and the Pope need your work, your commitment and your witness on the international frontier. The word "frontier" is meaningful to you! Go forward with courage and always new hope. Thanks!

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