Thursday 19 June 2014

Inculturation today calling for a different attitude

This January the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church told the press he is aware of the fact that the problem of formation today is not easy to deal with:
“Daily culture is much richer and conflictual than that which we experienced in our day, years ago. Ourculture was simpler and more ordered.
Inculturation today calls for a different attitude. For example: problems are not solved simply by forbidding doing this or that.
Dialog as well as confrontation are needed.
To avoid problems, in some houses of formation, young people grit their teeth, try not to make mistakes, follow the rules smiling a lot, just waiting for the day when they are told: ‘Good. You have finished formation.’
In Rio the Pope identified already clericalism as one of the causes of the
 “lack of maturity and Christian freedom” in the People of God.
It follows that:
 “If the seminary is too large, it ought to be divided into smaller communities with formators who are equipped really to accompany those in their charge.
Dialogue must be serious, without fear, sincere. It is important to recall that the language of young people information today is different from that in the past: we are living through an epochal change. Formation is a work of art, not a police action. We must form their hearts. Otherwise we are creating little monsters. And then these little monsters mold the People of God.”
The Pope then insisted on the fact that formation should not be oriented only toward personal growth but also in view of its final goal: the People of God.
It is important to think about the people to whom these persons will be sent while forming hem:
“We must always think of the faithful, of the faithful People of God. Persons must be formed who are witness of the resurrection of Jesus. The formator should keep in mind that the person in formation will be called to care for the People of God.
We always must think of the People of God in all of this. Just think of religious who have hearts that are as sour as vinegar: they are not made for the people. In the end we must not form administrators, managers, but fathers, brothers, travelling companions. ”
Finally, Pope Francis wanted to highlight a further risk:
 “accepting a young man in a seminary who has been asked to leave a religious institute because of problems with formation and for serious reasons is a huge problem.
The pope was not just speaking about people who recognize that they are sinners:
 we are all sinners, but we are not all corrupt.
Sinners are accepted, but not people who are corrupt.”
Nobody can escape temptation except God Who can not be temted. Jesus was tempted more than once but did not go into the temptation and managed to stay clear of sin.

The present pope is not afraid to go away from difficult questions concerning the may priest who had young children in their care, but misused their power. Pope Francis I recalled Benedict XVI’s important decision in dealing with cases of abuse:
“this should be a lesson to us to have the courage to approach personal formation as a serious challenge, always keeping in mind the People of God.”
Religious should be witnesses of the humanizing power of the Gospel through a life of brotherhood.
The present pope does know the problems, but he also knows that the bishops are not always acquainted with the charisms and works of religious. Qe also should ask the question if the local headquarters are willing to inform the higher hierarchy of what is going wrong in their coutnry.

The Belgian Jesuit Jan Berchmans (1599 -1621) knew already very well this problem. True to his favorite mottos: Age quod agis (Do what you are doing well) and Maximi facere minima (Do the most with the least), he succeeded in accomplishing ordinary things in an extraordinary way and became the patron saint of community life.

To come to a healthy community everybody should be honest and open to each other. No secrets should go around. Once matter do have to be covered up, like we have seen the last few years, there is not only something going really wrong, but it also
"creates a pressure cooker that will eventually explode. A life without conflicts is not life.”
It becomes high time that 'bishops' and all those who are to take care of the flock need to understand that consecrated persons are not functionaries but gifts that enrich dioceses.
"The involvement of religious communities in dioceses is important. Dialogue between the bishop and religious must be rescued so that, due to a lack of understanding of their charisms, bishops do not view religious simply as useful instruments.” 


From the "Wake up the world" press conference January 2014

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