Pope Francis encourages Greek bishops in hard times
(Vatican Radio) Faced with the “prolonged economic-financial crisis” which has hit Greece particularly hard, the country’s clergy should not tire of encouraging everyone to have hope in the future, in contrast to a “so-called culture of pessimism” – that’s what Pope Francis told Greek bishops on their ad limina visit to Rome Thursday.
In a discourse to the bishops meeting in the Vatican, Pope Francis recalled “the spirit of solidarity with which every Christian is called to give concrete witness in daily life constitutes the yeast of hope.” He urged them to maintain “constructive relations” with Greek authorities and members of society in order to promote a future of solidarity “in an attitude of dialogue and collaboration also with the other European countries.”
Fraternal communion, dialogue and solidarity can change society
The Pope encouraged the bishops to strengthen the fraternal bonds not only among their clergy but in communion with the Successor of Peter and the global College of bishops. Such communion is all the more pressing in Greece, the Pope said, which “more than ever” needs political and cultural dialogue for the safeguarding and promotion of the common good.
Such fraternity implies reinforcing “the cultural traditions and Christian roots of Hellenic society,” the Pope affirmed, while being “open to the cultural and spiritual values” brought by migrants. He invited Greece’s Christian communities to welcome migrants regardless their race, language, faith or legal standing, in a spirit of encounter that can “truly contribute to transforming society.”
Supporting the local Church and laity, evangelisation and ecumenism
The Pope encouraged them to renew the evangelical fervor of their communities, especially among young people, and to continue ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox Church for “a future of serenity and spiritual fruitfulness” for the entire country.
Despite the “many difficulties” facing their communities today, Pope Francis encouraged the bishops to promote vocations, pay “just attention” to Institutes of consecrated life and to enhance the role of the laity in the local Church. The weakening of the family due to secularization, the Holy Father concluded, demands the Church’s perseverance in marriage formation and catechesis – while the elderly, many of whom are alone or abandoned in our “throw away culture,” can offer an indispensable contribution to society.