Pope Francis receives Catholic Biblical Federation
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Biblical Federation on Friday. The CBF is a worldwide association of Episcopal Conferences and more than 200 Catholic Biblical institutions, representatives of which are gathered in the small town of Nemi near Rome from June 18th-23rd to explore Sacred Scripture as a source of evangelization, especially in light of the passage from the 1st Letter of St. John (1:3): “What we have seen and heard we are proclaiming to you.”
Putting aside his prepared remarks for the occasion, which he nevertheless delivered in written form, Pope Francis reflected on two characteristics of Biblical evangelizers and teachers of the faith: parrhesia or ‘frankness’; hypomone or ‘patience’.
For his extemporaneous remarks, Pope Francis drew on the Mass reading of the day, which came from the 2nd Letter of St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, in which St. Paul lists the hardships and trials he has faced in service of the Gospel, only to conclude that his weakness is his only vaunt (cf. 2 Cor 11:30). Pope Francis also recalled St. Paul’s insistence that his only glory is the Cross of Christ (cf. Gal. 6:14). “This is a Church that is outward-bound,” said Pope Francis, “a martyrial Church: it is a Church that goes through the streets, that goes out on its way.” The Holy Father went on to say, “Accidents happen along the way – as they might to anyone who undertakes a journey – but I prefer a Church wounded in [such an] accident, to a Church that is sick from being closed up and turned in on herelf – a Church with both frankness and patience: the patience that knows how to bear herself up under [adverse] circumstances, and also the tenderness to carry on its shoulders those wounded faithful, who have been put in her charge.”
This 9th Plenary Assembly of the CBF is the first over which the Federation’s new president, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, is presiding, after being elected to succeed Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, who led the organization for more than a dozen years, starting in 2002.