The following comes from a Nov. 15 story in the L.A. archidiocese paper, the Tidings.
I’m writing from Baltimore, where this week my brother bishops and I are gathered for the annual meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Our agenda has been busy. But in the background of our meeting has been the figure of Pope Francis. This is our first full meeting since his election. And there is a lot of conversation and excitement about our Holy Father’s ministry and initiatives.
“Pope Francis has made a great impression by drawing and captivating the hearts of men and women throughout the world, inviting them to meet Christ personally in their lives,” said the Pope’s delegate to the United States, Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Viganò.
In his talk to the bishops, Archbishop Viganò connected Pope Francis’ vision with the theme of evangelization that has concerned all the Popes since the Second Vatican Council.
More and more, I’m seeing how Pope Francis’ pastoral vision continues the themes of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. As his predecessors did, Pope Francis understands that the Church’s must proclaim Christ to a modern society that is facing a profound moral and spiritual crisis.
It’s not only that many of our neighbors don’t share the Church’s beliefs on fundamental issues such as abortion, sexuality and marriage. This is true and troubling. But those issues are signs of deeper troubles. They are signs that our society has turned away from God to embrace what Pope Francis calls the “idols” of a materialist view of the world.
The Pope wants us to see that these grave issues we face in society are rooted in this deeper materialist worldview — which sees everything only according to what science can prove and what technology can do. Human life is diminished to only material concerns. Life has no higher purpose or direction except to seek to feel better or “more comfortable.”
In the face of these idols, the Church’s preaching and witness must go deeper. We need to speak to our neighbors’ deeper needs, finding new ways to speak to their hearts and mind.
Our neighbors are hungry to know that there is more than just this material world. They are hungry to know God’s love and mercy — and his care for the world and for every person.
This is what the Pope is talking about with his now famous description of the Church as a “field hospital after battle.”
Pope Francis has said: “It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds. … And you have to start from the ground up.”
The deepest wound in modern life is the wound caused by the loss of God. From this wound come all the other wounds we experience — including the grave moral issues and spiritual confusion we see everywhere….
To read the original story, click here.