“Faithfulness to the charism does not mean ‘to petrify it’ -- the devil is the one who ‘petrifies,’ do not forget. Faithfulness to the charism does not mean to write it on a parchment and frame it,” Francis said.
“Fr. Giussani would never forgive you if you lost the liberty and transformed yourselves into museum guides or worshippers of ashes. Pass on the flame of the memory of that first encounter and be free,” he said.
After the speech, Santoro reportedly replied to the pope in a letter that thanked him for his words on charisms, with the comment that the “Jesuits have made more mistakes in their admirable history as missionaries and saints than us.”
Pope Francis met with representatives of lay Catholic associations, movements, and new communities last week at the Vatican, and gave a speech warning that the desire for power and recognition are temptations that could hinder their call to serve the Church.
The pope underlined that governance in the Church is “nothing but a call to serve.”
He highlighted the Vatican decree issued on June 11 that set term limits for the leaders of international associations of the faithful and new communities. The pope said that it was implemented because “the reality of the last few decades has shown us the need for the changes.”
“The exercise of government within associations and movements is a theme that is particularly close to my heart, especially considering ... the cases of abuse of various kinds that have also occurred in these realities and which always find their root in abuse of power,” Pope Francis.
“Not infrequently the Holy See, in recent years, has had to intervene, starting not easy processes of reorganization. And I think not only of these very bad situations, which make noise; but also to the diseases that come from the weakening of the foundational charism, which becomes lukewarm and loses the capacity of attraction.”
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.