At the end of March Fr Brian Traynor CP presented a session to approximately 40 parishioners of St Joesph’s Parish, New Plymouth, on the direction that Pope Francis I is leading the Church. In his writings, Pope Francis tells us that our Church needs to be a lively institution that emphasizes relationships rather than curial bureaucracy.

The Church needs to lead us into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through “compassion, mercy and freedom from judgement and condemnation.” Thus he is giving the Church and the world great hope that the steamship of the institutional church is slowly able to be turned around into a vibrant, dynamic, living witness of what it means to be truly Christian.

Pope Francis is certainly practicing what he preaches, as seen in the wonderful connections he is making with people throughout the world – from being prepared to baptize the child of a divorced single mother, washing the feet of prisoners (including female and Muslim inmates), selling the pontifical Mercedes limousine, etc. He is giving the Faithful and all peoples of the world great hope that intimate relationships are much more vital and life-giving than merely following rules.

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