Francis sharply criticized what he called an “idolatry of money” and “the inequality that spawns violence.”
Pope Francis on Tuesday called for major changes in the Roman Catholic Church – from the top down – saying he knows it will be a messy business but he expects his flock to dive in feet-first, CNN reports. “I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security,” the Pope said Tuesday in a major new address. “I do not want a Church concerned with being at the center and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures.”
Officially known in Latin as “Evangelii Gaudium,” (The Joy of the Gospel) the 85-page document is the first official papal document written entirely by Francis. Although Francis sprinkles the statement with citations of previous popes and Catholic luminaries like St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine, the new pontiff makes a bold call for the church to rethink even long-held traditions. “In her ongoing discernment, the Church can also come to see that certain customs not directly connected to the heart of the Gospel, even some which have deep historical roots, are no longer properly understood and appreciated,” the Pope said. “Some of these customs may be beautiful, but they no longer serve as means of communicating the Gospel. We should not be afraid to re-examine them. At the same time, the Church has rules or precepts which may have been quite effective in their time, but no longer have the same usefulness for directing and shaping people’s lives.”
Such statements mark a sharp break from Benedict XVI, a more tradition-bound pope who focused on cleaning up cobwebs of unorthodoxy in the church.