A pastor out of touch with his parishioners’ lives has little chance of preaching a homily that can make the Gospel come alive for them, Pope Francis said.
“Sometimes our words respond to questions nobody is asking,” he said in a new interview with Jesuit Fr Antonio Spadaro, editor of the Jesuit journal, La Civilta Cattolica. “If you don’t listen to people, how can you preach?”
The interview introduces a new collection, in Italian, of homilies and speeches he gave as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 1999 until his election as pope in 2013.
Presenting the volume, Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, former papal spokesman, said the more than 1,000 pages of text include all the homilies for which a written record could be found or for which there was a recording that could be transcribed.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, told reporters that the book is invaluable to understanding the roots of Pope Francis’ ministry and the development of his pastoral style.
Reading the texts, the cardinal said, “one not only can imagine the bishop who walks the streets or rides the subway of his city and diocese,” as the former Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio did, “but one also will gain perspective for seeing him come to the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica.”
This record of his ministry in Argentina also shows how his words and gestures as pope come from a ministry that always focused on discernment and mercy, Cardinal Parolin said.
Picture: Copies of a new collection of homilies and speeches Pope Francis gave as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, are distributed to journalists ahead of a conference at Jesuit headquarters in Rome on 10th November. (CNS/Robert Duncan).