Preceded by a procession of flags from the nations of the Americas and the recitation of the rosary in Spanish, Pope Francis and thousands of Catholics from across the Atlantic celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Vatican.
Pope Francis said that the Catholic Church must consider various ways to integrate the divorced and civilly remarried in the life of the Church — not merely allowing them to receive Communion, but letting them serve as eucharistic ministers and godparents — and to make it easier for Catholic families to accept their homosexual members.
Faith always has been transmitted best through example, but with young people constantly bombarded by images of all kinds, living models of a commitment to truth and love are more important than ever, Pope Francis said.
“With great trepidation, I am following the dramatic incidents of Christians in several parts of the world being persecuted and killed because of their religious beliefs,” the pope said. “I must express my deep spiritual closeness to the Christian communities so harshly struck by an absurd violence that does not show signs of stopping.”
“Where there is a wall,” he said, “there is a closed heart. We need bridges, not walls!”
Pope Francis said the church’s marriage annulment process should be more efficient and perhaps even free of charge, and he decried any attempts to exploit it for profit.
The world’s bishops are called to be servants and shepherds who use their position to care for people and the faith, not to seek power and boost their pride, Pope Francis said.
Christian life is a constant battle against the devil, who is not the stuff of legend, but really exists, Pope Francis said in a morning homily.
The way Christians behave can either help and inspire others, or turn them away from ever following Jesus, Pope Francis said.
The Big Bang theory and evolution do not eliminate the existence of God, who remains the one who set all of creation into motion, Pope Francis told his own science academy.