Pope Francis has made several statements that indicate that he wants church meetings to be more than passively listening to sermons. We need to allow the living, resurrected Jesus to come out in church meetings and use ordinary people. Pope Francis said: “Ask yourselves this question: How often is Jesus inside and knocking at the door to be let out, to come out? And we do not let him out because of our own need for security, because so often we are locked into ephemeral structures that serve solely to make us slaves and not free children of God.”
Here are some quotes from the book: Pope Francis, Why He Leads The Way He Leads, Lessons from the First Jesuit Pope by Chris Lowney.
“Today’s world stands in great need of witnesses, not so much of teachers, but rather of witnesses.” –Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio)
“I prepared this address for you, but it is five pages long! Somewhat boring. Let’s do something else: I will briefly summarize it . . . And then it will be possible for a few of you to ask a question and we can have a little dialogue. Do we like this idea or not? Yes?” –Pope Francis
“I want the noise to go out, I want the Church to go out onto the streets, I want us to resist everything worldly, everything static, everything comfortable, everything to do with clericalism.” –Pope Francis
“Newness often makes us fearful, including the newness which God brings us, the newness which God asks of us. Dear brothers and sisters, we are afraid of God’s surprises! He always surprises us! The Lord is like that. Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives! . . . Let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations which God cannot change, there is no sin which He cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to Him.” –Pope Francis
“What happens if we step outside ourselves? The same as can happen to anyone who comes out of the house and onto the street; an accident. But I tell you, I far prefer a Church that has had a few accidents to a Church that has fallen sick from being closed.” –Pope Francis
Chris Lowney uses this story to illustrate how Pope Francis knows how to use participation rather than lecture: “Take the case of Roberto Poggio, a young high school student who in the 1960s attended the Jesuits’ prestigious Colegio del Salvador, where Fr. Bergoglio (Pope Francis) was teaching literature and psychology. In a personal interview, Poggio recalled one incident during his senior year. ‘It happened during some sports match. I slapped a younger kid . . . and a typical youth brawl happened.’ Father Bergoglio found out about it, and ‘he asked me to show up the next day in one of the classrooms. So when I get there, I see ten of my best friends sitting in a circle, and Fr. Bergoglio sitting off to the side. He told me I should tell my friends in detail what had happened, and it became something that stuck with me for life. They were understanding, they gave advice, and somehow I felt as if a load had been lifted off of me–I felt no reproach or attacks from them.’ (This happens frequently at The Salvation Army Berry Street.) Fr. Bergoglio never intervened but merely watched as Poggio’s friends ran the meeting.”
Experience participatory church in Nashville, Tennessee at The Salvation Army Berry Street on Sunday mornings at 10:45, 225 Berry Street, 37207.
And here is a more recent quote from Francis: “Let us allow the Spirit to lead us forward in that wisdom, which is like a soft breeze . . . the spirit of God, which helps us to judge, to make decisions according to the heart of God.”