I repeat for the entire Church what I have often said to the priests and laity of Buenos Aires: 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. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the centre and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures. If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life. More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door peole are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: “Give them something to eat” (Mk 6:37).
Some months ago, I went door-knocking for the parish I belonged to. The goal was two-fold: inviting parishioners to assist the parish in some way, and reaching out to those who have been away. I encountered one who struck me as someone who needed our assistance, not the other way around. She seemed tired, somewhat embittered. And while I may well be wrong, she seemed lonely. It struck me that there are those on that same boat, whom we know nothing about in their need, but perhaps because we have stopped considering those things as needs. Whether by distraction or political correctness, there are some crosses that we have ceased talking about. The Church cannot afford to do that any longer, the price paid for such silence and neglect has been too high.