Failure to evangelize makes ‘mother Church’ a ‘baby sitter,’ pope says

Pope Francis looks on during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican April 17. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis looks on during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican April 17. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — All of the baptized and not just the clergy are called to spread the Gospel, even in times of persecution, Pope Francis said in his morning homily April 17.

The pope spoke at Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Vatican guesthouse where he has been living since his election in March, and where he has been regularly celebrating morning Mass for different groups of Vatican employees.

Speaking to a congregation of employees of the Vatican bank, Pope Francis commented on the day’s reading from the Acts of Apostles (8:1-8), in which the early Christians scatter to escape a “severe persecution” and then go “about preaching the word.”

“They left home, perhaps they brought a few things with them; they had no security but went from place to place announcing the Word,” the pope said, according to Vatican Radio. “They are simple believers, baptized for only a year or maybe slightly longer. But they had the courage to go and announce. And they were believed. And they performed miracles.”

Pope Francis also noted the history of Japanese Catholics, who survived without priests for two centuries after missionaries were expelled in the 17th century. When missionaries were finally permitted to return, the pope said, they found “all the communities in order, all baptized, all catechized, all married in the church.”

The pope wondered aloud whether laypeople today have equal faith in the “strength of baptism.”

“Do we believe in this? That baptism is enough — sufficient to evangelize?” he asked.

All of the baptized must “announce Jesus with our life, with our witness and with our words,” the pope said.

“When we do this, the church becomes a mother church that bears children,” he said. “But when we don’t do it, the church becomes not a mother but a baby sitter church, which takes care of the child to put him to sleep.”

— By Francis X. Rocca Catholic News Service 


  1. “The pope wondered aloud whether laypeople today have equal faith in the “strength of baptism.” God bless the Holy Father. I have wondered the same thing! Today there is Church persecution in the United States but the devil isn’t going to use the same tactics he used in the communist countries and other states of totalitarianism. The evil one doesn’t want real estate, money, pensions, nice cars, or gold investments, he wants souls! What’s happening is the devil is saying, “You in America can have your ecumenical prayer meetings to end terror around the world, I will let you have the president to make it look really good. You (The Church) can mention abortion, and gay marriage, but don’t make too big a thing out of it or your bishops and other leaders won’t be able to wine and dine with the big shot politicians.” And also when satan is ‘sweet talking’ and whispering to Catholic politicians and Church leaders, “If you breach your 501c3 rules you and your faithful will live like your Christian brothers and sisters in North Korea and China and of course that would make life very uncomfortable.”


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