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Pope Francis urges ecclesial movements to focus on service

Pope Francis on Thursday emphasized the importance of ecclesial movements serving the broader mission of the Church rather than pursuing self-promotion. 

The pontiff made the statement in a meeting with over 200 moderators of Lay Associations, Ecclesial Movements, and New Communities in the New Synod Hall in the Vatican.

His remarks highlighted a shift towards a more cooperative approach within the Catholic Church, consistent with the principles of synodality.

During the meeting focused on synodality, the Pope discussed the need for ecclesial movements to prioritize service. 

“Ecclesial movements are meant to serve the Church, they are not a message in themselves, an ecclesial centrality,” he said, adding that these movements should contribute to the Church’s evangelical mission rather than seeking self-glory.

Pope Francis criticized some movements for becoming insular, indicating that such behavior contradicts the universal Church’s essence. 

“It is sad when we feel that ‘I belong to this one, to another, to another’, as if this had to do with superiority,” he said. 

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He urged members to consider whether their activities genuinely support the Church or advance their own interests.

He called for a spiritual renewal among members of ecclesial movements, encouraging them to embrace humility and service. 

He noted that true greatness in the Church should reflect Christ’s example — not being served, but serving others. 

This principle is crucial for the Church’s synodal nature, where each member’s contribution is valued and communal harmony is prioritized.

The Pope further emphasized the need for an “interior change” within individuals to achieve true synodality. 

He explained that this change is not merely about altering external behaviors but involves a deep, spiritual conversion that aligns with God’s will, promoting a culture of dialogue and openness within the Church.

Highlighting the dangers of exclusivity, Pope Francis called for ecclesial movements to overcome the temptation of the “closed circle” mentality. 

By recognizing and valuing the contributions of those outside their immediate group, movements can foster a more inclusive atmosphere that is receptive to diverse perspectives and ideas.

The Pope’s vision for a synodal Church is one where ecclesial movements work collaboratively, transcending individual interests to support the universal mission. 

He expressed hope that the meeting would inspire participants to use their charisms for the good of the Church, ensuring that their actions are steps toward helping the Church, rather than turning inward. 

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