Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Thursday 05 August |
The Commemoration of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major
home iconChurch
line break icon

Pope Francis: Churches with Closed Doors Aren’t Churches but Museums

© Sabrina Fusco/Aleteia

Diane Montagna - published on 09/09/15

The Pope's Wednesday general audience catechesis

VATICAN CITY — Churches with closed doors shouldn’t be called churches but museums, Pope Francis said on Wednesday during his general audience address.

The Pope dedicated his weekly catechesis to the link between the family and the Christian community, a relationship called “natural,” since “the Church is a spiritual family and family is a domestic church.”

The Pope’s words echoed his call at last Sunday’s Angelus, when he urged religious communities, parishes, shrines and convents in Europe to welcome refugee families fleeing Syria.

The Pontiff renewed his appeal on Twitter on September 8:

The Church, the Pope said on Wednesday, is the home of those who believe in Jesus Christ as the source of the unity of the entire human family.

“The Church journeys amid peoples, amid the history of men and women, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters: this is the history that counts for the Lord,” he said.

The Pope continued: The great events of worldly power “are written in the history books, and will remain there, but the story of human affections is written directly on the heart of God, and that is the story that remains in eternity.”

“The family is the place of our initiation … into this history, into this history of the fullness of life, which will end in the contemplation of God for all eternity in Heaven, but it begins in the family.”

“That is why the family is so important,” he said.

Jesus himself, after living for thirty years in the midst of the family in Nazareth, gathered an assembly, a community of persons around himself, which is the Church.

And the Gospels, the Pope explained, tell us that Jesus chose to form a community which welcomes all who wish to hear his good news of the Father’s love.

The Church “is not an exclusive, closed sect: in it we find Peter and John, but also the hungry and the thirsty, the stranger and the persecuted the sinner and the publican, the pharisees and the crowds,” he said. “And Jesus does not cease to speak with everyone, even with one who no longer expect to encounter God in his life.”

Pope Francis said this is a powerful lesson for the Church. “The disciples themselves are chosen to take care of this assembly, this family of God’s guests.”

Indeed, families and parishes are the two places where we encounter, in every age, that communion of love which has its ultimate source in God.

“A Church that is truly in accord with the Gospel cannot but be a welcoming home, with the doors always open,” he siad. “Churches, parishes and institutions, with the doors closed should not be called churches, they should be called museums.”

Just as our families are domestic churches, our parishes are called to be welcoming families. This “covenant” has to be renewed, with the courage and vision born of faith, so that these centers of love, evangelization, and solidarity can, with the help of God’s grace and despite all our limitations, work true miracles for the shaping of a more fraternal and humane world.

“At Cana,” the Pope concluded, the Mother of Jesus, the ‘Mother of Good Counsel’ was present. Let us listen to her words: ‘Do whatever he tells you’ (cf. Jn 2:5).

“Dear families, dear parish communities,” he said, “let us allow ourselves to be inspired by this Mother. Let us do all that Jesus tells us and we will see miracles, the miracle of every day.”

Diane Montagnais Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.

Pope FrancisVatican
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Saint Mary of the Angels
Bret Thoman, OFS
All your sins will be forgiven if you go to a Franciscan church o...
Philip Kosloski
Most priests can’t absolve these sins
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
Cerith Gardiner
Nightbirde’s beautiful message as she drops out of TV show
Gianmarco Tamberi AND Mutaz Essa Barshim
Cerith Gardiner
This Olympic event captures the true meaning of the Games
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.