Padre Pio loved the Church even with its many problems, says pope

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Photo Illustration

Laments the “fashion” of destroying the Church in our speech

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Pope Francis today had an audience with faithful from the Italian Archdiocese of Benevento, who came to Rome to mark the anniversary of Francis’ visit in honor of Padre Pio last year.

After speaking about his trip as particularly memorable, especially in regard to the “many sick people I greeted,” the pope spoke about the legacy of St. Pio.

The Holy Father noted the saint’s faith and hope, and “generous dedication to the people.”

But he paused on another aspect: Pio’s “fidelity to the Church, whom he always loved with all her problems and her adversities.”

He loved the Church, with the many problems the Church has, with so many adversities, with so many sinners. Because the Church is holy, she is the Bride of Christ, but we, the children of the Church, are all sinners – some big ones! – but he loved the Church as she was, he did not destroy her with the tongue, as it is the fashion to do now. No! He loved her.

He who loves the Church knows how to forgive, because he knows that he himself is a sinner and is in need of God’s forgiveness. …

One cannot live an entire life accusing, accusing, accusing the Church. Whose is the office of the accuser! The devil! And those who spend their life accusing, accusing, accusing, are – I will not say children, because the devil does not have any – but friends, cousins, relatives of the devil. And no, this is not good, flaws must be indicated so they can be corrected, but at the moment that flaws are noted, flaws are denounced, one loves the Church. Without love, that is of the devil. Saint Padre Pio had both of these things; he loved the Church with all her problems and her adversities, with the sins of her children. Do not forget this.

The pope then invited the faithful to “welcome God’s love, the wellspring and reason for our true joy” and share this love especially with the neediest.

“Following the example of Padre Pio, please, never tire of entrusting yourselves to Christ and of announcing His goodness and his mercy with the witness of your life,” he said.