Pope Francis issued a mission statement for his papacy that outlined his hope that the Catholic Church would become more merciful to the needy and less “confined and clinging to its own security.” According to USA Today, Francis’ 85-page document aimed at explaining his hope to reform the church into a more missionary organization that “gets its hands dirty” for the sake of the poor and oppressed in a world that prizes profit over people.
“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,” he wrote. “I do not want a church concerned with being at the center and then ends up by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures.”
He added: “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 people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us, ‘Give them something to eat.'”
He even addressed the priests’ boring and “sourpuss” preaching, torturous confession, and their elitist attitudes in their churches. He hoped that women would develop a greater decision-making role in the church, although he stopped short of women’s ordination.
“The church, as the agent of evangelization, is more than an organic hierarchical institution; she is first and foremost a people advancing on its pilgrim way towards God,” he wrote. “Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the church’s life and her missionary outreach.”