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Sixth Anniversary of the Pontificate: The Church Is Not Made Up of Super-Heroes or Super-Popes

March 13, 2019. Editorial by Andrea Tornielli

“The Church is not made up of super-heroes (or super-Popes), and she doesn’t advance by virtue of her human resources or her strategies,” stresses Andrea Tornielli: “the Evil One is present in the world  . . . and to be saved we are in need of help from on High.”

On the eve of the 6th anniversary of the Argentine Pope’s election (March 13, 2013), the Editorial Director of the Dicastery for Communication signed an article inviting to look at “the essential.”

This anniversary, he notes, ”sees Pope Francis engaged in a year of dense, important international trips, marked at the beginning and the end by two “synodal” events: the meeting of the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of the whole world for the Protection of Minors (February 20109) and the special Synod on Amazonia (October 2019).

Andrea Tornielli recalls the “important” impact of the Apostolic Journey to the United Arab Emirates (February 3-5, 2019) and the signing of the Joint Declaration of the Pope and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar: “A document that, we hope, will have consequences in the area of religious freedom.” Tornielli adds that “the theme of ecumenism will be dominant in the forthcoming trips to Bulgaria and Rumania (May 2019), while the desired trip to Japan, not yet official, can help to remember the devastation caused by nuclear arms, as a warning for humanity’s present and future.”

Protect the Church from the Devil

Tornielli also suggests “a glance at the year barely begun,” with the “scandals of abuses and internal divisions.” In this connection, he mentions former Nuncio Carlo Maria Vigano who “publicly called for the Pope’s resignation over the handling of the McCarrick case.” “In the face of these situations, the Bishop of Rome asked all the faithful worldwide to pray the Rosary every day, throughout the month of October 2018, to (. . .) and ‘the Holy Mother of God and Saint Michael the Archangel to protect the Church from the devil, who always seeks to separate us from God and to divide us,’” he says.

For the Editorial Director, “such a detailed request has no precedent in the recent history of the Church.” “By his words and his appeal to the People of God to pray to keep the Church united, Francis makes understood the gravity of the situation and, at the same time, expresses the Christian awareness that there are no human remedies able to ensure an outcome.”

Once again, he stresses, “the Pope” called attention “to the essential: the Church isn’t made up of super-heroes (or of super-Popes) and she doesn’t advance in virtue of her human resources or strategies. She knows that the Evil One is present in the world, that original sin exists, and that for us to be saved we need help from on High.”

To repeat it, he assures, “doesn’t mean to diminish the personal responsibilities of individuals or those of the institution, but to put them in their real context.” He also points out that “it would be an error ‘to unload’ faults on those who are there before us, and to present oneself as ‘pure.’”

“Today also the Church must ask from Another to be freed from evil. A given of reality that the Pope, in continuity with his Predecessors, has recalled constantly,” concludes Andrea Tornielli.