In this section of Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis offers one of his most quoted bits, the Church that is “bruised, hurting, and dirty.” He makes clear here the message is not only for the clergy or even just the bishops, but the laity as well.
49. Let us go forth, then, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ. Here I repeat for the entire Church what I have often said to the priests and laity of Buenos Aires: 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. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the center and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures.
An interesting image here: at the center of the web lies the predator in waiting, moving to the periphery to devour the one who has disturbed the web.
If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life. 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 peole are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: “Give them something to eat” (Mk 6:37).
And this wraps Chapter One, the suggestion that Jesus is prepared to assist us in his authentic mission.