If we are God’s people, a community, we do not exist for our own protection, enjoyment, or self-exaltation. There is a reason the Christian community exists. And that is to further the mission of Christ in the universe.
114. Being Church means being God’s people, in accordance with the great plan of his fatherly love. This means that we are to be God’s leaven in the midst of humanity. It means proclaiming and bringing God’s salvation into our world, which often goes astray and needs to be encouraged, given hope and strengthened on the way. The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.
The emphasis is on mercy and encouragement. Not a surprise theme for the Holy Father, nor will this notion be absent from the pages to come.
Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium is available online here. It is the best-selling Vatican document in Britain since the Vatican II statement on ecumenism. Take that as you will.