A church wounded by sin can paralyze, confuse and tire the hearts of Catholic clergy and laypeople, causing them to doubt their mission in the modern world, Pope Francis said.
Celebrating Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria La Antigua on Jan. 26 with priests, consecrated men and women and members of lay movements, the Pope warned that the burdens and troubles in the church can lead to a “weariness of hope” that “calls into question the energy, resources and viability of our mission in this changing and challenging world.”
“The weariness of hope comes from seeing a church wounded by sin, which so often failed to hear all those cries that echoed the cry of the Master: ‘My God, why have you forsaken me?’” he said. Thousands of pilgrims and Panamanians waited outside — some camped outside since 4 a.m. — cheering loudly as the bells of the cathedral hailed Pope Francis’ arrival.
Upon entering the 220-yearold church, the Pope was greeted with applause by those present, including President Juan Carlos Varela of Panama and his wife, Lorena Castillo.
The Pope then spent several minutes praying before a statue of Santa Maria La Antigua, patroness of Panama. The original image, which depicts Mary holding baby Jesus in her arms and carrying a rose, was first brought into the country by Spanish conquistadors in 1510.
During the Mass, Pope Francis consecrated the altar of the newly renovated cathedral. Removing his chasuble and rolling up his left sleeve, he poured chrism oil and anointed the altar. According to World Youth Day officials, the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria La Antigua is the first cathedral in the Americas to have an altar consecrated by a Pope.