Share this story

Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency

On Pentecost, Pope Francis says Holy Spirit can Bring Harmony to ‘a Polarized Church’

May 31, 2023 | On the solemnity of Pentecost, Pope Francis urged Catholics to invoke the Holy Spirit daily to bring harmony to a divided world, a polarized Church, and to broken hearts.

Speaking in St. Peter’s Basilica, the pope explained that the role of the Holy Spirit, both at the beginning of the creation of the world and at all times, is to make “created realities pass from disorder to order” and “from confusion to harmony.”

“In our world today, there is so much discord, such great division. We are all ‘connected,’ yet find ourselves disconnected from one another, anesthetized by indifference and overwhelmed by solitude,” Pope Francis said in his homily on May 28.

“If the world is divided, if the Church is polarized, if hearts are broken, let us not waste time in criticizing others and growing angry with one another; instead, let us invoke the Holy Spirit. He is capable of resolving these things,” he said.

The pope added that without the Holy Spirit, “the Church is lifeless, faith is mere doctrine, morality mere duty, pastoral work mere toil. … With him, on the other hand, faith is life, the love of the Lord conquers us, and hope is reborn.”

“Let us put the Holy Spirit back at the center of the Church; otherwise, our hearts will not be consumed by love for Jesus but by love for ourselves,” he said.

Pope Francis added that he sees the Holy Spirit as not only as the “soul of the Church” but also as “the heart of synodality.”

He called for the Synod on Synodality, which will culminate in October with the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to “place the Holy Spirit at the beginning and at the heart of the work of the synod.”

“The synod now taking place is — and should be — a journey in accordance with the Spirit, not a parliament for demanding rights and claiming needs in accordance with the agenda of the world, nor an occasion for following wherever the wind is blowing, but the opportunity to be docile to the breath of the Holy Spirit,” he pope said.

Pope Francis, who canceled all of his audiences on Friday due to a fever, presided over the Mass but was not the main celebrant. The pope sat at the front of the congregation in a white chair to the right of the altar.

Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, the Brazilian prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, served as the main celebrant for the Pentecost Mass.

In his homily, Pope Francis underlined that the Holy Spirit also forgives sins, reconciles souls, and creates harmony in hearts that are “wounded by evil, broken by hurts, torn apart by feelings of guilt.”

“Only the Holy Spirit restores harmony in the heart, for he is the one who creates ‘intimacy with God,’” he said, citing St. Basil.

“Let’s invoke the Holy Spirit every day. Let’s start each day by praying to him. Let’s become docile to him,” Francis said.

During the Mass, the Palestrina Choir from Dublin led the congregation in the traditional “Veni Sancte Spiritus” sequence for the Mass for Pentecost.

Pope Francis urged Catholics to invoke the Holy Spirit daily upon the whole world to bring unity and peace.

The solemnity of Pentecost, which is celebrated 50 days after Easter, marks the descent of the Holy Spirit. Thousands were gathered inside St. Peter’s Basilica for the Mass.

At the end of his homily, Pope Francis prayed: “Holy Spirit, Spirit of Jesus and of the Father, inexhaustible wellspring of harmony, to you we entrust the world; to you we consecrate the Church and our hearts.”

“Come, Creator Spirit, harmony of humanity, renew the face of the earth. Come, giver of gifts, harmony of the Church, make us united in you. Come, Spirit of forgiveness, harmony of the heart, transform us as only you can, through the intercession of Mary.”