Pope Francis: Some parish secretaries seem to be like ‘disciples of Satan’

Some parish secretaries like disciples of Satan are keeping parish doors closed, Pope Francis says.

The Vatican released parts of a transcript of the private meeting that took place between Pope Francis and the Polish bishops on the first day of his visit to Poland for World Youth Day.

Unlike previous trips where the Pope has given public speeches upbraiding national hierarchies, Francis chose a closed-doors meeting with the 117-member bishops’ conference in the Krakow cathedral.

The released transcript, translated by the Catholic News Service, is of the question-and-answer portion of the 90-minute meeting.

Answering a question from Polish Auxiliary Bishop Leszek Leszkiewicz on whether parishes are still the best way to reach people and on how to build up missionary zeal, the Pope stressed that the parish “is the house of the people of God” and must have its doors wide open to receive people.

But, he warned, “There are parishes with parish secretaries who seem to be ‘disciples of Satan’ and scare people; parishes with closed doors,” he said.

The highly anticipated meeting came at a time of reported disagreements within the Polish Church over certain aspects of the Pope’s teaching, including his appeals for sheltering refugees.

Auxiliary Bishop Krzysztof Zadarko of Koszalin-Kolobrzeg asked the Pope not only how to help the large number of refugees coming into Europe, but how to overcome “the fear of a possible invasion or aggression that has paralysed society”.

Pope Francis said all countries are different and that a universal response can’t be given because “it depends on the situation of every country and culture”.

However, what must remain absolute is the need “to have an open heart ready to receive” those escaping violence and persecution. “This is absolute!”


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