The Pope’s reform agenda

The Pope’s exhortation in quotations

The Pope’s reform agenda

With his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), Pope Francis finally made his real debut as papal author.

The Pope had already published an encyclical, however, in the opening paragraphs of Lumen Fidei, he explained that the text was essentially the work of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, to whose words Pope Francis had merely “added a few contributions”of his own.

Apostolic exhortations are often based on deliberations of synods of bishops, and this one takes into account the October 2012 synod on the new evangelisation. However, despite voicing strong commitment to the principle of consultation with fellow bishops and even suggesting that the synod should become a permanent advisory body, the Pope tackled this exhortation by himself.




"Pastoral ministry in a missionary style is not obsessed with the disjointed transmission of a multitude of doctrines to be insistently imposed."

Open Church

"The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One concrete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door."


"The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak."


"The family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the Faith to their children." 


"Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will.  But the indispensible contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple."

Role of women

“The Church acknowledges the indispensable contribution which women make to society through the sensitivity, intuition and other distinctive skill sets which they, more than men, tend to possess… But we need to create still broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church.”

Women priests

"The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the Spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion, but it can prove especially divisive if sacramental power is too closely identified with power in general."


"Wherever there is life, fervour and a desire to bring Christ to others, genuine vocations will arise."

Catholic education

"Catholic schools, which always strive to join their work of education with the explicit proclamation of the Gospel, are a most valuable resource for the evangelisation of culture, even in those countries and cities where hostile situations challenge us to greater creativity in our search for suitable methods."


"I am firmly convinced that openness to the transcendent can bring about a new political and economic mindset which would help to break down the wall of separation between the economy and the common good of society."


"Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this… Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems."