Ten Years on from Aparecida: The source of Francis’ pontificate

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Diego Fares

 Diego Fares / August 2017, Vol. 1 no. 7 / Published Date:14 August 2017/Last Updated Date:3 July 2020


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The spiritual plus of Aparecida

Ten years after the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM) that took place in Aparecida, Brazil, between May 11 and May 31, 2007, it is worth reflecting on the impact the gathering has had on the life of both the South American continent and the universal Church.

The last ten years have seen a growth in Latin America’s population by about 70 million people, but on the world stage it has ceded much of its political and economic influence to Asia and Africa. Moreover, Latin America must confront the social challenges that have arisen from a series of governments proposing a popular – some would say populist – narrative, leading to present governments that, for pragmatic reasons, are trying to win the vote of those who have no defined ideology but nevertheless constitute half of the electorate.

Across the globe, post-war optimism has waned. It was an attitude that gave the center countries a sure hope for a better future while peripheral countries were losing patience that they could ever reach a similar level of prosperity.[1] Today we live in an even tougher world (think of walls keeping immigrants out) more skeptical about long-term projects and increasing inclusivity. And yet a new wind is blowing in the Church,[2] a breath of fresh air.

It is important to note that this breath of fresh air is neither new nor attributable to Pope Francis alone. It has a precedent in Aparecida where the synodal work encouraged by Cardinal Bergoglio, the then-President of the Commission for the drafting of the Final Document (AP), led to the assembly’s humble maturity in forming a solid consensus.

Aparecida was really and truly an ecclesial event. This needs to be emphasized to highlight the experience – more or less shared by all – that the reality of Aparecida was “greater than the idea.”[3] The reality of what happened was greater than the ideas discussed, voted upon, put into writing, revised during the Conference and later the final version of the document approved by the Holy See.

It is worth pointing out one thing in particular: because various versions of the Document had been circulating both inside and outside the assembly,[4] it was possible, and it is still possible, to consult the various versions of the final Document to see points that were deleted, added, or amended.[5] This fact – this intellectual freedom to look at and compare various ideas – detracts nothing from the authority of the Document; indeed, it increases the importance of the event as a whole in which the unity – manifested by the enthusiasm of the entire assembly and in the voting of individuals[6] – was greater than the conflicts.

Even those who assumed a more critical stance and painstakingly scoured all the changes made between the version voted upon and the final published version recognize that the “Aparecida event and everything that it gave rise to – even if it would later be dropped or modified – is a clear sign of the life blossoming everywhere. It is hard to deny or hide the fact that Aparecida was an expression of the Latin American journey that began in Medellin, grew strong in Puebla, and stopped to catch its breath in Santo Domingo.”[7]

Even though the theological and juridical value of these Conferences remains an open question, it is undeniable that in Latin America they have always had what we might call a pastoral authority. No sooner do they issue documents than the faithful, priests and bishops, read and implement them. From the middle of the last century, these Conferences have contributed greatly to the continent’s self-understanding and have allowed the people of God in Latin America and the Caribbean to make great strides forward.[8] With the election of Pope Francis, the Fifth Conference in Aparecida has assumed not only a continental but also a universal dimension; not in the sense that “the Latin American model should be exported and adopted everywhere, but that every Church should assume its own mission in its distinctive time and place.”[9]

In the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (EG), Pope Francis gave new impetus to the Conferences, taking up the vision of Vatican II (cf. Lumen Gentium (LG) 23) expressing the desire for the sufficient “juridical status of episcopal conferences that would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including some genuine doctrinal authority.” (EG 32)[10]

Remembering the 20 intense days spent below the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida – where all of us who participated were able to observe the joyful piety of pilgrims as they walked and prayed above our heads during the debates – strongly brings to mind the conviction that we had lived through an ecclesial event of extraordinary richness during which “the Holy Spirit and we ourselves” – as Pope Benedict XVI put it at the opening Mass on May 13 – were the protagonists: a wish that proved prophetic.

There was a notable pneumatological plus at Aparecida, so to speak. As Monsignor Victor Fernandez (a priest and peritus at the conference, now a bishop) said: “The great pneumatological theme at Aparecida is the mission the Spirit is driving us toward. It is the call to come out of ourselves in order to avoid an inward-looking Church: a theme well developed in the homilies of Bergoglio.”[11]

This is the hermeneutical key I would like to develop here: the accent on the role of the Spirit. What is actually at play here is the action of the Spirit in real persons – when two or three are gathered in the name of Christ – rather than the Spirit’s action in texts.

Something useful for our people

“I have come so that we can together write something that will be useful to our people for the next ten years.” With this statement, Pedro Gregorio Rivas, an Augustinian from Santo Domingo, put an end to an argument that had arisen within a group of religious. He thus refocused attention to the future of our people and overcame the temptation to give in to factions among us: the same factions that, according to some, had impeded the Conference in Santo Domingo. In the end, the schema, discussed and revised several times, centered on “the life of our people.” The second part, dedicated to “Disciple Missionaries,” was placed between “The Life of our People in the Present Moment” (Part One) and “The Life of Jesus Christ for Our People” (Part Three).

Ten years later, in the fifth year of Pope Francis’ pontificate, we can reinterpret the conference at Aparecida based on this conception of life – life as it presents itself[12] in a particularly fruitful way. If we think about the great event that was the Second Vatican Council, we can say that 50 years later we are still trying to put into practice many of the inspirations the Spirit instilled in the hearts and minds of the conciliar fathers.

The fruits of Aparecida – an important, although relatively small, sub-continental Conference – have been extended to the universal Church and well beyond her borders, thanks to the impetus Pope Francis has given to an evangelization that views the people of God, as a united entity, as a “missionary disciple” (AP 181), just as Vatican II wished (cf. AP 398). This evangelization is accomplished “through an overflowing of gratitude and joy” (AP 14); with spiritual eyes that know how to discern a single crisis – ecological and social (cf. AP 3.5: The Good News of the Universal Destination of Goods and of Ecology) – and an incarnate Christology that knows how to see Christ in the poor (AP 392).

As regards the way the Conference proceeded, it is worth pointing out the role Cardinal Bergoglio had in channeling the tensions in a synodal way to stave off polarization and give birth to a final, open Document.

The remote source of the pastoral program of Pope Francis

Every morning of the Conference began with a concelebration of the Eucharist attended by throngs of pilgrims to the Shrine. When Cardinal Bergoglio finished his homily in Spanish on Wednesday, May 16, the entire congregation broke out into applause. This applause – unprecedented and never repeated – instilled in many the certainty that the cardinal had something important to say and which the people of God had grasped.

What did the Argentinian cardinal say? The day before, he had been chosen to preside over the drafting Committee and take on the daunting task of summarizing everything that had been discussed and decided in Aparecida in a single document. In that homily, written in the early hours of the morning and received so enthusiastically, we discover, in a surprising way, the remote source of his pontificate.

The next day, Argentinian newspapers drew attention to Bergoglio’s use of the term “excesses”[13] as they read a description of the marginalized given in the “Intervention of the Argentinian Bishops.”

What they had overlooked, however, and what had inspired the applause, was Cardinal Bergoglio’s non-scripted description of the humble image of Saint Turibio of Mogrovejo who died in 1606 after 22 years as a bishop, 18 of which he spent traveling throughout his extensive diocese. When he died, a native played a traditional flute for his pastor’s soul to rest in peace. The passage in question went like this: “We do not, in fact, want to be a self-absorbed Church, but a missionary Church. We do not want to be a gnostic Church, but a Church that worships and prays. We, the people and the pastors who make up this faithful people of God, who enjoy an infallibility of faith together with the pope; we, the people and the pastors, speak on the basis of what the Spirit inspires in us, and we pray together and build the Church together; or better yet, we are instruments of the Spirit who builds her up.”[14]

We can clearly detect a bridge connecting this homily to Vatican II’s conception of the faithful people of God[15] and to Pope Francis’ first greeting after his election to the papacy when he bowed his head and asked the faithful people to bless him. Lifting his head, he then said: “And now, let us begin this journey: bishop and people.” The same bridge extends to his first Mass with the cardinals during which he spoke of walking and building, and it continues in every step the Holy Spirit prompts Francis to make – just as it prompted Saint Turibio – to go out to the peripheries and dialogue with everyone.

The Holy Spirit and us: the walk of faith opened by Pope Benedict

As mentioned above, Pope Benedict, a few days earlier, also referred to the Holy Spirit using an expression from the Acts of the Apostles: “The Holy Spirit and we.”[16] In any case, at that moment, it was Pope Benedict that attracted the attention of the media and troubled the participants in the Conference by asserting that “the proclamation of Jesus and of his Gospel did not at any point involve an alienation of the pre-Columbian cultures, nor was it the imposition of a foreign culture.”[17] And again at the General Audience on the following May 23, the Holy Father added: “It is not possible to forget the sufferings and the injustices inflicted by the colonists on the indigenous peoples.”[18]

These were the dynamics stirring and worrying the assembly, together with the pressures some were exerting to “introduce” certain themes and others to “make them disappear.” The important thing was the powerful assertions Benedict made at the outset that paved the way for the Fifth Conference.

Cultures are open

Benedict XVI affirmed that every authentic culture is open rather than closed. He said that the Gospel – as prone as it is to obfuscation by all sorts of exploitation – never alienates people, and that the native peoples who had survived had the wisdom and the magnanimity to inculturate the Gospel at the very moment they were rejecting – as they continue to do – everything that amounts to an imposition of structures opposed to the Gospel. These are affirmations that allow us to think of the real and current historical reality of the Latin American continent without falling into ideologies.

The Aparecida Document picked up the thread of Benedict XVI’s General Audience, affirming that “the Gospel arrived on our lands in the climate of a dramatic and unequal encounter between peoples and cultures.” It also emphasized that “the seeds of the Word” present in autochthonous cultures made it easier for our indigenous brothers and sisters to discover in the Gospel vital answers to their deepest aspirations.” (AP 4 and 529)

Regarding this theme, a great leap forward was made during Pope Francis’ meeting in Chiapas with the indigenous communities of San Cristobal de las Casas on February 15, 2016. On that occasion, he looked not only at the accomplishments of the past but also at present and future opportunities, and in this meeting with “little cultures” – as they defined themselves – he showed that, paradoxically, after centuries of being rejected and underappreciated by “big cultures,” the world is now “in need of them” and their “wisdom” which knows how to treat, respect, and love our mother earth. The pope said, “on many occasions, in a systematic and organized way, your people have been misunderstood and excluded from society. Some have considered your values, culture, and traditions to be inferior. Others, intoxicated by power, money and market trends, have stolen your lands or contaminated them. How sad this is! How worthwhile it would be for each of us to examine our conscience and learn to say, ‘forgive me!’”

At the end of the Mass, three representatives of the indigenous peoples thanked him, saying, “You place your heart next to ours,” and “you carry us in your heart, our culture, our joys, our pains, the injustices we suffer.”[19]

The preferential option for the poor is Christological

Benedict also affirmed – in the context of the question of the reality that includes God and of a culture of encounter – that “the preferential option for the poor is implicit in the Christological faith according to which God was made poor for us in order to enrich us with his poverty (cf. 2 Cor. 8:9).”[20]

Paragraph 8, Number 3 of the Aparecida Document elaborates Pope Benedict XVI’s point: “This option is born from our faith in Jesus Christ, God made Man, who made himself our brother (cf. Heb. 2:11-12). This option, however, is neither exclusive nor does it exclude.[21] If this option is implicit in the Christological faith, all Christians, as disciples and missionaries, are called to contemplate, in the suffering faces of our brothers, the face of Christ who calls us to serve him in them: ‘The suffering faces of the poor are the suffering face of the Lord’” (AP 292-293).

We do not have to look too far for examples of Pope Francis’ support for a clear preferential option for the poor. But it is worth remembering that – in the face of attempts to minimize the magisterial authority of Pope Francis because of his allegedly excessive focus on social issues – this preferential option is Christological, just as Benedict XVI had affirmed. Every time Pope Francis speaks of the poor he is doing Christology, a more elevated and incarnational Christology since whoever does not confess Christ in the flesh is not of the Spirit. The sensibility of the poor man is the essence of Christianity, as Albert Hurtado said.

The Holy Spirit and the question of the subject

No less fundamental to the question of cultures and the poor is Benedict XVI’s initial invocation of the Holy Spirit and the vote of confidence he gave to the Conference and its synodal way of proceeding when, at the inaugural Mass, he said, “Leaders in the Church will argue and discuss but always in an attitude of religious attentiveness to the Word of Christ in the Holy Spirit. In the end we can affirm: ‘We have decided; the Holy Spirit and we …’ (Acts 15:28). This is the ‘method’ according to which we operate in the Church, both in small and large assemblies … ‘We and the Holy Spirit.’ This is the Church: we, the believing community, the people of God, along with their Pastors called to guide them along the way; together with the Holy Spirit.”[22]

At this Mass, Pope Benedict XVI also spoke of the joy of creating space for the Word and communal discernment. These themes are connected to the question of who the ecclesial subject is – “The Holy Spirit and we, the people of God” – and these words in particular were firmly fixed in the minds of the assembly.

The Aparecida Document and Evangelii Nuntiandi

Cardinal Bergoglio has always made a point of showing that Aparecida concluded by drawing upon the teaching of Evangelii Nuntiandi (EN). In an address to priests in 2008, he said, “it is striking that, when drafting its final exhortation, Aparecida reached back 30 years to one of the most beautiful and powerful Magisterial documents – Evangelii Nuntiandi – and that its last sentence was ‘let us recapture the courage and fearlessness of the apostles.’”[23]

In a recent interview, Pope Francis said, “The pastoral focus I want to give the Church today is the Joy of the Gospel, an implementation of Pope Paul VI’s Evangelii Nuntiandi. He was a man ahead of his time. … He sowed the seeds history would go on to harvest. Evangelii Gaudium is a mixture of Evangelii Nuntiandi and the Aparecida Document. They were constructed from the ground up. Evangelii Nuntiandi is the best post-conciliar pastoral document and it has lost none of its freshness.”[24]

Actually, the Aparecida Document not only closes but also opens with Evangelii Nuntiandi and cites it in six key places, indicating challenges in concrete areas.

Missionary disciples as servants of Gospel joy

In the Introduction to the Aparecida Document, the mission of the Church is described in harmony with “the evangelizing duty” referred to at the beginning of Evangelii Nuntiandi: “the duty of proclaiming the Gospel to the men and women of our time” as “a service” (EN 1) to the community and all humanity. The Aparecida Document specifies that “this is the best service – its own service! – that the Church can offer to people and nations” (AP 14). Therefore, forming missionary disciples who can perform this service with “greater love, zeal, and joy” (EN 1) is the Church’s “fundamental challenge” and “treasure”: “We have no other riches … no other joys or priorities” (AP 14).

In the first chapter,[25] we can see a sort of apologia on the part of Cardinal Bergoglio for the spiritual focus that is clearly evident from the outset of the Document and which forms a contemplative outlook in those preparing themselves “to look at reality from the viewpoint of missionary disciples of Jesus Christ” (AP 20). There was a last minute motion to change the wording and begin with a “raw” look (this was indeed the specific proposal) at reality. Some participants “were asking to remove the brief expression of thanks that preceded the observation about reality and insisted that the document turn immediately to the words ‘to look at.’ Cardinal Bergoglio responded that it was better to keep the spiritual part before turning to the present reality in order to indicate the appropriate way of looking.[26] There were 96 votes in favor of the proposal of the Redaction Commission’s president and 30 in favor of the originally proposed version.”[27]

Someone said that to Cardinal Bergoglio it seemed “too strong to go directly to a look at reality, and for this reason he proposed a sort of doxology (i.e., praise to God).”[28] In any case, paradoxically, this spiritual look implies the spiritual courage and daring that are proper to the Kingdom. Subsequently, many have noticed and mentioned what became known as the tone or the music of Aparecida.

This is not a peripheral issue but one that regards the very subject who listens, looks, gives thanks, and then discerns and acts in a concrete manner.[29] Through this spiritual gaze or look we are able to recognize the subject who praises the Father and confesses Christ: “the Holy Spirit and we, the people of God,” as Benedict XVI said. The “look” of missionary disciples is the same as that of the little ones mentioned in Matthew 11:25, and its purpose is to teach “the wise and the learned” how to see well. From this viewpoint, the Church can offer a service of “discerning the signs of the times and interpreting them in light of the Gospel,” as Gaudium et Spes affirms in n. 4.

In this way, we stave off the danger of looking and judging things from the perspective of an anonymous subject, as Guardini taught[30]: an anonymous subject characterized by a tendency to discuss abstractions detached from the life of the people. The evangelical look, on the other hand, to the extent that it is born from an attitude of praise and remains at the core of the original, living faith. This vision, from a pastoral perspective, allows for the harmonization of both the scientific and dogmatic viewpoints.

Today, we recognize that it is precisely this look – one that favors a synodal way of proceeding and joyfully clears space for the Word and for community discernment as Benedict XVI indicated in his inaugural discourse in Aparecida – that Pope Francis particularly insists on, notwithstanding some naysayers.

The concluding section of the Aparecida Document echoes that of Evangelii Nuntiandi[31] with an exhortation to missionary disciples: “Let us, therefore, rediscover the fervor of the Spirit. Let us safeguard the sweet and consoling joy of evangelizing, even when we must sow in tears.” Then follows an important mention of the evangelizers: “Let it be for us – just as it was for John the Baptist, Peter and Paul, the other Apostles, and the multitude of extraordinary evangelizers throughout the long history of the Church – an interior compulsion that no one and nothing can extinguish.” The task, therefore, is that of forming evangelizers: “Let us recover the courage and fearlessness of the Apostles” (AP 552).

The entire second part of the final document is dedicated to the theme of “missionary disciples.” Just as in the working document and in the first draft, the final document could have settled for a mere description of the ideal disciple. But instead, the “missionary disciple” remained even though it ceded center stage to the theme of the service of life.[32] The Aparecida Document particularly emphasizes the role of the laity in missionary discipleship. The document twice quotes Evangelii Nuntiandi when it speaks of the specific mission of the laity as “embedded in the world” (AP 210, 282-283) and having no need to be clercalized.[33] And, in this context, it particularly addresses the topic (often ignored in Church documents) of “the responsibility of husbands and fathers in families” (AP 9.6).

The people as the subject of the evangelization of their own culture

The Aparecida Document addresses the processes and companionship necessary to form missionary disciples.[34] It does so by showing the “complexity of the evangelizing action” (cf. EN, 17) that must renew humanity not in the form of a superficial veneer but in a vital and profound way that gets to the very roots of the culture and cultures according to the rich and abundant teaching of Gaudium et Spes (cf. GS 53-54).[35]

In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis takes a further step by saying – still quoting Gaudium et Spes – that “grace presupposes culture” and not only nature: “the human being is always situated culturally: ‘nature and culture are very closely tied to one another’ (cf. GS 53). Grace presupposes culture, and God’s gift is incarnate in the culture of the one who receives it” (EG 115).

In popular piety we can have an even better appreciation for the continuity and development that connects Evangelii Nuntiandi, the Aparecida Document and Evangelii Gaudium. Paul VI referred to “the reality that is often described today by the term ‘popular religiosity’.” He spoke of the rediscovery of its value. He recognized not only it limits but also its rich value and he exhorted believers to “be sensitive to it” and to “know how to perceive its interior dimensions and undeniable values” (EN, 48). The Aparecida document echoes this last point – “to perceive its interior dimensions and undeniable values” – and takes a step further adding the phenomena of “popular mysticism” (AP 262) and “popular spirituality” (AP 263).

Evangelii Gaudium clearly presents “popular spirituality and mysticism” as an evangelizing force within the people of God who, as a whole, are the “subject of evangelization” (EG 110 and following). “The different peoples among whom the Gospel has been inculturated are active collective subjects or agents of evangelization. This is because each people is the creator of its own culture and the protagonist of its own history” (EG 122).

Summarizing the contributions of Paul VI and Benedict XVI to Aparecida, Evangelii Gaudium emphasizes the “evangelizing power of popular piety,” affirming that it is truly “‘a spirituality incarnated in the culture of the lowly’” (EG 124, cf. AP 263). This “culture of the lowly” is the cross-section of the people of God present in peoples throughout the world who are capable of inculturating the Gospel on the basis of the poverty and simplicity of spirit that becomes a leaven for various cultures across the globe. The extent of the humanism of any culture can be ascertained from the way it treats its poor, and this is an ethical value shared by the many different ideologies.

Humanity as the subject caring for mother earth and the poor

Finally, let us briefly note how Evangelii Gaudium translates the insights of Aparecida and its retrieval of Paul VI into an apostolic program by presenting the joy of the Gospel as its essential element, thus explaining the Aparecida Document’s focus on ecology (specifically the Amazon and Antarctica), which subsequently became the seed of Laudato Si’.

A look of adoration and praise for the Creator allows us to connect two themes that world leaders do everything they can to keep separate: the poor and our care for the planet. The spiritual viewpoint of Laudato Si’ – a social rather than a green encyclical – is able to discern or see a social problem in the ecological question and see Christology in the question of the poor.


[1] This hope in the fullness of time seen as the end of a journey has nourished development and revolutionary theories. (Cf. T. Halperin Donghi, Historia contemporanea de America Latina, Madrid, Alianza Editorial, 2005, 8.)

[2] Cf. C. M. Galli, “El viento del sur de Aparecida a Rio. El proyecto misionero latinoamericano en la teologia y el estilo pastoral de Francisco”, in De la mision continental (Aparecida, 2007) a la mision universal (Rio de Janeiro y Evangelii Gaudium 2013) Buenos Aires, Docencia, 2014, 61-119.

[3] Cf. Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 231.

[4] Although it was not specified in the norms, it was permitted for bishops to receive counsel, for example, from those involved in Amerindia (a group of theologians and episcopal advisors formed in 1978 in conjunction with the Puebla Conference), who were operating out of a hotel adjacent to the Conference.

[5] Cf. E. de la Serna, “Comparacion entre la 4a redaccion del Documento final de Aparecida,ultima aprobada por la asamblea y la version oficial aprobada por la curia romana”, in www.curasopp.com.ar/posaparecida/d05.php

[6] The entire final document was approved by a margin of 97.5 percent (127 in favor, 2 opposed, and one abstention). During the voting on the individual parts, most of the paragraphs received 125 votes in favor and some even received 133 votes.

[7] E. de la Serna, “Aparecida, un acontecimiento eclesial latinoamericano”, in Vida Pastoral, n. 267 (2007).

[8] The first Conference was in Rio, Brazil, in 1955. That conference gave birth to CELAM. The second Conference was held in 1968 in Medellin, Colombia and paved the way to introducing Vatican II to Latin America. The Document approved by that Conference had the nihil obstat of Pope Paul VI. In 1979, the third Conference was held in Puebla, Mexico, and it received Paul VI’s 1975 exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi for Latin America. That Conference gave particular attention to the inculturation of the Gospel and the evangelization of culture. The fourth Conference took place in Santo Domingo in 1992. The tensions that arose at that assembly threatened the possibility of future Conferences. But both John Paul II and Benedict XVI supported conducting these Conferences in a way appropriate to Latin America, and this led to the fifth Conference at Aparecida.

[9] C. Galli, “La teologia pastoral de Evangelii Gaudium en el proyecto misionero de Francisco”, in Teologia 114 (2014), 37 ff.

[10] Cf. C. Schickendantz, “Le conferenze episcopali”, in A. Spadaro – C. Galli (eds), La riforma e le riforme nella Chiesa, Brescia, Queriniana, 2016, 347 ff.

[11] V. M. Fernandez, “El estilo de Aparecida y el cardenal Bergoglio,” in Communio, December 21, 2013. Cf. www.communio-argentina.com.ar

[12] Pope Francis often says that “we must take life as it is found in a particular place, just like the goalkeeper in soccer: he has to take the ball wherever it is kicked. Sometimes it goes in this direction, sometimes in that.” Speech to the Participants in “A Village for the Earth” Celebration, April 24, 2016.

[13] Cf. S. Premat, “Advirtio Bergoglio sobre el pecado social”, in La Nacion, May 17, 2007. Cf. www.lanacion.com.ar

[14] J. M. Bergoglio, Homily, Aparecida, May 16, 2007.

[15] The entire Church is missionary, and the work of evangelization is the fundamental duty of the whole people of God.” Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 59, which also cites Ad Gentes, n. 35.

[16] Benedict XVI, Homily at the Mass at the Beginning of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, May 13, 2007.

[17] Id., Address to the Inaugural Session of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, May 13, 2007.

[18] Id., General Audience, May 23, 2007.

[19] Cf. A. Spadaro – D. Fares, “Il ‘trittico americano’ di papa Francesco”, in Civilta Cattolica 2016 I, 486 ff.

[20] Benedict XVI, Homily at the Mass at the Beginning of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, May 13, 2007.

[21] Analogous additions were made after the approval of the Document and also caused tensions. Cf. E. de la Serna, op. cit.

[22] Benedict XVI, Homily at the Mass at the Beginning of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, May 13, 2007.

[23] J. M. Bergoglio, Message of Aparecida to Priests, Villa Cura Brochero, September 11, 2008. See also J. M. Bergoglio, “Pastors of the people, not clerics of the State. The Message of Aparecida to priests”, in Civilta Cattolica 2013 IV, 3-13.

[24] Pope Francis, Interview with El Pais, January 22, 2017; cf. A. Cano and P. Ordaz, “El peligro en tiempos de crisis es buscar un salvador que nos devuelva la identidad y nos defienda con muros”, in El Pais, January 22, 2017. Cf. www.internacional.elpais.com

[25] The first chapter is entitled “The Missionary Disciples” and it consists of three parts: (1) God’s Action of Grace, (2) The Joy of Being Disciples and Missionaries of Jesus Christ, and (3) The Church has the Mission to Evangelize.

[26] On that occasion Bergoglio said that something very important was at stake that morning. His calm tone of voice gave the impression that he was speaking as someone convinced he was bearing the truth without any subjective emphasis as he asked the assembly to make the decision.

[27] V. M. Fernandez, Aparecida. Guia para leer el Documento y cronica diaria, Buenos Aires, San Pablo, 2007, 157.

[28] E. de la Serna, “Informes diarios desde Aparecida,” www.curasopp.com.ar/Aparecida/m01.php#31

[29] Cf. J. E. Scheinig, “Nueva evangelizacion y Pastoral urbana,” in www.pastoralurbana.com.ar/web/jorge-scheinig.php

[30] Cf. M. Mosto, “El poder. Homenaje a Romano Guardini a 40 anos de su fallecimiento”, in Sapientia 65 (2009), 195-202. Also available at www.bibliotecadigital.uca.edu.ar

[31] EN, 80.

[32] “Jesus presents the life of God as the supreme value.” Cf. EN, 80.

[33] Paul VI wrote, “Their primary and immediate task is not to establish and develop the ecclesial community – this is the specific role of the pastors – but to put to use every Christian and evangelical possibility latent but already present and active in the affairs of the world.” EN, 70.

[34] Missionary disciples must “‘reach the point of having new life in Christ, identifying themselves profoundly with him’ (EN, 19) and with his mission. This is a long journey made by different paths depending on one’s personal process and a rhythm that is communitarian, continuous, and gradual” (AP, 281).

[35] The Aparecida Document also makes reference to Gaudium et Spes in Chapter 10, “Our Peoples and their Culture.”