Pope to religious: Your hearts must be open 24-7

By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Lift up your eyes from your smartphones and see your brothers and sisters, those who share your journey of faith and those who are longing for the Word of life, Pope Francis told consecrated men and women.
“Today’s frantic pace leads us to close many doors to encounter, often for fear of others,” the pope said in his homily for the feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day for Consecrated Life. “Only shopping malls and internet connections are always open.” Yet believers’ hearts must be open as well, because every believer receives the faith from someone and is called to share it with others, the pope said at the Mass Feb. 2 in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The feast day commemorates the 40th day after Jesus’ birth when, in accordance with ancient Jewish practice, Mary and Joseph took him to the temple and presented him to the Lord. The feast’s Gospel reading from St. Luke recounts how the aged Simeon and Anna, who were praying in the temple, recognized Jesus as the Messiah.
The Mass, attended by thousands of women and men belonging to religious orders, began with the traditional blessing of candles and a prayer that God would guide people toward his son, “the light that has no end.” In his homily, Pope Francis focused on a series of encounters: between people and Jesus; between the young Mary and Joseph and the elderly Simeon and Anna; and between individuals and members of their religious communities or their neighborhoods.
“In the Christian East,” the pope explained, “this feast is called the ‘feast of Encounter’: It is the encounter between God, who became a child to bring newness to our world, and an expectant humanity.”
The pope told the religious that their own journeys were “born of an encounter and a call” which, while highly personal, took place in the context of a family, a parish or a community.
Members of religious orders must realize that they need each other – young and old – to renew and strengthen their knowledge of the Lord, he said. They must never “toss aside” the elderly members because “if the young are called to open new doors, the elderly have the keys.”
One’s brothers or sisters in the community are a gift to be cherished, he said before adding a plea: “May we never look at the screen of our cellphone more than the eyes of our brothers or sisters, or focus more on our software than on the Lord.” Pope Francis said strengthening the intergenerational bonds in a religious community also is an antidote to “the barren rhetoric of ‘the good old days’” and the only way “to silence those who believe that ‘everything is going wrong here.’”
Religious life, with its vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, always has been countercultural, he said. And yet it is the source of true freedom because while “the life of this world pursues selfish pleasures and desires, the consecrated life frees our affections of every possession in order fully to love God and other people.”

Pope Francis calls for church with ‘Amazonian and indigenous’ face

By Barbara J. Fraser
PUERTO MALDONADO, Peru – Pope Francis called on indigenous people of the Amazon to work with missionaries and bishops to shape a church with an “Amazonian and indigenous” face.
The pope pledged the church’s “whole-hearted option for the defense of life, the defense of the earth and the defense of cultures” and called his audience to work together toward the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, which he has called for 2019.
“The native Amazonian peoples have probably never been so threatened on their own lands as they are at present,” Pope Francis said. “Amazonia is not only a reserve of biodiversity, but also a cultural reserve that must be preserved in the face of the new forms of colonialism.”
He also called for a change in the consumer culture that extracts resources from the Amazon without regard for the people who live there, and he had harsh words for officials who consider indigenous people an obstacle to development.
“Your lives cry out against a style of life that is oblivious to its own real cost,” the pope told the audience of some 2,500 indigenous people from Peru, Brazil and Bolivia.
Upon his arrival in this Amazonian town, the pope was welcomed by children who chanted, “Pope Francis is Amazonian now.” Once in Madre de Dios stadium, dancers in feathered headdresses accompanied him as he greeted the crowd.
Members of various indigenous peoples presented the pope with gifts that reflected their culture, including a basket, painting, book and woven stole. The pope left the stadium wearing a feathered headdress and strings of beads typically worn by community chiefs, presented to him by Santiago Manuin Valera, an Awajun leader from northern Peru.
The pope said he had come to listen to the people of this Amazonian region, which is rich in natural resources and indigenous cultures but increasingly devastated by illegal mining, deforestation and social problems.
A Harakbut woman and man and an Awajun woman described the threats their peoples face from outsiders who take timber and other resources from their lands, as well as their fear that their cultures could disappear and their efforts to keep those cultures alive
The pope echoed their concerns, listing oil and gas, mining, logging, industrial agriculture and even conservation programs as activities that do not take indigenous peoples into account, but “strangle” them and force young people to migrate because of a lack of alternatives.
“We have to break with the historical paradigm that views Amazonia as an inexhaustible source of supplies for other countries without concern for its inhabitants,” he said.
The pope praised the church’s work among native peoples in the Amazon, although he acknowledged errors. In many parts of the Amazon, missionaries started the first schools for indigenous children.
While noting that education and building schools is the government’s job, Pope Francis urged the Amazonian bishops to continue to encourage intercultural and bilingual education in schools, universities and teacher training programs.
Echoing the Harakbut speakers who had greeted him, he emphasized that education for native people must “build bridges and create a culture of encounter,” in a way that “respects and integrates their ancestral wisdom as a treasure belonging to the whole nation.”
The pope praised young indigenous people who are “working to reinterpret the history of their peoples from their own perspective,” as well as those who “show the world your worldview and your cultural richness” through art, music, crafts and literature.
“Much has been written and spoken about you,” he said. “It is good that you are now the ones to define yourselves and show us your identity. We need to listen to you.”
The pope urged his listeners, many of whom are pastoral agents in remote rural communities and poor urban areas, not to let their people’s Catholic faith be uprooted. Each culture “enriches the church by showing a new aspect of Christ’s face,” he said.
Pope Francis encouraged them to draw on the wisdom of their peoples, especially elders, to counter the pressures they face and to dialogue with missionaries and bishops.
“We need the native peoples to shape the culture of the local churches in Amazonia,” he said.

Don’t confess other’s faults, own up to sins, pope says at audience

By Junno Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Fear and the shame of admitting one’s own sins leads to pointing fingers and accusing others rather than recognizing one’s own faults, Pope Francis said.
“It’s difficult to admit being guilty, but it does so much good to confess with sincerity. But you must confess your own sins,” the pope said Jan. 3 at his first general audience of the new year.
“I remember a story an old missionary would tell about a woman who went to confession and she began by telling her husband’s faults, then went on to her mother-in-law’s faults and then the sins of her neighbors. At a certain point, the confessor told her, ‘But ma’am, tell me, are you done?’ ‘No… Yes.’ ‘Great, you have finished with other people’s sins, now start to tell me yours,’” he said.
The pope was continuing his series of audience talks on the Mass, reflecting on the penitential rite.

Pope Francis hears a confession in the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi, Italy, Aug. 4. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Recognizing one’s own sins prepares a person to make room in his or her heart for Christ, the pope said. But a person who has a heart “full of himself, of his own success” receives nothing because he is already satiated by his “presumed justice.”
“Listening to the voice of conscience in silence allows us to realize that our thoughts are far from divine thoughts, that our words and our actions are often worldly, guided by choices that are contrary to the Gospel,” the pope said.
Confessing one’s sins to God and the church helps people understand that sin not only “separates us from God but also from our brothers and sisters,” he added.
“Sin cuts. It cuts our relationship with God and with our brothers and sisters, in our family, in society, in the community,” the pope said. “Sin always cuts, separates, divides.”
The penitential rite at Mass also includes asking the intercession of Mary and all the angels and saints, which, he said, is an acknowledgement that Christians seek help from “friends and models of life” who will support them on their journey toward full communion with God.
Christians also can find the courage to “take off their masks” and seek pardon for their sins by following the example of biblical figures such as King David, Zacchaeus, the Samaritan woman and St. Peter.
“To take measure of the fragility of the clay with which we have been formed is an experience that strengthens us,” Pope Francis said. “While making us realize our weakness, it opens our heart to call upon the divine mercy that transforms and converts. And this is what we do in the penitential act at the beginning of Mass.”

(Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju)

Helping refugees means converting hardened hearts

By Carol Glatz
ROME (CNS) – With so much suffering, poverty and exploitation in the world, missionary work must also include reaching out to people whose hearts are closed to receiving immigrants and refugees, Pope Francis told Jesuits in Myanmar.
“Unfortunately, in Europe there are countries that have chosen to close their borders. The most painful thing is that to take such a decision, they had to close their hearts,” he said during a private audience Nov. 29 in the chapel of the archbishop’s house in Yangon.
“Our missionary work must also reach those hearts that are closed to the reception of others,” he told 31 Jesuits from different parts of Asia and Australia, who are based in Myanmar.
The Rome-based Jesuit-run journal, La Civilta Cattolica, published a transcript Dec. 14 from the private meeting in Myanmar and the pope’s private meeting Dec. 1 at the apostolic nunciature in Dhaka with Jesuits based in Bangladesh.
In both meetings, the pope listened to and answered their comments, concerns and questions, and the journal provided an English translation of the original Spanish remarks.
A Jesuit’s mission is to be close to the people, especially those who are suffering and forgotten because “to see them is to see Christ suffering and crucified,” he said in his meeting in Myanmar.
His approach, he said, is to try to visit these places and to “speak clearly, especially with countries that have closed their borders.”
“It is a serious issue,” he said, commenting on how that evening, they all would be sitting down to a full meal, including dessert, while many refugees will “have a piece of bread for dinner.”
He recalled visiting the refugees in Lesbos, Greece, and how the children he greeded were torn between shaking his hand and reaching for candy that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople was pulling out of his pockets.
“With one hand, they greeted me with the other, they grabbed the candy. I thought maybe it was the only sweet they had eaten for days.”
The situation of many of the refugees and stories they have told him have “helped me to cry a lot before God,” he said, particularly when a Muslim man recounted how terrorists slit the throat of his Christian wife right before his eyes when she refused to take off the cross she wore.
“These things must be seen and must be told,” he said, because news of what is happening does not reach most people, and “we are obliged to report and make public these human tragedies that some try to silence.”
The Jesuits he met in Bangladesh thanked him for talking about the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority being pushed from Myanmar’s Rakhine state and seeking refuge in Bangladesh.
“Jesus Christ today is called Rohingya,” as these people are their brothers and sisters, the pope told the Jesuits.
Just as St. Peter Claver ministered in the 17th century to slaves subjected to horrible conditions, such shameful conditions people endure still persist, he said.
“Today, there is much discussion about how to save the banks. The problem is the salvation of the banks. But who saves the dignity of men and women today?”
“Nobody cares about people in ruins any longer. The devil manages to do this in today’s world. If we had a little sense of reality, this should scandalize us.”
“The impudence of our world is such that the only solution is to pray and ask for the grace of tears,” he said.
Meeting the Rohingya refugees that same day at the archbishop’s residence in Dhaka, he added, made him feel ashamed. “I felt ashamed of myself, for the whole world!”
When asked “why such attention” for the small Catholic community in Bangladesh when he elevated their archbishop in Dhaka to the rank of cardinal, Pope Francis said that in naming cardinals, he looks to the “small churches, those that grow in the peripheries, at the edges.”
It’s not meant to give them “consolation,” but is “to launch a clear message: the small churches that grow in the periphery and are without ancient Catholic traditions today must speak to the universal church, to the whole church. I clearly feel that they have something to teach us.”

Buddhists, Christians must reclaim values that lead to peace

By Cindy Wooden
YANGON, Myanmar (CNS) – Christians and Buddhists are called by faith to overcome evil with goodness and violence with peace, Pope Francis said during a meeting with leaders of Myanmar’s Buddhist community.
Quoting St. Francis of Assisi and Buddha, the pope insisted that in a land where the powerfully bonded pairing of religion and ethnicity have been used to prolong conflict, it was time for religious leaders to reclaim the greatest values and virtues of their faith traditions.
Pope Francis met Nov. 29 with members of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, a government-appointed group of senior Buddhist monks who oversee some 500,000 monks and novices in Myanmar, where close to 90 percent of the population follows Buddhism.
One of the strongest anti-Muslim and anti-Rohingya currents of Myanmar society is led by Buddhist nationalists. The meeting was hosted by the Buddhists at the Kaba Aye Pagoda and Center.
As is customary, Pope Francis took off his shoes before entering the hall and walked in his black socks to his place. The Buddhist committee members sat directly opposite Pope Francis and members of his entourage across a plush, bright blue rug.
The challenge of the Buddhist monks and of the Catholic clergy, the pope said, is to help their people see that patience, tolerance and respect for life are values essential to every relationship, whether with people of the same family or ethnic group or with fellow residents of a nation.
The approach, he said, is common to both faiths.
Pope Francis quoted Buddha: “Overcome the angry by non-anger; overcome the wicked by goodness; overcome the miser by generosity; overcome the liar by truth.”
And then he pointed out how the “Prayer of St. Francis” has a similar teaching: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, let me bring pardon. … Where there is darkness, let me bring light, and where there is sadness, joy.”
“May that wisdom continue to inspire every effort to foster patience and understanding and to heal the wounds of conflict that, through the years, have divided people of different cultures, ethnicity and religious convictions,” he said.
The pope did use the word “Rohingya,” whom the Myanmar government does not recognize as a separate ethnic group, but he insisted the meeting was an occasion “to affirm a commitment to peace, respect for human dignity and justice for every man and woman.”
Faith, he said, not only should lead adherents to an experience of “the transcendent,” but also should help them see “their interconnectedness with all people.”
Bhaddanta Kumarabhivamsa, president of the committee, told the pope Buddhists believe all religions can, “in some way,” bring peace and prosperity, otherwise they would cease to exist.
Religious leaders, he said, “must denounce any kind of expression that incites (people) to hatred, false propaganda, conflict and war with religious pretexts and condemn strongly those who support such activity.”
Pope Francis ended his day with the Catholic bishops of Myanmar, urging them to “foster unity, charity and healing in the life of this nation.”
As he had earlier in the trip, the pope again defined as an example of “ideological colonization” the idea that differences are a threat to peaceful coexistence.
“The unity we share and celebrate is born of diversity,” he said. Unity in the church and in a nation “values people’s differences as a source of mutual enrichment and growth. It invites people to come together in a culture of encounter and solidarity.”

Couples need help forming, following their consciences

By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Marriage and family life are blessings for individuals and for society, but both are filled with difficult choices that Catholic couples must be helped to face prayerfully and in the light of their consciences, Pope Francis said.
Unfortunately, too many people today confuse a rightly formed conscience with personal preferences dominated by selfishness, the pope said in a video message to an Italian meeting on “Amoris Laetitia,” his exhortation on the family.
“The contemporary world risks confusing the primacy of conscience, which is always to be respected, with the exclusive autonomy of the individual” even when the individual’s decisions impact his or her marriage and family life, the pope said.
Repeating a remark he had made to the Pontifical Academy for Life, Pope Francis said, “There are those who even speak of ‘egolatry,’ that is, the true worship of the ego on whose altar everything, including the dearest affections, are sacrificed.”
Confusing conscience with selfishness “is not harmless,” the pope said. “This is a ‘pollution’ that corrodes souls and confounds minds and hearts, producing false illusions.”
The conference sponsored by the Italian bishops’ conference was focused on “conscience and norm” in Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation.
Diagnosing problems in the church’s outreach to married couples and families, Pope Francis had written, “We have long thought that simply by stressing doctrinal, bioethical and moral issues, without encouraging openness to grace, we were providing sufficient support to families, strengthening the marriage bond and giving meaning to marital life.”
“We also find it hard to make room for the consciences of the faithful, who very often respond as best they can to the Gospel amid their limitations, and are capable of carrying out their own discernment in complex situations,” he wrote in “Amoris Laetitia.” “We have been called to form consciences, not to replace them.”
In his message to the meeting Nov. 11 in Rome, Pope Francis said the Catholic Church must strengthen its programs “to respond to the desire for family that emerges in the soul of the young generations” and to help couples once they are married.
“Love between a man and a woman is obviously among the most generative human experiences; it is the leaven of a culture of encounter, and introduces to the present world an injection of sociality,” he said.
Marriage and family life are “the most effective antidote against the individualism that currently runs rampant,” he said, but it does not do one any good to pretend that marriage and family life are free from situations requiring difficult choices.
“In the domestic reality, sometimes there are concrete knots to be addressed with prudent conscience on the part of each,” he said. “It is important that spouses, parents, not be left alone, but accompanied in their commitment to applying the Gospel to the concreteness of life.”
Conscience, he said, always has God’s desire for the human person as its ultimate reference point.
“In the very depths of each one of us, there is a place wherein the ‘Mystery’ reveals itself, and illuminates the person, making the person the protagonist of his story,” he said. “Conscience, as the Second Vatican Council recalls, is this ‘most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, whose voice echoes in his depths.’”
Each Christian, the pope said, must be “vigilant so that in this kind of tabernacle there is no lack of divine grace, which illuminates and strengthens married love and the parental mission.”

War brings only death, cruelty, pope says at U.S. military cemetery

By Carol Glatz
NETTUNO, Italy (CNS) – “No more, Lord, no more (war)” that shatters dreams and destroys lives, bringing a cold, cruel winter instead of some sought-after spring, Pope Francis said looking out at the people gathered for an outdoor Mass at a U.S. war memorial and cemetery.
“This is the fruit of war: death,” he said, as the bright Italian sun lowered in the sky on the feast of All Souls, Nov. 2.
On a day the church offers special prayers for the faithful departed with the hope of their meeting God in heaven, “here in this place, we pray in a special way for these young people,” he said, gesturing toward the rows of thousands of graves.
Christian hope can spring from great pain and suffering, he said, but it can also “make us look to heaven and say, ‘I believe in my Lord, the redeemer, but stop, Lord,” please, no more war, he said.
“With war, you lose everything,” he said.
Before the Mass, Pope Francis placed a white rose atop 10 white marble headstones; the majority of the stones were carved crosses, one was in the shape of the Jewish Star of David.
As he slowly walked alone over the green lawn and prayed among the thousands of simple grave markers, visitors recited the rosary at the World War II Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial site in Nettuno, a small coastal city south of Rome.
In previous years, the pope marked All Souls’ Day by visiting a Rome cemetery. This year, he chose to visit a U.S. military burial ground and, later in the day, the site of a Nazi massacre at the Ardeatine Caves in Rome to pray especially for all victims of war and violence.
“Wars produce nothing other than cemeteries and death,” he said after reciting the Angelus on All Saints’ Day, Nov. 1. He explained he would visit the two World War II sites the next day because humanity “seems to have not learned that lesson or doesn’t want to learn it.”
In his homily at the late afternoon Mass Nov. 2, Pope Francis spoke off-the-cuff and said people do everything to go to war, but they end up doing nothing but destroying themselves.
“This is war: the destruction of ourselves,” he said.
He spoke of the particular pain women experience in war: receiving that letter or news of the death of their husband, child or grandchild.
So often people who want to go to war “are convinced they will usher in a new world, a new springtime. But it ends up as winter – ugly, cruel, a reign of terror and death,” the pope said.
Today, the world continues to head off fiercely to war and fight battles every day, he said.
“Let us pray for the dead today, dead from war, including innocent children,” and pray to God “for the grace to weep,” he said.
Among the more than 7,800 graves at the Nettuno cemetery, there are the remains of 16 women who served in the Women’s Army Corps, Red Cross or as nurses, as well as the graves of 29 Tuskegee airmen. Those buried or missing in action had taken part in attacks by U.S. Allies along Italy’s coast during World War II.

Pope urges Christians to think about what they say in the Our Father

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – To pray the Lord’s Prayer and believe what one is reciting takes real courage, Pope Francis said.
One must be bold “to truly believe that God is the father who accompanies me, forgives me, gives me bread, is attentive to everything I ask,” Pope Francis said in a filmed conversation about the Our Father.
The Italian bishops’ television station, TV2000, was to begin airing a nine-part series Oct. 25 featuring Pope Francis’ conversation with Father Marco Pozza, an Italian prison chaplain and theologian. A long trailer for the program was released Oct. 18.
The original idea for the project was that Father Pozza would explain the Our Father phrase by phrase and discuss its meaning and implications with a handful of famous Italians from the world of culture and entertainment.
But, the priest told reporters at a news conference, when he told one of the prisoners in Padua about it, the man said, “If he knew about it, Pope Francis would participate, too.”
“At first, I didn’t take it that seriously,” Father Pozza said, “but then I wrote to the pope.” A few days later the pope phoned him and the project was transformed.
In the program’s trailer, Pope Francis ponders whether most people who recite the Our Father really believe any of it.
“We say that we are Christians, that we have a father, but we live – I won’t say like animals – but like people who don’t believe either in God or in humanity,” the pope says. Not only do people act as if they have no faith, but “we live not in love, but in hatred, competition and wars.”
Pope Francis asked if believers really could say that God’s name is “hallowed” in “Christians who battle each other for power” or who “don’t care for their own children?”
Christians pray the Lord’s Prayer and do so together – saying “our” even when they pray alone – because they know the effort required to truly believe and to try again each day to demonstrate their belief, the pope said. “That is why it is so beautiful to pray together, because we help each other to try.”
In addition to the television program, Pope Francis’ conversation with Father Pozza will be published as a book, which will be released in Italian in late November.
In the preface, the pope writes that Jesus gave his disciples the Lord’s Prayer not simply as a formula for addressing God, but also so they would learn how to live as God’s children and as brothers and sisters to one another.
“Jesus shows us what it means to be loved by the Father and reveals to us that the Father wants to pour out on us the same lo

Youth invited to pre-synod meeting

By Junno Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis has invited Christian and non-Christian young people from around the world to a meeting in preparation for the Synod of Bishops on youth in 2018.
Before concluding his weekly general audience, the pope said the March 19-24, 2018, pre-synod meeting will be an opportunity for the church to listen to the hopes and concerns of young men and women.
“Through this journey, the church wants to listen to the voices, the sensibilities, the faith as well as the doubts and criticisms of young people. We must listen to young people,” Pope Francis said Oct. 4.
The theme chosen by the pope for the Synod of Bishops, which will be held in October 2018, is: “Young people, faith and vocational discernment.”
The general secretariat of the synod said the initiative “will allow young people to express their expectations and desires as well as their uncertainties and concerns in the complex affairs of today’s world.”
Young people attending the meeting will represent bishops’ conferences, the Eastern Catholic churches, men and women in consecrated life and seminarians preparing for the priesthood, the general secretariat said.
The gathering also will include representatives from other Christian communities and other religions and experts in the fields of education, culture, sports and arts.
“The pre-synod meeting will enrich the consultation phase, which began with the publication of the preparatory document and its questionnaire, along with the launch of an online website containing a specific questionnaire for young people,” the synod office said in a statement.
Conclusions drawn from the meeting, the general secretariat added, will be given to members of the Synod of Bishops “to encourage their reflection and in-depth study.” Young people attending the meeting also will take part in the Palm Sunday Mass at the Vatican March 25, coinciding with local celebrations of World Youth Day.
(Editor’s note: Young people from the Diocese of Jackson are encouraged to take the synod survey: youth.synod2018.va/content/synod2018/it.html)

Pope defends traditional marriage in French book

By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – By virtue of its very definition, marriage can only be between a man and a woman, Pope Francis said in a new book-length interview.
“We cannot change it. This is the nature of things,” not just in the church, but in human history, he said in a series of interviews with Dominique Wolton, a 70-year-old French sociologist and expert in media and political communication.
Published in French, the 417-page book, “Politique et Societe” (“Politics and Society”) was to be released Sept. 6. Catholic News Service obtained an advance copy, and excerpts appeared online.
When it comes to the true nature of marriage as well as gender, there is “critical confusion at the moment,” the pope said.
When asked about marriage for same-sex couples, the pope said, “Let’s call this ‘civil unions.’ We do not joke around with truth.”
Teaching children that they can choose their gender, he said, also plays a part in fostering such mistakes about the truth or facts of nature.
The pope said he wondered whether these new ideas about gender and marriage were somehow based on a fear of differences, and he encouraged researchers to study the subject.
Pope Francis also said his decision to give all priests permanent permission to grant absolution to those who confess to having procured an abortion was not mean to trivialize this serious and grave sin.
Abortion continues to be “murder of an innocent person. But if there is sin, forgiveness must be facilitated,” he said. So often a woman who never forgets her aborted child “cries for years without having the courage to go see a priest.”
“Do you have any idea the number of people who can finally breathe?” he asked, adding how important it was these women can find the Lord’s forgiveness and never commit this sin again.
Pope Francis said the biggest threat in the world is money. In St. Matthew’s Gospel, when Jesus talked about people’s love and loyalty being torn between two things, he didn’t say it was between “your wife or God,” it was choosing between God or money.
“It’s clear. They are two things opposed to each other,” he said.
When asked why people do not listen to this message even though it has been clearly condemned by the church since the time of the Gospels, the pope said it is because some people prefer to speak only about morality.
“There is a great danger for preachers, lecturers, to fall into mediocrity,” which is condemning only those forms of immorality that fall “below the belt,” he said.
“But the other sins that are the most serious: hatred, envy, pride, vanity, killing another, taking away a life … these are really not talked about that much,” he said.
When asked about the church’s “just-war” theory, the pope said the issue should be looked into because “no war is just. The only just thing is peace.”