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Toughest charity hugging the wounded says pope

Christians who don't practise charity 'hypocrites'

07 March, 14:08
Toughest charity hugging the wounded says pope (ANSA) - Vatican City, March 7 - Pope Francis said Friday the hardest act of charity was hugging a wounded person and Christians who don't practise charity are hypocrites.

"Are we ashamed to touch the flesh of our wounded or suffering brothers and sisters?," Francis asked during his homily at the morning Mass at the St Martha's House, the Vatican residence he lives in, two days after the pre-Easter period of repentance known as Lent.

The pope said Christianity was not a repository of formal observances for people who put on a hypocritical good appearance to conceal their hearts empty of any charity. "Christianity is showing the flesh of Jesus who bends down without shame in front of whoever is suffering. This contrasts with the Pharisees who criticized Jesus and the disciples for not practising the commandment to fast and who as Doctors of the Law transformed the observance of these commandments into a formality and transformed religious life into an ethic," Francis said. The pope said true charity or fasting means "breaking the chains of evil, freeing the oppressed, sharing our bread with the hungry, opening our houses to the homeless and clothing the naked."