Don't seek spiritual answers in yoga classes, says Pope

Pontiff says true love, happiness found in God not classes

(ANSA) - Rome, January 9 - Answers in the search for peace and freedom will not be found through courses in yoga or spirituality but only through a humble acceptance of God, Pope Francis said Friday.
    In a homily during morning Mass at the Vatican guesthouse where he lives, the pope said that many people are seeking peace and a feeling of freedom, and try to find this through yoga and Zen classes.
    Instead, it is only by humbly accepting the Holy Spirit that a person can be free, the pope said, according to Vatican Radio.
    "You can follow thousands of catechism courses, thousands of spirituality courses, thousands of yoga or zen courses and all these things," said the pope. "But none of this will be able to give you the freedom as a child (of God)," he added.
    "Only the Holy Spirit can prompt your heart to say 'Father'.
    "Only the Holy Spirit is capable of...breaking that hardness of heart," said Francis.
    Many people have hardened their hearts in response to painful experiences and may even become narcissistic, creating their own closed and controlled world, the pope said.
    Some claim to be very devout but wind up finding comfort only in their rigid rules and tight controls, he added.
    But that is the wrong response because it closes an individual to the community of the Church and the experience of knowing Jesus, said the pope.
    "When a heart becomes hardened, it's not free and if it's not free it's because that person isn't capable of love," said Francis.
    Meanwhile, Pope Francis is considering the feasibility of expanding the number of cardinal electors who will chose the next pontiff to 140 from the current 120.
    The proposal was contained in a document recently presented to Francis by Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera.
    The issue is to be discussed in the consistory, or meeting of college of cardinals, next month.
    During the March 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis, only cardinals who were under the age of 80 at the time of the resignation of the previous Pope Benedict XVI were eligible to vote.
    Since then, Francis has been expanding the regional representation of senior Church officials, including the appointment last week of 15 new cardinals from 14 countries.