Hypocrisy in Church detestable says pope

Francis also prays for Paralympians, 2016 quake victims

(ANSA) - VATICAN CITY, AUG 25 - Hypocrisy in the Catholic Church is detestable, Pope Francis said at his weekly general audience Wednesday.
    "Hypocrisy in the Church is particularly detestable, and sadly it exists and there are many Christians and many ministers who are hypocrites," he said in off-the-cuff remarks.
    "We should never forget the Lord's words: 'May your speech be yes, yes, no, no, the rest comes from the Evil One'." Francis stressed that "acting otherwise from the truth means jeopardizing the unity of the Church, that for which the Lord Himself prayed".
    Hypocrisy, the Pope said, "can be called the fear of the truth," a feeling that "it is better to pretend than to be yourself" that can "suffocate the courage to openly say what is true" in every circumstance, Vatican News reported.
    He warned that hypocrisy flourishes "in an environment where interpersonal relations are lived under the banner of formalism." The Bible, however, shows us examples of holy men and women who refuse to pretend. Pope Francis pointed to Eleazar who, during the time of the Maccabees, refused to pretend to eat meat sacrificed to idols, even at the cost of his life.
    In the New Testament, the Pope noted, Jesus often condemned hypocrites who appeared righteous on the outside, but inwardly were filled with vice.
    Hypocrites, said Pope Francis, "are people who pretend, flatter, and deceive because they live with a mask over their faces and do not have the courage to face the truth." He warned, "They are not capable of truly loving." And he noted that, although we see hypocrisy in the workplace, in politics, and elsewhere, "hypocrisy in the Church is particularly detestable." He recalled the words of the Lord, who said, "Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything more than this comes from evil." In his greetings to Italian-speaking faithful during the General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis turned his thoughts toward the 2020 Paralympic Games, which kicked off in Tokyo on Tuesday.
    Extending his greetings and gratitude to the athletes for the "testimony of hope and courage" that they offer to everyone, the Holy Father said that they, in fact, show how commitment to sports help "to overcome seemingly insurmountable difficulties." Pope Francis also remembered the victims of the earthquake that struck near the town of Montegallo, in central Italy, five years ago, on 24 August 2016.
    The devastating 6.2-magnitude quake resulted in the deaths of over 250 people and left thousands injured, while causing terrible damage to buildings and other properties.
    "Dear brothers and sisters," the Pope said, "your presence gives me the opportunity to turn my thoughts to the victims and to the communities of central Italy, including Accumoli and Amatrice, who suffered the harsh consequences of that seismic event." The Holy Father went on to underline the importance of demonstrating 'rebirth' from the tragedy "without letting distrust get in the way" and with the concrete help of the institutions.
    "Courage!" the Pope urged, as he invited them to continue to "move forward with hope." (ANSA).


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