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Pope in Santa Marta: Beware of those who present themselves in the Church as “perfect”


In his homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis warned of those who are only interested in appearances.

POPE FRANCIS
“Be careful around those who are rigid. Be careful around Christians – be they laity, priests, bishops – who present themselves as so 'perfect,' rigid. Be careful. There’s no Spirit of God there. They lack the spirit of liberty. Let us be careful with ourselves, because this should lead us to consider our own life. Do I seek to look only at appearance, and not change my heart?”

Finally, the pope invited Christians not to be rigid like the pharisees or doctors of the law, because this attitude responds to the spirit of the world and not to God.

EXTRACT OF PAPAL HOMILY
(Source: Vatican News)

“They were truly an example of formality. But they lacked life. They were, so to speak, 'starched.' They were rigid. And Jesus knew their soul. This scandalizes us, because they were scandalized by the things Jesus did when He forgave sins, when He healed on the Sabbath. They rent their garments: 'Oh! What a scandal! This is not from God, because He should have done this instead.' The people didn’t matter to them: the Law mattered to them, the prescriptions, the rubrics.”

“They are not beautiful words, eh? Jesus spoke clearly, He was not a hypocrite. He spoke clearly. And he said to them, 'But why do you look at what is external? Look at what is within.' Another time He said to them, 'You are whitened sepulchers.' Nice compliment, eh? Beautiful on the outside, all perfect… all perfect… but within, full of rottenness, therefore of greed, of wickedness, He says. Jesus distinguishes between appearances and internal reality. These lords are 'doctors of appearances': always perfect, always. But within, what is there?”

“Be careful around those who are rigid. Be careful around Christians – be they laity, priests, bishops – who present themselves as so 'perfect,' rigid. Be careful. There’s no Spirit of God there. They lack the spirit of liberty. And let us be careful with ourselves, because this should lead us to consider our own life. Do I seek to look only at appearance, and not change my heart? Do I not open my heart to prayer, to the liberty of prayer, the liberty of alms giving, the liberty of works of mercy?”