Pope at General Audience: Not all contempt toward Christians is persecution

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The pope held his General Audience from inside the library of the Apostolic Palace, the same room he uses for meetings with political leaders.

Pope Francis concluded his catechesis on the beatitudes, reflecting on the meaning of “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

The pope said it shouldn't be surprising that Christian virtues, such as poverty, pureness and meekness are ridiculed and rejected.

This is how the world thinks: 'These are idealists or fanatics.'
If the world lives for money, whoever shows that life can be fulfilled through giving and renouncing, becomes a disruption to the system of greed. Christian witness alone, which is so good for many people, because they follow it, bothers those with a worldly mentality. They experience it as a reproach.

The pope remembered the martyrs of today, victims of extremist teachings emerging from hatred for the faith.

He said one must be careful however, because contempt for Christians isn't always persecution.

There is also a type of contempt that is our fault, when we lose the taste for Christ and the Gospel. We must be faithful to the humble path of the beatitudes, because that is what leads one to belong to Christ and not the world.

The pope's proposal is to live one's own faith with optimism and coherence; to remember that Christ was also rejected; and to count on God's help in difficult times.

Before concluding, the pope strayed from his prepared discourse to invoke the help of St. Catherine of Siena, patron saint of Europe.

I ask St. Catherine to protect Italy during this pandemic, and to protect Europe, because she is the patron saint of Europe. May she protect all of Europe, so it remains united

The Vatican is looking into when and how to allow pilgrims to participate in the pope's events.

However, it doesn't seem likely that events like these will be possible anytime soon.


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