Pope Francis: Early Christians did not insult bad rulers
The feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in the Vatican began with this solitary prayer by the Pope Francis, in front of the tomb of the first pope.
Pope Francis celebrated Mass in front of fewer than 100 pilgrims, who of course maintained safe distances.
The pope regretted that the representative of the leader of the Orthodox Church, the Patriarch of Constantinople, had not been able to attend, as is customary on this day.
During the Mass, the pope traditionally blesses the pallia of the 54 metropolitan archbishops he appointed over the past year.
They were represented by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, who also received the pallium for being the new dean of the College of Cardinals.
He thanked Pope Francis for live-streaming so many events during the lockdown. He said this allowed many to feel accompanied by the Church.
CARD. GIOVANNI BATTISTA RE
"I wanted to thank Your Holiness for the support, strength, comfort that you have given many people in the world in this difficult period."
The pope blessed the pallia.
Then, he delivered a homily reflecting on Sts. Peter and Paul.
He remembered they were very different, but united. This unity, he explained, starts when praying. As an example, he said the first Christian community did not criticize St. Peter.
We can ask ourselves today: Do we protect our unity with prayer, our unity in the Church? Do we pray for each other? What would happen if we prayed more and criticized less, if we had a calmer tongue?
Pope Francis said praying gives hope and encouragement to resist without pessimism or sterile complaints. Again he recalled the example of the first Christian community in the face of Herod's persecution.
No one insults Herod. We are very used to insulting those responsible. It is useless and annoying that Christians waste time complaining about the world, society, about how bad things are going. ‘But this ruler is...’ and much criticism follows. I will not say them, because this is not the time, nor the place to say what is said against politicians. May God judge them, but let's pray for the rulers. Let's pray, because they need it.
The Vatican is following the preventive measures under effect in Italy.
For example, churches cannot hold more than 200 people. This Mass, was limited to 90.
Translation: Melissa Butz