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Pope Francis: audience, no to “do-it-yourself faith”, faith as “psychological refuge” or faith justifying hatred and violence

foto SIR/Marco Calvarese

“Jesus’ warning is ever timely: today too, man constructs his own images of God that prevent him from experiencing His real presence”. Pope Francis said this in the final part of his general audience catechesis today, saying some firm “NOs”: “no” to a “do-it-yourself” faith; “no” to those who use faith to “justify their own interests” or hatred and violence; and “no” to those who reduce God either to a “psychological refuge” in times of difficulty or to a “good teacher” of ethical principles, while ignoring the essential missionary impulse of Christianity. “Some – Pope Francis warned, continuing his reflection – build their ‘do-it-yourself’ faith that confines God to the limited space of their own desires and beliefs. This faith, however, instead of being a conversion to the Lord who reveals Himself, prevents Him from challenging our lives and our consciences”. “Others reduce God to a false idol”, he continued: “They use His holy name to justify their own interests, or even hatred and violence. Others again see God only as a psychological refuge in times of difficulty: their faith is self-centred, indifferent to the power of Jesus’ merciful love that leads us towards our brothers and sisters. Others again see Christ only as a good teacher of ethical principles, one among many in history”. We Christians believe in the God of Jesus; the Christian believes in the God of Jesus Christ and his desire is to grow in the living experience of His mystery of love”, Pope Francis told the 25.000 faithful present in St. Peter’s Square. Hence a final invitation: “Let us renew our commitment to remove every obstacle that prevents us from experiencing the merciful works of our Father; let us ask Him for the gift of an ever deeper faith so that we too may be signs and instruments of His mercy”.

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