VATICAN CITY (CNS) — God loves and forgives sinners but abhors and condemns “putrid” hypocrites who lead others to sin, Pope Francis said.
The pope spoke Nov. 11 during a morning Mass he celebrated in the Vatican guesthouse, where he lives.
“We should all call ourselves sinners, yes, all of us,” he said, but “not corrupt people. The corrupt man is stuck in a state of self-importance, he doesn’t know what humility is,” Pope Francis said, according to a report by Vatican Radio.
“Jesus spoke to these corrupt men of the ‘beauty of being whitewashed tombs’ (Mt 23: 27), which appear beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead bones and putrefaction,” the pope said.
“We all know someone in this situation, and how much harm they do to the church,” he said. “Corrupt Christians, corrupt priests. How much harm they do to the church, because they don’t live in the spirit of the Gospel, but in the spirit of worldliness.”
The pope took as his text the day’s Gospel reading (Lk 17:1-6), in which Jesus enjoins his disciples to forgive those who wrong them, but says of someone who leads others to sin, “it would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea.”
Pope Francis posed the question of the difference between mere sin and scandal.
“The difference is that one who sins and repents, asks forgiveness, recognizes his weakness, feels like a child of God, humbles himself and asks Jesus for salvation,” he said.
“But what is scandalous about the other?” the pope asked. “That he doesn’t repent. He continues to sin but pretends to be Christian, (he leads) a double life.”
The pope then assumed the voice of such a person, whom he imagined protesting: “‘But I am a benefactor of the church. I put my hand in my pocket and give to the church.’
“But with the other hand, he robs, from the state, from the poor,” Pope Francis said. “He is an unjust man. This is a double life.
“And this merits — Jesus says so, not I — that they put a millstone around his neck and throw him into the sea,” the pope said. “(Jesus) doesn’t talk about forgiveness here.”
Help keep Catholic media free, support CatholicPhilly.com
You may have noticed “pay walls” greeting you when you visit the websites of newspapers and magazines, both large and small. These mechanisms allow you to read a few articles for free before you’ve got to pay an annual fee if you want to see more.
You won’t find a pay wall on CatholicPhilly.com because we’re more than a news organization. We’re informing, inspiring and forming readers in the Catholic faith every day through the news, features and commentaries that we post on this site and share across social media.
It costs money to provide high-quality coverage of the local Catholic communities we primarily serve, while also distributing national and world news of interest to Catholics, plus the orthodox teachings of the Catholic faith.
Help us in this mission by making a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
or by credit card: