Pope Francis warned two Vatican offices attending his morning Mass against being hypocrites, stating it makes everyone “bad.”
“We think about the hypocrisy in the Church and how bad it makes all of us,” the Bishop of Rome told members of the Congregation of Bishops and of the Pontifical Council of the Family June 19.
“These do not know beauty, they do not know love, these do not know the truth. They are small, cowardly.”
He celebrated the Mass at the Saint Martha House alongside the heads of the Congregation and the Council, which include Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia and Bishop Jean Lafitte.
The pontiff based his homily on the Gospel of the day, Matthew 6, in which Christ criticizes the scribes and Pharisees for proclaiming their good deeds to the world.
“They have no sense of beauty, they achieve only the beauty of a museum,” said Pope Francis.
“They are intellectuals without talent, ethicists without goodness, the bearers of museum beauty,” he added. “These are the hypocrites that Jesus rebukes so strongly.”
He explained that in the Gospel, Jesus speaks about fasting, prayer and almsgiving, which the Pope called “the three pillars of Christian piety and interior conversion.”
“There are even hypocrites along this path, who make a show of fasting, of giving alms, of praying.”
“I think that when hypocrisy reaches this point in the relation with God, we are coming very close to sin against the Holy Spirit.”
Those who impose “so many precepts on the faithful,” he said, are “hypocrites of casuistry, intellectuals without talent who don’t have the intelligence to find God, to explain God with understanding.”
They thereby prevent themselves and others from entering into the kingdom of God, he said.
“They are ethicists without goodness; they do not know what goodness is, but they are ethicists, aren’t they?” he told the members of the two Vatican offices.
“You have to do this, and this, and this,” said the Pope. “They fill you with precepts, but without goodness.”
He noted “those are some of the phylacteries, of the tassels they lengthen, so many things, to make a pretense of being majestic, perfect, they have no sense of beauty.”
“All of us also have grace, the grace that comes from Jesus Christ, the grace of joy, the grace of magnanimity, of largesse,” he underscored.
“Hypocrites do not know what joy is, what largesse is, what magnanimity is,” he stressed.
The Roman Pontiff then advised them to imitate the publican who prayed with humble simplicity, “have mercy on me, O Lord, a sinner.”
“This is the prayer we should say every day, knowing that we are sinners, but with concrete sins, not theoretical sins.”
“And this prayer will help us to take the opposite road.”