Pope: Unforgiving Christians cause scandal, damage faith

Pope: Unforgiving Christians cause scandal, damage faith

Pope Francis leads the Bishops of Italy in a solemn Profession of Faith in St. Peter's Basilica for their 65th General Assembly May 23, 2013. Credit: Stephen Drsicoll/CNA.
Pope Francis leads the Bishops of Italy in a solemn Profession of Faith in St. Peter's Basilica for their 65th General Assembly May 23, 2013. Credit: Stephen Drsicoll/CNA.

.- A Christian who causes scandal destroys the faith and a Christian who does not forgive causes scandal – but it is only through the gift of faith that these challenges can be overcome, Pope Francis said.

These three themes – the causing of scandal, the need for forgiveness, and faith – were at the center of the Pope's homily during morning Mass at the Santa Marta residence on Nov. 10.

“Scandal,” the Pope said, drawing his reflection from Luke's Gospel and the Letter of Paul to Titus, “is to say and profess a way of life – 'I am Christian' – and then to live as a pagan, who believes in nothing.”

A Christian who goes to Church at his or her parish, without living as a Christian, is causing scandal, the Pope said. “How often have we heard: I don't go to Church...because it is better to be honest at home and not go,” than to be as those “who go to Church and then do this, this, this.”

“Scandal destroys, destroys the faith!” he said. This is why Jesus calls on Christians to remain attentive, “because we are all capable of scandalizing”.

Pope Francis also stressed the importance of forgiveness, for “a Christian who is not able to forgive scandalizes: he is not Christian.”

The concept of forgiving as we ourselves are forgiven, taught in the Our Father, is not one which can be understood by human logic, the Pope said. Rather than leading to forgiveness, the approach of “human logic” veers towards revenge, hate, and division.

Lamenting the many families divided by the lack of forgiveness, he stressed the importance if knowing that,

“If I do not forgive,” he said, “I do not have the right – it seems – to be forgiven,” and do not understand what it means to have been forgiven by God.

The third theme of Pope Francis' homily touched on the importance of faith. In order to not cause scandal, and to be “always forgiving,” the Pope said, faith is necessary.

This is only through “the faith of a merciful Father, of a Son Who gave his life for us, of a Spirit who is within us and helps us to grow, faith in the Church, faith in God's people, baptized, holy.”

Faith does not come from books or from attending conferences, Pope Francis said. Rather, “faith is a gift of God which comes to you.” This is why the apostles asked Jesus: “Increase our faith!”

Tags: Pope Francis