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Pope Francis: Catholics must think like Christ

By on Thursday, 11 April 2013

Pope Francis in St Peter's Square (AP)

Pope Francis in St Peter's Square (AP)

A Christian isn’t a person who simply follows some commandments, but is a person who tries to act, think and love like Christ, Pope Francis said at his weekly general audience.

More than 30,000 people gathered in St Peter’s Square for the audience on Wednesday. The crowd included a group whose presence Pope Francis described as “very important”: directors of Argentina’s San Lorenzo de Almagro football club, the team he has supported since he was a child.

At the end of the audience, Pope Francis prayed for the victims of an earthquake that struck southern Iran earlier this week, killing more than 37 people and injuring hundreds. “I pray for the victims and express my closeness to the populations struck by this calamity. Let us pray for all these brothers and sisters of ours in Iran,” he said.

In his main audience address, the Pope continued a series of audience talks that Pope Benedict XVI had begun for the Year of Faith, reflecting on basic Christian beliefs.

Being a Christian, he said, means allowing Jesus “to take possession of our lives and change them, transform them, free us from the darkness of evil and sin.” Jesus’ death and resurrection has a practical impact on believers, “just like a house built on a foundation; if this gives out, then the whole house falls,” he added.

Through the resurrection, the Pope explained, “we are freed from slavery to sin and become children of God.”

Being a child of God, a believer, isn’t something Christians can set in a corner of the room and ignore most of the time. It implies a relationship with God that is deepened daily through prayer, reading the Bible, receiving the sacraments “especially penance and the Eucharist” and through acts of charity, he said. “And God treats us like sons and daughters. He understands us, forgives us, embraces us and loves us even when we make mistakes.”

The Pope told those at the audience not to listen to voices that try to tell them that God doesn’t matter or give in to the temptation of “putting God aside and ourselves at the center.”

Peace and joy come from knowing one is loved by God, he added. “God is our strength. God is our hope.”

Pope Francis said sadness and the temptation of despair is strong in today’s world, so Christians have an obligation to be “visible, clear, brilliant signs of hope.”

“How many times in our lives have our hopes been dashed? How many times have the expectations we carried in our hearts not been realised? Christian hope is strong, certain, solid on this earth that God has called us to walk on and is open to eternity, because this hope is built on God who is always faithful,” he said.

Unlike at his previous general audiences, Pope Francis read a summary of his main talk in Spanish, rather than having an aide do so. He stuck fairly close to the prepared text, adding just a couple of phrases to emphasise God’s fidelity and the Christians’ call to a new life “because through baptism we, too, are risen with Christ.”

Among those present at the audience were Italian employees of the financially troubled IDI Healthcare, which is run by the Sons of the Immaculate Conception. In February Pope Benedict entrusted the leadership of the religious order to Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, and in early April Italian police arrested Father Franco Decaminda, who ran the order’s hospital in Rome, accusing him of misappropriating more than $5 million.

The employees of the hospital have not been paid in months. Greeting them at the audience, Pope Francis said, “I hope that a positive solution to such a difficult situation can be found soon.”

  • Magnifimog

    Wise words again from the Holy Father. We Christians do seem to spend an inordinate amount of time bickering amongst ourselves; looking to Christ within the sacraments is one of the best ways to see the bigger picture, and show it to others too.

  • jsmappy

    He is neither Holy nor anyone’s father. Of course, Catholics are more concerned with what the Pope says than w/ what God says, so we are never taken by surprise. There are words in between the covers of the Bible………

    “Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Mt 23:8

    “The Spirit clearly says that in latter times some people will turn away from the faith. They will pay attention to spirits that deceive and to the teaching of demons. 2 They will be controlled by the pretense of lying, and their own consciences will be seared. 3 They will prohibit marriage and eating foods that God created—and he intended them to be accepted with thanksgiving by those who are faithful and have come to know the truth. 1 Tim 4

  • Believer

    The Church is more than the Catholic Church, it is an entity of those who repent of their sins to Jesus Christ who died on the cross at Calvary. What the pope said is true, but the ministry of Christ goes much deeper, like the Great Commission as expressed in Matthew 28. Folks, we are living in the last days, Jesus is the only way to Heaven, not Allah or some other ficticious god. Christ has revealed His true identity by way of the Bible, and nature (His creation). We live in a world that is fallen. We all fall short of God’s standard, which is Holy. That is why we need Jesus in order to bridge that gap of sin. He took all our sins to the cross with him so that we may have eternal life with Him. If you do not repent of your sins, the outcome is not desirable. What the pope teaches is admirable, but he does not teach the true message of Christianity. And that is salvation through the blood of Christ that washes away our sins. Again, as Matthew 24 and other books in the Bible teaches, we have but a very short time before the antichrist appears and confirms a 7 year convenant with Israel-Daniel 9:27. If you think you are safe in this world without Christ, look around you at the things going on. Read Romans 10:9.

  • Magnifimog

    Thanks for just proving my point. Res ipsa loquitur…

  • Luke

    In what way do you act which is misunderstood by those around you, those closest to you, or those who are your enemies? If there is something you do for another person do you not find it agrivating that someone else does not understand it? For instance, do you not find it difficult to bear when others mock you and scorn you for a word of kindness you give to your father? Likewise, I find it agrivating that you speak with knowledge but not understanding. Call no man your father upon the earth, yes this is true. This is why it must be understood that the priesthood is not a fatherhood of men, but a participating in the fatherhood of God through Christ his only begotten son. Therefore it is not the person, the man, to whom we address the title father, but to the one who he represents on earth through the rite of ordination. And while some may object to such a rite, or to the titles that are given with it as befitting one who participates in the power of God to forgive sins, celebrate the eucharist, wittness marrigages, or baptise children, these things must be understood in Christ first and foremost. You are right to say that we read between the covers, but you have a poor translation.

    Moreover, your quoteing of Timothy is off the mark, since your meaning is ambiguious. One cannot merely quote scripture and say nothing on the context of the matter, since many people may see the same quotation and infer different points. It is what the German Idealists would have called “the common sense approach”, a thing deplored by those who seek to cultivate the mind and not accept the current fashion of what each district, country, or state believed to be “common sense.”

    The quotation is a mark against the perscriptions of those who were Christians of Jewish decent. There was controversy over whether the law was to be carried over in full, or whether or not they were to allow certain customs of the gentiles (such as the eating of food, or the marriage between close of kin) to be allowed. Paul is particularly vehement against these things because Peter and Paul disagreed on this point; Paul for theological reasons, Peter for pastoral reasons. The outcome of the matter is of little importance however in the current discussions, since you have not linked your statements in any meaningful way other than “block scripting” (a disproval method of making ones point in the medieval ages still practiced today by many college students) from a misapropriated text.

    That he is holy is another matter of debate, and can be answered in the same way as the previous matter concerning the title “father”. That the Pope is considered holy follows from the believe that he is meant to be a model to us, who are the model of the father’s children; though some Pope’s have failed miserably in this, refusing to accept the grace of God and working by the means of man to attain success, you have given no reason why Pope Francis should be counted among them, since you merely state that he is unholy and give no analysis of the Christian understanding of holy as it is applied to him (see previous argument concerning father).

    By such an understanding, and only by such an understanding, may what you say have any merrit since by it you may legitimately say what you see cannot be the case. But even then you must list reasons for your opinions, else your statements are little more than rants. Further, you must be willing to listen to your oponents, else it will be clear that your intentions are merely self justification and not the betterment of the social system in which you live.

  • James Callender

    “. What the pope teaches is admirable, but he does not teach the true
    message of Christianity. And that is salvation through the blood of
    Christ that washes away our sins.”
    What planet are you on? This is a Catholic website, not an Evangelical one.
    Devout and well cathecised Catholics will recognise the lies of the Reformation which you are spouting in the usual anti-Catholic rhetoric.

    “Bible believing” Christians do not understand the true message of Christianity because the fullness of Christian truth can only be found in the Church which Christ established, based in Rome. Coming out with stuff like “The Church is more than the Catholic Church” is utterly and patently false. There is NO other church than the Catholic Church and the church is a visible reality here on earth not some vacuous priesthood of believers, invisible church nonsense. There is no salvation outside the Church, and I am afraid to say all non-Catholics are not in the Church. The Catholic Church is THE one and only genuine Church of Christ and is universal…hence it is impossible for there to be any true Christianity outside it, by definition…!

  • James Callender

    Oh dear we have got the usual schoolboy Bible interpretation errors from the anti-Catholic camps!… Usual ignorance of the Bible.

  • Benny U

    Very simple message , a true evangelist and example to follow… Gracias amado papa!

  • Benny U.

    Typical fundamentalist . Take your protestant venom somewhere else!

  • TheBlueWarrior

    John 6:53-55: Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat
    the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in
    you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I
    will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my
    blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains
    in me, and I in them.” . . . 66 From this time many of his disciples
    turned back and no longer followed him.

  • Neocat

    Without defending “believers” miopic view of Catholic teaching, I have to point out that your views on the one true Church and the possible destiny of those outside it do not correspond with The Catchecism of the Catholic Church.

  • Kevin

    “a person who tries to act, think and love like Christ”

    The persecution of Catholics in this country involves attacking this very ideal.

    In employment, business law, medical law, education, the interpretation of “generally accepted standards” by standards bodies, and in central and local government policy and judicial policy, deliberate steps have been taken to put extreme economic and social pressure on Catholics to deny Christ through their (limited) life choices.

    The only defence against this onslaught is for Catholics to take it seriously and make individual and collective choices, however small, to defeat the ambitions of its perpetrators at every single turn.

  • d clark

    Are we going to have THIS fight AGAIN!

  • d clark

    Technically speaking, virtually all fundamentalists are NOT protestant. They don’t come from the ‘protesting’ denominations. They are just crazy!

  • YahwehSabbathFollower

    Church? I thought our relationship with God and Jesus Christ is a personal one to one relationship? The ‘church’ these days is more corrupt than the Italian mafia! Gods begotten son was sent, crucified, died and rose again for ANYONE who wants to know him not just “Catholics” sheer none sense!

  • YahwehSabbathFollower

    Oh please! So you take the eating of flesh and drinking of blood in a literal sense? Then in that case you really need to find your saviour!

  • Henry

    James, James! Didn’t you read the message? What anti-Catholics camps? The Pope is talking about being a CHRISTIAN! We can all be CHRISTIANS; we do not ALL have to be CATHOLICS to do so. THAT, THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE, James!

  • JC

    About Steve Jobs and Pope Francis

  • Henry

    Was what he said? Is that what occurred? Didn’t you read the follow on “66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him”. Where did that come from?

  • Henry

    As a christian I suppose.


    Those who have an ear to hear will hear…woe to those who are deaf and blind to the Truth…they deny the Truth of God and embrace lies…

  • Peter

    Perhaps that part of the world’s Christians who are not Catholic or Orthodox should think more like Christ when it comes to his real corporeal presence in the bread and wine. What was Christ thinking of in Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John?

    The disciples walked away from him because they had understood his call to eat his flesh and drink his blood to be literal, and they would not accept it. Christ was well aware of why they had walked away, because they had said so earlier, but instead of calling them back and explaining that it was only symbolic, he invited his apostles to walk away also.

    Such was the truth of what he had said – to literally eat his flesh and drink his blood – that he was prepared to let everyone abandon him rather than deny that truth. He was prepared to abandon his entire ministry, the reason for his Incarnation, rather than deny that truth.

    This was the pivotal moment of his ministry, the make or break situation. St Peter could have walked away together with the other apostles, effectively ending Christ’s ministry, but he chose to stay. St Peter believed in the literal words of Christ, and just as he believed so too do the successors of St Peter in Rome believe.

    What was Christ thinking at that moment when he handed the entire future of his ministry to Peter? Was he worried that they would walk away? Of course not, he knew that Peter and the others would accept his literal words because he himself had chosen them as his apostles, just as he continues to choose the successors of Peter who continue to believe his literal words.

    Perhaps if that large part of Christianity which does not believe in the real corporeal presence were to think a little more like Christ, who was prepared to have everyone abandon him for the sake of that truth, they would be more inclined to accept it and, in doing so, come to realise that it currently lies with the Bishop of Rome, the successor of St Peter.

  • andHarry

    It’s the difference between the the church of the wise and
    learned, and the church of the ‘little children’ who are led by the Holy

    Luke 10:21. At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit,
    said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have
    hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to
    little children (or ‘little ones’). Yes, Father, for this is what you
    were pleased to do.”

  • Erin Pascal

    Beautiful message from our Pope. The message was simple yet means so much. Thank you for sharing this article. It was inspiring and a very good read. May God bless you!

  • andHarry

    The ‘little ones’ relish surprises.

  • Guest

    so what do you call your mother’s husband or partner?

  • Lucio46

    At the end of the day the Church is Catholic while outside the world opinions are constantly changing causing chaos and leading people astray into all kinds of aberrations since they are unstable their influence is like a rolling earthquake causing destruction and confusion while the Church remains steadfast. Thanks be to God!

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    “Being a child of God, a believer, isn’t something Christians can set in a
    corner of the room and ignore most of the time. It implies a
    relationship with God that is deepened daily through prayer, reading the
    Bible, receiving the sacraments “especially penance and the Eucharist”
    and through acts of charity, he said.”

    A BEAUTIFUL programme of life for those who want to be True Christians.

    Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    “Pope Francis said sadness and the temptation of despair is strong in
    today’s world, so Christians have an obligation to be “visible, clear,
    brilliant signs of hope.”

    This is problem of “sadness…….despair” is solved only when we give first place to knowing Jesus the Lord through his Word and following him truthfully.

    Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    “…..and in early April Italian police arrested Father Franco Decaminda, who
    ran the order’s hospital in Rome, accusing him of misappropriating more
    than $5 million.”

    Unless we get rid of Priests (without any distinction) and Religious who live within the provisions of the Church only for money and the rest of what it brings them, to live a life in which God and the World are combined and the best of BOTH the WORLD are enjoyed through the SPIRIT OF the “CLEVER AND THE LEARNED”, the Church will not find itself doing the Work the Son of God.

    Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

  • Dr Falk


  • Dr Falk

    Dear James,
    Are you saying that anyone who dies outside visible membership with the Catholic Church is damned?