Those who don’t truly repent and only pretend to be Christian are damaging the Church.
These were the words of Pope Francis at Mass on Monday morning in the Vatican’s Santa Marta.
Pope Francis focused his homily on the Lord’s exhortation to forgive our brothers and sisters who have sinned. Jesus, he said, never tired of forgiving, and neither should we.
As the Gospel says, if our brother wrongs us seven times in one day, and repents every time, we should forgive him.
However, Pope Francis warned, there is difference between being a sinner and being corrupt. Those who sin and repent, who ask for forgiveness, are humble before the Lord. But those who continue to sin, while pretending to be Christian, lead a double life, they are corrupt.
A Christian who is a benefactor, Pope Francis said, who gives to the Church with one hand, but steals with the other hand from the country, from the poor, is unjust. And Jesus says:
“It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea”.
This is because, the Pope explained, that person is deceitful, and “where there is deceit, the Spirit of God cannot be”.
“We should all call ourselves sinners”, Pope Francis said, but those who are corrupt do not understand humility. Jesus called them whitewashed tombs: they appear beautiful, from the outside, but inside they are full of dead bones and putrefaction.
And a Christian who boasts about being Christian, but does not lead a Christian life, is corrupt.We all know such people, Pope Francis said, and they damage the Church because they don’t live in the spirit of the Gospel, but in the spirit of worldliness. St Paul in his letter to the Romans clearly urges them not to enter into the framework, into the mentality of worldliness, because it leads to this double life.
The corrupt life is a “varnished putrefaction”, Pope Francis said. Jesus did not say that those who are corrupt are sinners, but he said they’re hypocrites. Let us ask the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis concluded, for the grace to admit that we are sinners, but not corrupt.