Catholics urged to avoid religious hypocrisy and pride

Pope Francis on religious hypocrisy

During a special 24-hour event called “24 Hours for the Lord”, Pope Francis has urged the faithful to avoid religious hypocrisy and to being overly spiritual.

In his sermon, the pope criticised those who consider themselves better than others because they follow religious rules but lack a genuine relationship with God.

“Let us not hide behind the hypocrisy of appearances, but entrust to the Lord’s mercy our darkness, our mistakes, our wretchedness,” he said, saying confession bridges the distance between God and the failures of one’s daily life.

The 24-hour event is held annually during Lent to encourage Catholics to go to confession. Parishes worldwide were encouraged to offer more confession times to increase the number of Catholics taking advantage of the sacrament.

Francis has often insisted that those who are humble and acknowledge their own sins are the ones who are closest to God, rather than the people who appear to be spiritually superior or elite.

He told the faithful gathered to come to God with a true awareness of their own weakness.

In his homily, Pope Francis criticised “clean” Catholics who feel justified and secure of their salvation because they attend mass and participate in parish life.

With this mentality, it’s “me, me, me,” the pope said, telling the faithful present to ask themselves, “how many times do I think I’m better than others?”

God is waiting for people at their lowest point

The Pope drew on a parable from the Gospel of Luke to illustrate his point about the dangers of religious pride. In the parable, a Pharisee and a tax collector visit a temple to pray. The Pharisee appears to pray to God, but masks his weaknesses in hypocrisy, while the tax collector stands back and admits his sinfulness to God. According to Pope Francis, the tax collector’s attitude allowed him to experience God’s love.

Pope Francis urged followers to consider their own attitudes towards others, asking whether they think they are better than others and whether they look at others with contempt.

The Pope ended his homily with a reminder that God is waiting for people at their lowest point because He is not afraid to touch the wounds of the flesh, embrace poverty and failures in life, and help people through their weaknesses and negligence.


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