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Pope says faith is not decoration but calls for involvement



August 19, 2013 - "Jesus is our peace, He is our reconciliation! But this peace is not neutrality, it is not compromise at all costs. Following Jesus means renouncing evil, selfishness and choosing good, truth, and justice, even when it requires sacrifice and the renunciation of one's own interests". This was the advice of Pope Francis to a large crowd in Rome’s St Peter's Square on Sunday, prior to reciting his weekly ‘Angelus’ prayer at noon. Speaking from the window of the papal apartment overlooking the square he commented on Jesus’ remarks in Sunday’s Gospel, where he said he came not to establish peace on the earth but division. "Faith,” the Pope pointed out, “is not a decoration, as if it were simply the icing on the cake!" "Faith involves choosing God as a basic criterion for life, and God is not empty, it is not neutral, God is love.” He explained that after the coming of Jesus, God has a name and a face – God is mercy, faithfulness, life-giving, peace, reconciliation. Following Jesus means renouncing evil, selfishness and choosing good, truth, justice, even when it requires sacrifice and renunciation of one's own interests. Explaining further, the Pope said Jesus does not authorize the use of force to spread the faith. The true strength of the Christian is the power of truth and love, which involves renouncing all violence. “Faith and violence are incompatible,” Pope Francis repeated twice for emphasis. “The Christian is not violent, but he is strong with the force of love.” After the “Angelus’ prayer, the Pope added, "Remember, following Jesus is not being neutral, it means getting involved, because faith is not a decoration, it is the strength of the soul." The Holy Father urged prayers for the victims and families of the ferry disaster in Cebu, the Philippines, on Friday which left at least 50 dead and 70 missing. The Pope had already sent a condolence message to Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu on Saturday.




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