Full text: Pope Francis’s first homily in the Sistine Chapel


A child watches the Mass on a screen in St Peter’s Square (AP)

:tiphat: to the Catholic Herald of the UK that let Pope Francis’ Homily be the actual news instead of editing out much of it or running it through the filter of a reporter.

Here are Francis’ words (in English) from his March 14, homily. A highlight that stood out to me in this frank, straightforward and basic teaching summarized as – “Walking, building and professing (Christ),” was this unitive paragraph:

When one does not walk, one stalls. When one does not build on solid rocks, what happens? What happens is what happens to children on the beach when they make sandcastles: everything collapses, it is without consistency. When one ***does not profess ***Jesus Christ – I recall the phrase of Leon Bloy – “Whoever does not pray to God, prays to the devil.” When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil.

– Pope Francis, 3/14/2013 *

  • Emphases in the above paragraph are mine - as I read the stressed points.

It might be me, but despite the populist simplicity of the address - I thought I detected some Newtonian philosophy in Pope Francis’ homily.

To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction.

Isaac Newton

Or maybe it’s a bit of CS Lewis …

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point.”
C.S. Lewis

And since our new Holy Father took the name of Francis … the words of Christ’s (interior) apparition to St. Francis of Assisi at the beginning of his ministry come to mind.

“Francis, go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down.” — St. Francis’ account of what Jesus told him at the ruined chapel of San Damiano outside of Assisi.

That Francis began humbly, rebuilding the little chapel brick by brick … then venturing to Rome when Church authority was concerned that too many were joining Francis’ unofficial ministry.


Sleeping on a bed, (Pope Innocent III) saw himself with a tiara on his head. The Lateran Basilica, a church, was tilted to one particular side at an angle, dangerously close to collapse. But in his dream, a little beggar, a monk, leaned against the pillars of the church with his shoulder. And this little mud-covered man wearing rags held up the Church and kept it from collapsing. The man, Pope Innocent IIIrd said, was Francis.

Movement: walking, building, professing (Christ!) - how appropriate a first message from the first Pope named Francis. :slight_smile:

I detect the erosion of interfaith relations when the Pope says that non-Christians are basically devil worshipers. How is that unitive? I hope he’s more careful with his choice of words or much of the hard work of John Paul II will have been for naught.

My somewhat out-of-context pop out quote might have misled you. Mea culpa. :blushing:

I didn’t get NON-CHRISTIANS at all there. I got “everybody”. When Catholics cease to pray to Jesus … they stop their walk, and stop building, as well as stop worshipping … and something else takes its place. That is, God loses first place and a false god takes that place.

I felt Francis was speaking to ME (and not so much to “non-Christians” at all) – even though the Church’s message is an invitation to all.

I related what Pope Francis was saying - to this instruction of Jesus. Jesus warns those who THINK they belong to Him (and don’t … because of “evil doing”) to be careful.

**Matthew 7:16 ** By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

17 Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.

19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

20 So by their fruits you will know them.

21 "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’

23 Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’

That evildoing Jesus warned against would be akin to worshipping Satan – and can even negate past “good doing” as this passage shows. Conversely (and this was not what Francis addressed THIS time IMO) Jesus said:

Matt 25:34 Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,

36 naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’

37 Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?

38 When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?

39 When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’

40 And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

***Maybe by “being unitive” you have in mind these good people (?) – who seem to be as surprised to be saved as some of the rejected are to be in the goat line? Both call Him Lord … so that knowledge and profession (at least at that point … judgement) … doesn’t seem to matter. Whereas “Love of neighbor” does. ***

I do not think Francis spoke against that at all. Nor was he singling out non-Catholic faiths as being “worshipping the devil” IMO. His general statements are true. When we (thinking of Catholics here mainly … but we humans in a larger sense) commit a mortal sin - it is a turn against God and to the devil (whatever our score on a Theology test might be or whatever sacraments and graces we’d received up until then).

Pope Francis will probably make very direct entreaties to “other faiths” including (perhaps starting with) other Christians. He can’t really jettison truth to seek a “lowest common denominator” Christianity in the name of a unity of Christian mediocrity. Nor go so far as to elevate every “spiritual philosophy” others may subscribe to as being the moral equivalent of the Jesus established Church.

What he will do I think is to head toward Christ as a good Shepherd and call all to follow.
And as for other sheep joining the flock or approaching it (or conversely the Shepherds’ beckoning to “other sheep” to join us on our journey to Jesus and heaven) this scripture is among those that will guide him:

Phillipians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

And he’ll probably adopt an attitude toward unity with other Christians (first of all) that is
similar to his predecessor. Cardinal Ratzinger (before becoming Benedict XVI) wrote (per inter-religious dialog) that:

  • Dialog with other branches of Christianity and with other religions is part of the RCC’s mission of evangelizing the world. AND that

  • Dialog implies the equality of the dignity of the individuals taking part – not the equality of their various beliefs and practices.

So there’ll be outreach towards unity but not a compromising of the faith.


The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.

Oh come on. This is a terrible post

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