uring his homily at Mass in the chapel of Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis warned of the danger of “becoming a disciple of ideology” which he said can lead one to lose their faith. The Holy Father based his homily on today’s Gospel which recounts Christ’s warning to the scholars of the law.
“When we go down the path and find in front of us a closed Church, we feel strange because a closed Church is not understood,” the Pope said. “The Lord who is inside cannot come out.” This image of the closed Church, he explained, is given by Jesus in today’s Gospel. The Holy Father also explained why many Christians fall into this “attitude of ‘key in pocket’ and closed door.”
“Faith passes, so to speak, through an alembic (distillery) and becomes an ideology. And ideology does not convene. In ideology there is no Jesus: his tenderness, love, meekness. And ideologies are always rigid,” the Pope said.
“In every sense: rigid. And when a Christian becomes a disciple of ideology, they have lost the faith: they are no more a disciple of Jesus, they are a disciple of this attitude of thought, of this…” And for this reason Jesus says to them: ‘You have taken away the key of knowledge’. The knowledge of Jesus is transformed into an ideological and also moralistic knowledge, because these closed the door with so many requirements.”
The Holy Father continued his homily saying that ideology within the Church only serves to alienate people. “These Christian ideologies are a grave sickness!” he exclaimed. However, he noted, this sickness is not something that is relatively new, but spoken of by the apostles, particularly St. John, during the time of the early Church.
“Christians who lose the faith and prefer ideology become rigid, moralists, ethicists, but without goodness. But this may be the question, no? Why does a Christian become that way? What happens in the heart of that Christian, that priest, of that bishop, of that Pope, that makes them that way. It is simply one thing: that Christian does not pray. And if there is no prayer, you will always close the door.”
Emphasizing the importance of prayer in Christian life, the 76 year old pontiff, saying that without it, a Christian witness becomes a witness full of pride. Ideological Christians, he said, become proud, sure of themselves and lacking humility. The Holy Father however made the distinction of true prayer and the mere recitation of prayers, a distinction made by Christ who rebuked the doctors of the law who prayed so as to be seen. “It is one thing to pray and another to recite prayers,” the Pope said.
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to ask the Lord for several graces in avoiding this ideological path. “First, to not cease to pray, to not lose faith, to remain humble. So that we will not become closed, which closes the path to the Lord.”