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Faith without prayer becomes ideology, Pope warns

October 17, 2013

Christians who do no pray risk descending into an ideological version of faith, Pope Francis warned a congregation at morning Mass on October 17. And when one becomes “a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith.”

Commenting on a Gospel in which Jesus denounced the Pharisees, the Pope spoke about the danger of a dry and unloving approach to faith. “The faith passes through a distiller, so to speak, and becomes ideology,” he said. Ideology “chases away the people,” the Pope said, and—like the Pharisees—imposes burdens on ordinary people that tend to distance them from the faith.

The Pope said that the influence of “ideological Christians” is a “serious illness” in the Church.

Speaking of Christians who make it difficult for others to enter the Church, Pope Francis said: “When we go down the street and find ourselves in front of a closed church, it feels strange.” There are reasons—or “excuses, justifications”—for keeping churches closed, he said, but the result is ‘the image of Christians who have the key in their hand, but take it away without opening the door.”

“The key that opens the door to faith is prayer,” the Pope said. A Christian who does not pray is an “arrogant witness,” likely to drive others away from the Church.

Again referring to the Pharisees, the Pope cautioned: “I say to pray. I do not say to ‘say prayers,’ because these teachers of the law said many prayers.”


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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Oct. 19, 2013 10:29 AM ET USA

    So far as "liberation" theology and other idealoligies, I think this Pope knows what he is doing, and about the "locked" Church door, Francis is exactly right. JP