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Pope rips ‘hypocrisy’ of Christians who reject refugees, says proselytism is ‘venom’

October 13, 2016

Pope Francis assailed Christians who oppose the acceptance of refugees, and those who seek to convince others of the truth of their faith, in remarks to a visiting German group on October 13.

Breaking away from his prepared remarks, the Pope said told the ecumenical group that he is appalled by “the contradiction of those who want to defend Christianity in the West, and, on the other hand, are against refugees and other religions.” He also spoke of his distaste for proselytism.

“It’s not right to convince someone of your faith,” the Pope said. “Proselytism is the strongest venom against the path of ecumenism.”

The visiting German group was composed of Catholics and Lutherans, making a pilgrimage together to visit the Pope. In his prepared remarks the Holy Father described their visit as “a beautiful initative,” and remarked that Lutherans and Catholics “are journeying together on the way from conflict to communion.”

The Pope reminded the group that he would be traveling to Sweden later this month to join the World Lutheran Federation in an observance of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

 
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  • Posted by: Athelstan - Oct. 17, 2016 5:18 PM ET USA

    The Pope calls Christians who do not welcome refugees "hypocrites," citing the Beatitudes, etc. Helping the needy, the sick, etc. is not the same as letting a gang of the needy come into your home and take it over, which is what those who object to the massive influx of Muslim immigrants into Europe are objecting to. These refugees deserve our help, but not our European homelands.

  • Posted by: mgregory3311 - Oct. 16, 2016 9:56 AM ET USA

    The Church’s chief duty is ‘missionary’, coming from the lips of Our Lord, himself before his Ascension: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”(Mt 28:19-20)And since the Church is the “universal Sacrament of salvation”(Vat. II), it seems to me that there is no greater act of charity and mercy than to bring souls into the Mystical Body of Christ.

  • Posted by: feedback - Oct. 15, 2016 12:46 AM ET USA

    It would seem natural that a Vicar of Christ should care more about the martyrdom and persecution of Christians in Muslim nations than Muslim refugees to Christian nations. And I do not know of a single instance of venomous (or otherwise) Catholic proselytism that would deserve to earn the ire of the Pope, but I see more than plenty of lukewarmness.

  • Posted by: loumiamo - Oct. 14, 2016 8:27 PM ET USA

    It appears that Francis is so determined that we Catholics NOT bring others to our faith that he is doing all that he can to make sure none of us knows what faith we want others to come to.

  • Posted by: loumiamo - Oct. 14, 2016 8:26 PM ET USA

    It appears that Francis is so determined that we Catholics NOT bring others to our faith that he is doing all that he can to make sure none of us knows what faith we want others to

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Oct. 14, 2016 7:34 PM ET USA

    The Pope creates confusion again. We are not against refugees but why do all these leftist governments including our own don't help the Christian refugees. We have a right to know who is coming into our country. Open borders are not the answer as the Pope is off handing recommending. SAD INDEED.

  • Posted by: garedawg - Oct. 14, 2016 11:07 AM ET USA

    I hope that something got lost in the translation.

  • Posted by: DanS - Oct. 13, 2016 10:10 PM ET USA

    I fear The Holy Father has proven himself quite susceptible to the leftist politics of his inner circle. Lord, help us!

  • Posted by: Ken - Oct. 13, 2016 7:23 PM ET USA

    “It’s not right to convince someone of your faith,” the Pope said. What is that supposed to mean?

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Oct. 13, 2016 6:52 PM ET USA

    Actions speak louder than words, Holy Father. How about opening the doors of the Vatican to Syrian refugees? I have an idea you might feel differently if you let a few hundred or maybe a thousand or two Middle Easterners infiltrate into what is otherwise a fairly safe place.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Oct. 13, 2016 4:51 PM ET USA

    Does this mean I have to stop listening to Catholic radio stations? Or looking at catholic.com?