Catholic World News

Pope rebukes the hardhearted who condemn others

May 03, 2017

In his homily at daily Mass in Domus Sanctae Marthae on May 2, Pope Francis reflected on the martyrdom of St. Stephen.

In doing so, the Pope contrasted the open hearts of the disciples on the road to Emmaus with the hardened hearts of those who stoned St. Stephen.

“This causes suffering in the Church,” the Pope preached. “The closed hearts, the hearts of stone, the hearts which do not want to be open, do not want to hear, the hearts which only know the language of condemnation.”

The Pope added:

Today, we look at the tenderness of Jesus, the witness of obedience, that great witness, Jesus, who has given life, which makes us look for the tenderness of God, confronting us, our sins, our weaknesses.

Let us enter this dialogue and let us call for the grace of the Lord which softens the rigid hearts of those people who are always closed in the law and condemn all who are outside the law. They do not know that the Word became flesh, that the Word is a witness to obedience. They do not know the tenderness of God and his ability to take out the heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh.

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  • Posted by: rangefar6681 - May. 03, 2017 10:31 PM ET USA

    Who on earth is the Holy Father referring to here? How is it that those who are faithful to the Magisterium and the Code of Canon Law appear virtually automatically, without evidence, to be judged as rigid, possessed of hearts of stone, and condemning? Indeed, it would appear that the Pope thinks that lack of mercy is a necessary concomitant of faithfulness to the Church's teaching.

  • Posted by: DanS - May. 03, 2017 6:11 PM ET USA

    I love the Holy Father's invocation of "obedience." Ironic, no?! One might have phrased the lede: "Pope condemns those who condemn."

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - May. 03, 2017 1:01 PM ET USA

    The cited article refers to the rigid hearts with an example from Acts 7: "Stephen had called them 'circumcised of heart,' which was the equivalent of calling someone a pagan." But this is backwards. Moses, St. Stephen, and St. Paul all concurred that it is the _uncircumcised_ of heart who are the rigid ones. "Circumcision of the heart" means obedience to God. For Moses this meant obedience to the law; for St. Paul and for us it means obedience to Christ and to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.