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Pope Francis: Scandal kills, and Jesus’ teachings are Christianity, not communism

Also: the pope, in his homily at Mass on Thursday morning, says that all the Christian apologetics in the world won't convince an unbeliever to believe -- but living a genuine Christian life can.

Also: the pope, in his homily at Mass on Thursday morning, says that all the Christian apologetics in the world won’t convince an unbeliever to believe — but living a genuine Christian life can.

In other words, practice what you preach. What a concept!

As he did in decrying the weapons industry earlier this week, Francis used as his first reference point another powerful selection from the New Testament Letter of James, in which the apostle blasts the wealthy, warning them of a terrible judgment to come for exploiting their workers:

You have stored up treasure for the last days.
Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers
who harvested your fields are crying aloud;
and the cries of the harvesters
have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.

Says Francis:

“The Lord is very strong here. If someone hears this they might think: ‘But a communist said this!’ No, no, the apostle James said this! It is the word of the Lord. It is about inconsistency. When a Christian is not consistent and lives with this inconsistency they create a scandal. And Christians who do not live consistent Christian lives make a scandal.”

Francis then pointed to the Gospel reading from Mark and the well-known passage in which Jesus prophesies all manner of punishments for those lead others astray:

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.”

“Inconsistent Christians do so much evil,” the pope said. “Scandal kills.” He continued:

“If you find yourself in front of an atheist … and he tells you that he doesn’t believe in God, you can read him an entire library of books that say they prove that God exists, and you can even prove that God exists, and he will not have faith.”

“But if before this atheist you give the witness of a consistent Christian life, something will begin to work in his heart.”

Here is the original Italian text.

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