Pope Francis: You Can Recognize False Christians by Their ‘Inflexibility’

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    There is no shortage of preachers today who, especially through the new means of communication, “disturb communities,” the pope said during his weekly General Audience. “They present themselves not primarily to announce the Gospel of God who loves man in Jesus, Crucified and Risen, but to insist, as true ‘keepers of the truth' — so they call themselves — on the best way to be Christians.”

    This sort of people “strongly affirm that the true Christianity is the one they adhere to, often identified with certain forms of the past, and that the solution to the crises of today is to go back so as not to lose the genuineness of the faith,” Francis said.

    As he has done on numerous occasions, the pope warned against conservative Christians who cling to past traditions and do not accept the freedom the gospel offers.

    Today “there is a temptation to close oneself up in some of the certainties acquired in past traditions,” the pontiff said. “But how can we recognise these people? For example, one of the traces of this way of proceeding is inflexibility.”

    “Faced with the preaching of the Gospel that makes us free, that makes us joyful, these people are rigid,” he said. “Always the rigidity: you must do this, you must do that… Inflexibility is typical of these people.”

    The Apostle Paul indicated the way forward is “the liberating and ever-new path of Jesus, Crucified and Risen,” Francis said.

    It is “the path of proclamation, which is achieved through humility and fraternity — the new preachers do not know what humility is, what fraternity is,” he asserted.

    “It is the path of meek and obedient trust — the new preachers know neither meekness nor obedience,” he concluded. “And this meek and obedient way leads forward in the certainty that the Holy Spirit works in the Church in every age.”

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