-- ZENIT.org News Agency
Pope Francis: 'Faith and Violence Are Incompatible'
Prays for Victims of Violence in Egypt, Ferry Disaster in Philippines
By Junno Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY, August 19, 2013 (Zenit.org) - During his weekly Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis called on the faithful to look to God for strength in times of turmoil. The Holy Father's remarks come at turbulent time in the world where violence rages on in Egypt and a ferry disaster claimed the lives of more than 50 people in the Philippines.
The Holy Father reflected on the words of Christ in Sunday's Gospel that he said needed to be explained "so that they are not misunderstood." The Gospel of Luke recounted Jesus telling his disciples: "Did you think that I came to bring peace to the earth? No, I say to you, I came to bring division" (Luke 12:51).
"What does this mean? It means that the faith is not something decorative, ornamental; living the faith is not decorating life with a little religion, as if life were a pie and faith like the whipped cream that you use to decorate it," the Pope explained. "No, faith is not this. Faith entails choosing God as the basic criterion for life, and God is not empty, God is not neutral, God is always positive, God is love, and love is positive!"
The Pope continued saying that it is not Christ who intends to divide men against each other, rather the choice to follow Jesus may divide us "even from the closest bonds."
"Following Jesus means rejecting evil, egoism, and choosing the good, truth, justice, even when that requires sacrifice and renunciation of our own interests," the Holy Father said. "And, yes, this divides."
The Holy Father also reminded the faithful that the Gospel in no way authorizes the use of force in spreading the faith, saying that the true force of Christians "is the force of truth and love"
"Faith and violence are incompatible! Faith and violence are incompatible!," he exclaimed. "But faith and strength go together. The Christian is not violent, but he strong. And with what strength? That of meekness, the force of meekness, the force of love."
Following the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father lead the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square in praying for the violent situation occurring in Egypt, where hundreds have died and numerous Christian Churches were looted, vandalized and burnt to the ground.
"Let us continue to pray for peace in Egypt. All together: Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!" the Holy Father told the faithful.
The Holy Father also prayed for the victims of a tragic disaster that occurred in the Central Port of Cebu, where a passenger ferry collided with a cargo ship on Friday night, killing over 50 people.
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