Pope’s General Audience: The Church is Holy despite the sins of its members
October 2, 2013. (Romereports.com) During his general audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis talked about contradictions. He explained that the Church is holy, despite the sins and flaws of its members, including that of popes.
He explained that people don’t make the Church holy, but rather God does. He said it’s holy because the Church cannot be separated from Christ. Through the Holy Spirit, sinners receive help.
“Throughout history there has been the temptation to say that the Church is only for the ‘pure’ and for those who live completely coherent lives…and the rest can leave. But this isn’t true. That is heresy! The Church is indeed Holy, but She doesn’t reject sinners. None of us are rejected. The Church doesn’t reject us, but rather it welcomes all of us. The Church is also open to those who are farthest from Her.”
The Pope said that understanding the true meaning of holiness is key. The Church, he said, is not a place for perfect people but a place where all sinners, including the Pope, can change if they embrace God’s mercy.
“People will say, ‘But Father, I’m a sinner. I have serious sins. How can I belong to the Church? I say, dear brothers and sisters, it is you whom the Lord seeks. He wants you to say: ‘Lord here I am, despite my sins.’ Are any of us free of sin? Anyone? No one. None of us. We all carry our sins.”
Holiness isn’t meant for a few people, but for everyone. To be holy, the Pope said one doesn’t need to do extraordinary things.
“You may ask, ‘what can I do? I feel weak, frail and I’m a sinner.’ God tells you, don’t be afraid of holiness. Don’t be afraid of aiming high and allowing yourself to be loved and purified by God. Don’t be afraid. Let the Holy Spirit guide you. Be embraced by the holiness of God.”
As usual, for about 40 minutes Pope Francis made it a point to make his way across St. Peter’s Square, in his popemobile, to greet thousands of pilgrims