Hypocrisy Hurts the Church
Author: Deborah Castellano Lubov | Source: ZENIT Roma / June 6, 2017
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis gave this recommendation during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, warning that hypocrisy isn’t the ‘language of Jesus,’ nor of Christianity.
Drawing inspiration from today’s Gospel, where some Pharisees and Herodians tried to “ensnare” Jesus in his speech, the Holy Father observed: “The hypocrite always uses language to flatter.”
Jesus, Francis reminded, uses the word “hypocrite” often to describe the doctors of the law, because, as their title illustrates, “they claim to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case, they give opinions and issue judgments, but are false.”
“Hypocrites,” the Holy Father warned, “always begin with adulation, exaggerating the truth, feeding into one’s vanity.”
However, Pope Francis underscored, Jesus makes us see reality which is the opposite of hypocrisy and ideology.
As one sees with the doctors of the law in today’s reading, Francis underscored, flattery is triggered by “bad intentions.”
The Holy Father warned that they had put Jesus to the test, flattering him first and then asking him a question with the intention of making him err, namely that of: “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?”
“The hypocrite is two-faced,” Francis stressed, “but Jesus knew their hypocrisy.”
“Jesus always responds to hypocrites and ideologists with reality: ‘this is the reality; everything else is either hypocrisy or ideology’. In this case he said: ‘bring me a coin’, and he answered with the wisdom of the Lord: ‘Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – the reality was that the coin carried the image of Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.’”
The language of hypocrisy, Francis also said, is the language of deceit, “the same language the serpent used with Eve.” While it starts with flattery, it ends up destroying people.
“It tears to pieces the personality and the soul of a person. It destroys communities,” the Pope said.
Warning all Christians who at times are hypocritical, Pope Francis stressed how problematic this sin is for the Church.
“The hypocrite is capable of destroying a community. While speaking gently, he ruinously judges a person. He is a killer,” the Pope said.