Faith always has been transmitted best through example, but with young people constantly bombarded by images of all kinds, living models of a commitment to truth and love are more important than ever, Pope Francis said.
“With great trepidation, I am following the dramatic incidents of Christians in several parts of the world being persecuted and killed because of their religious beliefs,” the pope said. “I must express my deep spiritual closeness to the Christian communities so harshly struck by an absurd violence that does not show signs of stopping.”
“Where there is a wall,” he said, “there is a closed heart. We need bridges, not walls!”
Pope Francis said the church’s marriage annulment process should be more efficient and perhaps even free of charge, and he decried any attempts to exploit it for profit.
The world’s bishops are called to be servants and shepherds who use their position to care for people and the faith, not to seek power and boost their pride, Pope Francis said.
Christian life is a constant battle against the devil, who is not the stuff of legend, but really exists, Pope Francis said in a morning homily.
The way Christians behave can either help and inspire others, or turn them away from ever following Jesus, Pope Francis said.
The Big Bang theory and evolution do not eliminate the existence of God, who remains the one who set all of creation into motion, Pope Francis told his own science academy.
Pope Francis called for abolition of the death penalty as well as life imprisonment, and denounced what he called a “penal populism” that promises to solve society’s problems by punishing crime instead of pursuing social justice.
The church of Christ is called to keep the light of hope alive in the world, showing all humanity the path leading to “the merciful face of God” and salvation in Christ, Pope Francis said.
On the feast of St. Teresa of Avila, Pope Francis said he wished the whole church would follow her example and be in a “holy hurry” to bring the Gospel and God’s love to the world.