Fear, uncertainty lead to a ‘do-it-yourself’ religion, pope says

222 0
Pope Francis speaks during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Aug. 8. Also pictured is Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the papal household. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Like the ancient Israelites, Christians today also can fall into the temptation of creating their own idols when difficulties and uncertainties arise, Pope Francis said.

“To escape precariousness human nature looks for a ‘do-it-yourself’ religion. If God does not show himself, we create a tailor-made god,” the pope said Aug. 8 during his weekly general audience.

Among those present for the audience was Grammy Award-winning musician Sting, who composed the music for “Giudizio Universale: Michelangelo and the Secrets of the Sistine Chapel,” a show developed in collaboration with the Vatican Museums and featuring high-definition recreations of the Sistine Chapel frescoes painted by Michelangelo.

Continuing his series of audience talks about the Ten Commandments, Pope Francis said he wanted to return to the theme of last week’s talk on idolatry because “it is very important to know this.”

He reflected on the reading from the book of Exodus in which the Israelites ask Aaron to build a golden calf to worship while Moses was on the mountain receiving the commandments.

Moses’ absence, Pope Francis explained, triggered insecurities and anxieties in the people, leading to the creation of the idol that embodied “the desires that give the illusion of freedom but instead enslave.”

“The calf had a double meaning in the ancient East. On one hand, it represented fruitfulness and abundance; on the other hand, energy and strength. But above all, it was made of gold because it is a symbol of wealth. Success, power and money. These are the temptations of all time,” the pope said.

Idolatry, he continued, stems from the inability to trust in God. In the absence of this trust, Christians lack the strength to resist succumbing to doubt in times of uncertainty and precariousness.

Without God, he added, it “is easy to fall into idolatry and be content with meager reassurances.”

“Freeing the people from Egypt wasn’t so difficult for God. He did it with signs of power and love,” the pope said. “But God’s greatest work was to remove Egypt from the heart of the people; that is, to remove idolatry from the heart of the people. God continues to work to remove it from our hearts.”

Pope Francis said that God chose to save humanity through the weakness of Christ’s suffering on the cross and “that by our own weaknesses, we can open ourselves to God’s salvation.”

“Our healing comes from the one who made himself poor, who accepted failure, who took away our precariousness to fill us with love and strength,” the pope said. “He comes to reveal to us God’s fatherhood. In Christ, our frailty is no longer a curse but a place of encounter with the father and source of strength from above.”

Related Post

World Youth Day pilgrims from the Archdiocese of New York display a banner in the lobby of a Panama City hotel before beginning their walk to attend a vigil with Pope Francis Jan. 26, 2019. The group attend the gathering Jan. 22-27. (CNS photo/Armando Machado, Catholic New York)

U.S. pilgrims still feeling joy, renewal from attending World Youth Day

Posted by - February 24, 2019 0
NEW YORK (CNS) — Pilgrims from the New York Archdiocese who attended the world-class retreat led by Pope Francis that…
Law enforcement officiers investigate a mass shooting Nov. 5 at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. A lone gunman entered the church during Sunday services taking the lives of at least 26 people and injuring several more. (CNS photo/Nick Wagner, American Statesman via Reuters)

USCCB president decries mass shooting at Texas Baptist church

Posted by - November 11, 2017 0
WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. Catholic Church stands “in unity” with the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and…
People are seen with their belongings in the street after they left their homes Jan. 25 because of a wildfires near Vichuquen, Chile. Pope Francis sent his condolences to the victims and survivors of one of the worst wildfires in Chile's history.(CNS photo/Cristobal Hernandez, Reuters)

Pope prays for victims of deadly wildfires in Chile

Posted by - February 3, 2017 0
By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis sent his condolences to the victims and…
Jeff and Katherine Dobbs sit with their newborn son, Fulton, at their home after being released from the hospital in early March in Brooklyn Center, Minn. Fulton, named after U.S. Archbishop Fulton Sheen, was born Christmas Eve with an immunodeficiency that remains undiagnosed. (CNS photo/courtesy Jeff and Katherine Dobbs)

Family seeks Archbishop Sheen’s intercession for newborn son’s healing

Posted by - April 21, 2018 0
ST. ANTHONY, Minn. (CNS) — Even before Katherine and Jeff Dobbs were married, they had a name picked out for…