Pope Francis: ‘Hypocritical to Call Oneself Christian and Send Away a Refugee’

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 26: Pope Francis speaks as he visits the Festival of Families September 26, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pope Francis is in Philadelphia for the last leg of his six-day visit to the U.S. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty

In powerful language, Pope Francis said Thursday that Jesus abhors hypocrisy and it is hypocritical to call oneself a Christian and at the same time not be welcoming to refugees, even if they belong to a different religion.

Hypocrisy is “the sin that Jesus condemns most,” Francis told a group of some 1,000 Lutherans gathered in Paul VI Hall in Vatican City. The Pope told the group, on ecumenical pilgrimage to Rome, that a person cannot be a Christian without living as a Christian.

“It is a hypocritical call oneself a Christian and send away a refugee, or one who needs my help. Jesus taught us who the good Christian is in the parable of the good Samaritan,” he said.

The Pope also underscored what he termed the “contradiction in those who want to defend Christianity in the West and on the other hand are against other religions and against refugees,” he said, in evident reference to Muslim migrants.

“This is not something in a books, it is a something in the news every day,” he said.

When asked about the Protestant Reformation, Francis said that medieval theologians taught that the Church is always in need of reform. “This is progress,” he said.

“The greatest reformers of the Church are saints: men and women who follow and practice the word of the Lord and have their soul filled with the gospel,” he said.

The Pope announced that later this month he intends to visit Lund, Sweden, and “together with the Lutheran World Federation we will commemorate, after five centuries the beginning of Luther’s reform and thank the Lord for fifty years of official dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics.”

The Pope’s words this morning coincided with the release of his message for the 2017 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, where he reflected primarily on the plight of child migrants.

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