Pope Francis put forward the case of a woman who would sacrifice her child through abortion in order to preserve her figure as a modern example of “idolatry,” or the worship of false gods.
In his general audience on Wednesday, the Pope said that when wealth, power, or physical beauty become idols, they “lead to death.”
As an example, the Pope spoke of a woman he had known who was willing to “sacrifice everything” for physical beauty.
Years ago, Francis said, a woman who was very proud of how beautiful she was told him she had had an abortion, as though it were the most natural thing.
“Yes, I had to get an abortion because my figure is very important,” she told him.
“These are idols, and they lead you down the wrong path, and do not make you happy,” Francis said.
Reflecting on Psalm Psalm 115 and its depiction of the worship of false gods, Pope Francis remarked that today there are still many forms of idolatry that plague the world, and infect even people of faith when they allow themselves to become “worldly.”
These idols include wealth, power, health and physical beauty, he said, as well as practices like consulting fortune-tellers and tarot card readers.
“The message of the psalm is very clear,” Francis said. “If you put your hope in idols, you become like them: empty images with hands that cannot touch, feet that cannot walk, mouths that cannot speak.”
When ideologies such as riches, power, or success, or values such as physical beauty and health become idols, he went on, they “confuse the mind and the heart, and instead of nurturing life, lead to death.”
“This is why the Sacred Scripture warns against false hopes that the world presents to us, exposing their uselessness and revealing their senselessness,” he said.
The Pope said that we often turn to idols when God seems too slow in answering our requests. We become frustrated, and so look elsewhere.
“Sometimes we look for a God that can bend to our requests and magically take action to change reality and make it as we want,” he said. But these idols are useless, “powerless and deceptive.”
And yet, he said, “we like idols, we like them very much.”
Many times, we can prefer to seek a fleeting hope that a false idol gives us, rather than the “great and sure hope that the Lord gives to us,” he said.
The difference, Francis said, is that the one, true God is not an idol and therefore “He never disappoints.”
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