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Jesus or evil

· Pope Francis makes an appeal at his audience with the Diocese of Cassano all'Jonio ·

“To those who have chosen the way of evil and are affiliated with criminal organizations, I renew a pressing invitation to convert”. Meeting with the faithful of the Diocese of Cassano all’Jonio — received in audience on Saturday morning, 21 February, in the Paul VI Hall — the Pope launched a new appeal to those who “make illegality a way of life”. The choice, he stated clearly, is between “Jesus and evil”. No one can call themselves Christian, he urged, and also “violate human dignity” or “plan and commit acts of violence against others and against the environment”. If “external actions of religiosity” are not accompanied by “a true and public conversion”, “communion with Christ and his Church” cannot be achieved.

“Open your heart to the Lord!”, the Pontiff repeated, speaking directly to those involved in criminal organizations. “The Lord is waiting for you and the Church will welcome you if your decision to serve goodness is public, as your decision to serve evil was public”.

In his address to the pilgrims of the diocese — which included members of the Emmanuel community, who are committed to personal and social recovery of young people — Francis recalled the beauty of Calabria, which is “a gift from God and is a heritage which must be preserved and passed down to future generations in all of its splendour”. Thus, he said, we must have “the courageous commitment of all, starting with the institutions so that they may not be scarred beyond repair by wretched interests”.

The Pope asked Christian communities to “be leaders of solidarity”, calling them not to be stopped in the face of those who, in mere self-interest “sow selfishness, violence and injustice” among the people. Resist, he said, “the culture of death and be witnesses of the Gospel of life! The light of the Word of God and the strength of the Holy Spirit will help you to look with new eyes, open to the many new forms of poverty which cast many young people and so many families into despair”. 

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