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The sickness of indifference

· ​The Pope tells catechists to find new ways of meeting and helping the poor ·

He calls for an end to the violence that has struck Mexico in recent days

Pope Francis assured the “beloved Mexican people” of his prayers “that the violence, which in recent days has even affected several priests, may cease”. At the Angelus on Sunday, 25 September, in St Peter’s Square, following the Mass for the Jubilee of Catechists, the Pope wished to unite himself to the bishops of Mexico in support of “the efforts of the Church and civil society in favour of the family and of life, which at this time call for special pastoral and cultural attention throughout the world”.

Previously, in the Mass he celebrated for 25,000 catechists who were gathered from all over the world on the occasion of their Jubilee, Francis commented on the readings from the liturgy of the day, and in particular on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. He denounced the insensitivity which today “causes chasms to be dug that can never be crossed. And we”, he explained, “ have fallen, at this time, into the sickness of indifference, selfishness and worldliness”.However, he clarified, the “Gospel helps us understand what it means to love” and “to avoid certain risks”, such as ending up as the rich man in the parable, who in reality “does not do evil towards anyone”, but “suffers from terrible blindness” which makes him unable to “look beyond his world”: he “does not see with his eyes, because he cannot feel with his heart”.

Indeed, the Pontiff noted, in his heart “a worldliness has entered which anaesthetizes the soul”. This worldliness is like a “black hole” that “swallows up what is good, which extinguishes love, because it consumes everything in its very self. And so here a person sees only outward appearances, no longer noticing others because one has become indifferent to everyone”. And whoever “suffers from grave blindness often takes on ‘squinting’ behaviour: he looks with adulation at famous people, of high rank, admired by the world, yet turns his gaze away from the many Lazaruses of today, from the poor, from the suffering who are the Lord’s beloved”.

In contrast, the Pope continued in his reflection, God “looks at those who are neglected and discarded by the world”. To the extent that “Lazarus is the only one named in all of Jesus’ parables”. The rich man in the parable, “on the other hand, does not even have a name; his life passes by forgotten, because whoever lives for himself does not write history”; Christians “must go out from themselves, to write history!”.

Hence Francis’ invitation to catechists “to find ways of meeting and helping” the poor in particular, because, he concluded, they “are not an afterthought in the Gospel but an important page, always open before all”.

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St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 13, 2018

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