Not judging others and recognising one’s own faults is the first requirement of being a good Christian, Pope Francis has said.
He made the comments on Monday during his homily at a morning Mass celebrated in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.
The Pope’s homily was based on the day’s reading from the Book of Daniel, which laments, “We have sinned, been wicked and done evil,” and expresses the shame of having rebelled against God who is so full of compassion and mercy.
It also focused on the Gospel reading according to St Luke, in which Jesus tells his disciples to stop judging and condemning, but to “be merciful, just as your Father is merciful”.
Pope Francis said it is so easy to shift the blame.
“We are all experts, we have PhDs in justifying ourselves: ‘But it wasn’t me, no, it’s not my fault. Well, OK, but it wasn’t that bad, you know. That’s not how it went.’ We all have an alibi to explain away our failings, our sins,” he said.
“So often we are able to make that face that says, ‘Who, me?’ that face that says, ‘Well, I didn’t do it, maybe it was someone else,’ playing innocent. But one doesn’t progress in Christian life this way.”
While it is easier to blame others, “when we begin to look at the things we are capable of,” the evil that one is tempted to commit, he added, at first “we feel bad, we feel disgust,” but then “something a bit strange happens,” the self-critical approach then “gives us peace and well-being.”
By directly, honestly and quietly confronting the evil within, such as feeling envy and knowing how it can lead to putting people down and “killing them morally,” he said, one discovers “the wisdom of accusing oneself.”
When people can see their own faults, he continued, it is easier to ask God for mercy and to be merciful toward others.
“When someone learns to accuse oneself, one is merciful toward others: ‘Yes, but who am I to judge if I am capable of doing worse things?'”
On Saturday, Pope Francis urged members of an Italian association of Catholic farm, credit, housing and shopping co-operativesto remain true to their original inspiration of modeling an economy where the needs of the human person are the absolute priority and where sharing and solidarity are at the center of the business model.
“Money is the devil’s dung,” the Pope said. “When money becomes an idol, it dictates people’s choices.”
Profit must never be a Christian’s god, although it is one of the tools for measuring the effectiveness of business choices and the ability of a company to help workers feed their families, Pope Francis said.
When unemployment rates are high and there are long “lines of people looking for work”, he said, workers are easily exploited. They will accept long hours for low pay, knowing that if they don’t they will be told, “If you don’t like it, someone else will.”
“Hunger makes us accept whatever is given,” even a job that pays under the table, the Pope added.