‘Ignoring suffering is ignoring God’

Pope Francis in Cuba

Christians must not shut out the suffering of others as this means ignoring God, Pope Francis said

Pope Francis in Cuba
Pope Francis in Cuba

“We cannot remain passive spectators before the suffering of so many people, exhausted by hunger, violence and injustice,” Francis said.

“Ignoring human suffering means ignoring God,” he told pilgrims attending his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square.

“Compassion and love are not vague sentiments but mean taking care of your neighbour, even at your personal cost.”

Elite of Priests

The Pope also said the clergy should serve their congregations. Pope in a letter condemning clericalism, which he called one of the “greatest distortions” of the Church in Latin America.

“The Church is not an elite of priests, of the anointed, of bishops, but we all make up the sainted people of God,” Francis said in a wide-ranging letter on the role of the laity.

“We must remember that as clergy we all began our lives as lay people,” Francis said in the letter addressed to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

Clericalism, Francis recalled, “forgets that the visibility and the sacramentality of the Church belong to all the people of God and not just to an illuminated and elected few”.

His letter followed-up the commission’s recent plenary assembly on “The indispensable role of the lay faithful in the public life of Latin American countries”.