The Pope on Hypocrisy and the Distortion of Language
Tuesday, June 04, 2013
Pope Francis offered a stemwinder of a homily on language and hypocrites today. The tendency in society and the church to offer sugar coated or"soft words" in place of the truth can distort reality and lead to all sorts of deceptions. One of the reasons the Church's message has been hampered in the wider culture is, in my estimation, this inability to clearly and simply speak truth. Truth, whether religious or otherwise, cuts through the static and strikes the heart of the listener. Pablum, lies and, (in the words of the Pope) "the language of corruption" are ultimately sterile instruments. They never really last.

That said, there is a high cost for speaking the truth. It has a tendency to draw enemies and fire. Whether it is Jesus in the Gospel (which inspired today's homily) or Mother Angelica over her long broadcast career, or human rights activist Chen Guangcheng--truth is dangerous. Speaking it can get you sidelined or worse. The Pope's message today is a call to bluntly and with love state things AS THEY ARE. It is a message so needed today. In the words of Mother Angelica: "We don't love enough to tell the truth." Let's try.

Here's a report on the homily from La Stampa:

The Pope spoke out against political correctness at this mornings mass in St. Marthas House, later tweeting: Christ leads us to go out from ourselves more and more, to give ourselves and to serve others

VATICAN INSIDER STAFF ROME Hypocrisy is the very language of corruption. A Christian should not use a socially mannered language", prone to hypocrisy, but speak the truth of the Gospel with the transparency of a child, Pope Francis said during the mass he celebrated this morning in St. Marthas House. The president of Italian state broadcasting company, RAI, Anna Maria Tarantola and Director General, Luigi Gubitosi, attended the celebration.

From the corrupt to their language of choice: hypocrisy. Pope Francis continued his thread of thought from Mondays homily in his reflections on the episode recounted in the Gospel of the day: The tribute due to Caesar, and the Pharisees and of the Herodians subtle questioning of Christ on the legitimacy of that tribute, Vatican Radio reported.

"Let us think closely today: What is our language? the Pope asked Do we speak in truth, with love, or do we speak with that social language to be polite, even say nice things, which we do not feel? Let our language be evangelical brothers and sisters! Then these hypocrites that start out with flattery, adulation and all of that, end up, through false witnesses, with accusing the very ones they had flattered. Those who now approached Jesus and "seem so amiable in their language, are the same people who will go to fetch him on Thursday evening in the Garden of Olives, the Pope said.

Centering his reflection on hypocrisy being the language of the corrupt, the Pope recalled how the Pharisees spoke to Jesus with soft words, with beautiful words, with overly sweet words.They try to show themselves his friends." But it is all false because "they do not love the truth" but only themselves, "and so they try to deceive, to involve others in their deceit, their lies. They have a lying heart, they cannot tell the truth.

"Hypocrisy is the very language of corruption. And when Jesus speaks to his disciples, he says: 'let your language be,' Yes, yes! No, no '. Hypocrisy is not a language of truth, because the truth is never given alone. Never! It is always given with love! There is no truth without love. Love is the first truth. If there is no love, there is no truth. They want a true enslaved to their interests. There is a love, of sorts: it is love of self, love for oneself. That narcissist idolatry that leads them to betray others, that leads them to abuse of trust, Francis said.

"And the meekness that Jesus wants us to have - the Pope added - has nothing, has nothing of this adulation, this sickly sweet way of going on. Nothing! Meekness is simple, it is like that of a child. And a child is not hypocritical, because it is not corrupt. When Jesus says to us: 'Let your speech be' Yes is yes! No, is no! 'with the soul of a child', he means the exact opposite to the speech of these [hypocrites, Ed.]."

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