- (Photo: Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi)
On his first full day as Pope, Francis I called on fellow Catholics to set a higher example and help facilitate a spiritual renewal or face the possibility of the Church being considered just a "compassionate NGO."
The Argentinean pope, the first ever for the Church and first non-European pontiff in over 1,300 years, gave his first sermon on Thursday in the Sistine Chapel. He urged his faithful followers, to shift their focus to be more concerned with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Pope Francis said in his address during the Sistine Chapel Mass that in the absence of prayer to Christ, evil will be the object of focus.
"We can walk all we want, we can build many things, but if we don't proclaim Jesus Christ, something is wrong. We would become a compassionate NGO and not a Church which is the bride of Christ," Pope Francis said.
"He who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil. When we don't proclaim Jesus Christ, we proclaim the worldliness of the devil, the worldliness of the demon," he added. "We must always walk in the presence of the Lord, in the light of the Lord, always trying to live in an irreprehensible way."
Pope Francis was also bemoaning those who would stand behind titles in lieu of actively teaching and professing the teachings of Christ to those around the globe.
"When we walk without the cross, when we build without the cross and when we proclaim Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are worldly," he continued. "We may be bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, all of this, but we are not disciples of the Lord."
Pope Francis took over the Church and its 1.2 billion members during a particularly turbulent time that has seen the core of the Church shaken by allegations of sexual abuse and cover-ups by some of its more prominent figures.
The Church is also tasked with exciting its younger members who have steadily left the Church over the past few decades.