(Photo: REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito)
The head of the Roman Catholic Church has offered words of warning about the dangers of idolatry among Christians in the modern day.
In a homily preached Tuesday morning Pope Francis warned listeners that as spiritual beings, "when we do not worship God, we worship creatures."
"And this is the passage from faith to idolatry. These people, idolaters, have no excuse: because having known God, they have neither glorified nor worshipped Him as God," said the Pontiff. "And what is the way of idolatry?...The selfishness of their own thoughts, the omnipotent thought, that which I think is true: I think the truth, I make the truth with my thought."
The Bishop of Rome also stated that idolatry can exist among the modern Christian community in the form of egotism and vanity.
"Even today, there are so many idols, and even today there are so many idolaters, so many who think they are wise. But even among us, among Christians," said Francis. "But among us – we're speaking within the family – they think they're wise, they know everything…They've become foolish and exchange the glory of the incorruptible God with an image: myself, my ideas, my comforts."
The Pontiff delivered his remarks at the Casa Santa Marta, a hotel at Vatican City considered more modest than the usual papal apartments provided by the Church.
Pope Francis focused on the first chapter of Saint Paul of Tarsus' letter to the Romans, wherein the Apostle describes the idolatry of his day.
"Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened," wrote Paul in verses 20-21.
"But if you are vain, if you are a careerist, if you are ambitious, if you are a person that always puts himself forward or likes to advance yourself, because you think you are perfect, give a little bit of alms and that will heal your hypocrisy," said Pope Francis. "This is the way of the Lord: it is to worship God, to love God above all things and to love your neighbor. It's so simple, but so difficult! This can only be done with grace. Let us ask for this grace."