Hardened hearts can turn Catholics into atheists, says Pope Francis

Being deaf to God’s voice leads to the ‘path of unfaithfulness’, the Pope said

Not listening to God’s voice can distance Christians from him and lead them instead to seek solace in worldly idols that offer only doubt and confusion, Pope Francis has said.

When Catholics are “deaf to the word of God”, their hearts are hardened, and “they lose the meaning of faithfulness,” the Pope said in his homily during morning Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae.

The Pope began his homily by reflecting on the day’s first reading from the prophet Jeremiah in which God laments the unfaithfulness of his people who “walked in the hardness of their evil hearts and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.”

“Not listening to and turning our backs – which hardens our heart – takes us on that path of unfaithfulness,” the Pope said.

In the reading, “the Lord says: ‘Faithfulness has disappeared,’ and we become unfaithful Catholics, pagan Catholics and, even worse, atheist Catholics”, without the necessary reference to the love of the living God, the Pope said.

Instead of being full of clarity, he continued, Christians on this path of unfaithfulness are filled with confusion, not knowing where God is and confusing “God with the devil.”

Those who said Jesus expelled demons “by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons” in the day’s Gospel reading from St Luke, the Pope added, are an example of the last step along this path.

“This is blasphemy. Blasphemy is the final word of this path that begins with not listening, which hardens the heart” and “brings confusion; it makes you forget faithfulness and in the end, you blaspheme.”

Pope Francis said Christians must ask themselves whether they listen to the word of God or have “lost faithfulness to the Lord and live with the idols that offer me the worldliness of every day.”

“Today is a day for listening. ‘Listen today to the voice of the Lord’ we prayed.” the Pope said. “‘Do not harden your heart.’ Let us ask for this grace: the grace to listen so that our heart does not harden.”




  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    “Hardened hearts can turn Catholics into atheists.” Indeed this is true. One hardened heart that turned me away from Catholicism to agnosticism was that of Pharaoh. I was appalled upon reading the bible cover to cover for the first time to discover that Yahweh-Jesus took away the Pharaoh’s free will and then punished, not only him, but all of his people, for doing what Yahweh compelled him to do. Despicable, unjust, unfair, and uncalled for. And of course imaginary, as we know today that the mass Exodus from Egypt as described in the bible, never happened.
    The other thing that hardens my heart against Catholicism is the “hostility to the other” of Catholics and many other Christians. The bigotry and hate really turns my heart cold
    The pope says we should listen for gods’ voice. How exactly does something immaterial affect the particles in our brains that would enable us to “hear” anything, either audibly emotionally, or any other way? Unless this god or soul force can affect the particles in our brains, then there is no hearing of gods. We understand particles very well today and we know that there are no actions of particles that could only be explained by some outside god or soul force. If such forces existed and had any impact on our natural world, we would know it. We can’t hear God because there is no God. HIs foundation washed out.
    We know today beyond reasonable doubt that there was no six day creation, no two-person DNA bottleneck, no global flood, no mass Exodus from Egypt and no conquest of Canaan by the Israelites. Without these things the foundation for the Abrahamic gods has washed away.

  2. Tom Rafferty Reply

    This is displaying ignorance on why theists become atheists. In the vast majority of cases, it is because of lack of evidence of a god.

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