Pope Francis: Decadent Christians have forgotten Christ

Vatican City, Sep 4, 2014 / 09:42 am .- In his daily homily on Thursday, Pope Francis spoke on the importance of having an encounter with Christ, saying without it one becomes lukewarm and unable to evangelize.

“If a Christian is not able to feel themselves a sinner and saved by the blood of Christ, this crucified one, they are a half-way Christian, a tepid Christian,” Pope Francis told mass attendees Sept. 4.

“When we find decadent churches, when we find decadent parishes, decadent institutions, surely the Christians who are there have never encountered Jesus Christ or have forgotten about this encounter with Jesus Christ.”

Pope Francis took his cue from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians in the first reading when he says that “If anyone among you considers himself wise in this age, let him become a fool, so as to become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God.”

Speaking to those gathered in the chapel of the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse, the pontiff referred to how the apostle tells us that “the power of the Word of God, which changes the heart, which changes the world, which gives us hope, which gives us life,” is not found “in human wisdom.”

“It’s not a nice talk or to say nice things with human intelligence. No. This is foolishness,” he said. “The strength of the Word of God comes from another part.”

Drawing attention to how St. Paul himself states that “I can only boast of my sins” and “I can only boast in Christ and this crucifix,” the Bishop of Rome explained that to say this “is scandalous.”

“The strength of the Word of God is in that encounter between my sins and the blood of Christ, which saves me,” he said, “and when there is no encounter, there is no strength in the heart.”

“When we forget that encounter that we had in life, we become worldly, we want to speak about the things of God with human language, and this is not good: it doesn’t give life.”

Pope Francis then turned his attention to the day’s Gospel reading, taken from Luke, in which Peter tells Jesus “Go away from me Lord for I am a sinful man” following the miraculous catch of fish. It is precisely in this moment, the Pope explained, when Peter finds salvation.

“The privileged place for an encounter with Jesus Christ are precisely our sins,” he observed, stating that “If a Christian is not able to feel themselves a sinner and saved by the blood of Christ, this crucified one, they are a half-way Christian, a tepid Christian.”

Pope Francis concluded his reflections saying: “The strength of the Christian life and the strength of the Word of God are precisely in that moment were I, a sinner, encounter Jesus Christ.”

“And that encounter renews my life, changes my life…and gives me the strength to announce salvation to others.”


  1. Margaret Ngetich Reply


  2. Christopher Forte Reply

    I wish the Holy Father would be more specific and point out these "decadent" Churches and parishes instead of generalizing everyone. And is he talking about church architecture and art? He is for protestant-like minimalism? Or is talking about a parish's financial situation, which one needs not only to pay daily bills, but to be able to provide outreach ministries for the poor and other less fortunate in their communities?

  3. Merry Grace Nedic Caballes Reply

    As a respose to mr. Christopher forte. I think perhaps it means that for example when a church, a priest, a minister or leader and by leader someone who isnt just some official but one who influnces a person, pays more attention to the cut and quality of a shoe versus the ditied feet of their flock.

    You see these things that you pointed out are also important but perhaps the person whom one is serving is more important. One could neglect to see the need of lazurus whether he be placed in a minimalist or baroque inspired architecture. Lazarus and the rich man. Lazarus was so humbled that he couldnt ask for crumbs. He was soo weakened. And in all churches, be it there in the modern west or developing east…. there lies in all our hearts lazarus unspoken needs.

    Question is, can we see them? Sometimes God speaks to us be it in Sistine Chapel or in Shanty Chapel. Can we hear Him in either?

  4. Vera ebhabha Reply

    By decadent ,I think the holy father meant being spiritually dead. Not practicing non preaching the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as it ought to, but doing as you will. Not being available for the holy spirit to use. Standing as a stubbling block on the path of other people in their spiritual advancement.it has nothing to do with anything physical.

  5. Jovel Reply

    Dear pope I am jovel from Philippines my purpose why I make a letter for you because in my country we have a bishop who use the church money to invest in mining Corporation operating in our country now which is literally destroyed our land in country hope you give action regarding with this thanks pope

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