Pope Francis’ statement, quoted in the title of this post, seems a pretty obvious one. Pointing out that the sin Jesus had the greatest condemnation for is hypocrisy, the Pops expressed clearly and directly that being a Christian requires living in the Beatitudes and taking seriously the judgement passage in Matthew 25.
Addressing an issue of particular current interest, Pope Francis said “It’s hypocrisy to call yourself a Christian and chase away a refugee or someone seeking help, someone who is hungry or thirsty, toss out someone who is in need of my help…. If I say I am Christian, but do these things, I’m a hypocrite.”
One can argue for strict vetting of refugees (something we already do) and there is surely an outside limit on how many refugees a country can absorb (a limit the United States is nowhere near approaching), but I do not see how a Christian can defend an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria. I do not see how one can participate in a March for Life and then condemn people to misery and death.
Yes, I have heard the vague assertions that this is for the protection of America. The same assertions that caused the United States to turn away Jews during World War II (“they might be Nazi spys”), making it complicit in the holocaust. The same assertions that led it to intern Japanese-Americans, in my view one of the great blights in American history.
None of these incidents is the behavior of Christians. As Pope Francis said, “If I say I am Christian, but do these things, I’m a hypocrite.”
Some Christian leaders are already denouncing Friday’s executive order. I pray others do the same.