The Pope Francisco continued his visit by Slovakia. This Tuesday, the pontiff arrived in the city of Presov, where he presided over a long service known as the Divine Liturgy, a Byzantine rite used by the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox churches of Europe, where asked not to use religion as “a political symbol”.
Speaking to some 30,000 faithful, he affirmed that many Christians wear crucifixes or crosses around their necks, on the walls of their houses, in their cars and in their pockets, but they do not have a real relationship with Jesus. “What good is this, unless we stop to look at Jesus crucified and open our hearts to him,” Francis said.
“Let’s not reduce the cross to an object of devotion, much less a political symbol, a sign of religious and social condition,” he added. In 1950, in Presov, the Communist authorities forced the Eastern Catholic faithful, who owe their allegiance to the Pope, to join the Orthodox Church. Several clergymen of the Eastern rite who refused were imprisoned.
At Tuesday’s liturgy, Francis again warned Christians against using their religion in so-called culture wars that he believes harm the common good. “How often do we long for a winners Christianity, a triumphalist Christianity that is important and influential, that receives glory and honor?” It was asked, Reuters reported.
In Slovakia, the far-right formation Our Slovakia People’s Party It is based on three pillars: Christian, national and social, and has promised to prevent the immigration of refugees, mostly Muslims. “The cross is not a flag to wave, but the pure source of a new way of life,” said Francisco. Several European political parties, including some far-right in the east, use crosses on their flags or symbols.