Updated: October 29, 2014 04:26 PM GMT
People cheer as Pope Francis arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Wednesday (Photo by Paul Haring/CNS)
The way Christians behave can either help and inspire others, or turn them away from ever following Jesus, Pope Francis said Wednesday.
"How many times we've heard in our neighborhoods, 'Oh that person over there always goes to church, but he badmouths everyone, skins them alive.' What a bad example to badmouth other people. This is not Christian," the pope said at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.
Causing scandal and being a bad example turn people off, making them think, "Hey, if that is being Christian, I'll be an atheist.' That's because our witness is what makes people see what it is to be a Christian," he said.
The pope continued a series of talks on the nature of the Catholic Church, focusing on the visible and spiritual reality of the church.
The visible church can be seen in its many parishes, Christian communities and organizations as well as in its people, like the pope, priests and religious men and women all over the world, he said.
But the church — the body of Jesus — is also bigger than that because it is made up of the countless men and women who are baptized and "who believe, hope and love," as well as offer "relief, comfort and peace" in the Lord's name, the pope said.
Source:Catholic News Service
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