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Hardened hearts 'can turn believers into atheists'

Being deaf to the words of God leads Christians on the path of unfaithfulness, pope warns

Published: March 24, 2017 04:57 AM GMT

Updated: March 24, 2017 04:58 AM GMT

Hardened hearts 'can turn believers into atheists'

Pope Francis salutes the faithful at the end of his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on March 22. (Photo by Tiziana Fabi/AFP)

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 said.

When Catholics are "deaf to the word of God," their hearts are hardened, and "they lose the meaning of faithfulness," Catholic News Service quoted the pope as saying on March 23 in his homily during 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.

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," 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."

Full story: Hardened hearts can turn believers into atheists, pope says

Source: Catholic News Service

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