Pope: it is not Christian to resort to magic, in any of its forms
"Faith is trusting abandonment into the hands of a trustworthy God Who makes Himself known not through occult practices but through revelation and with freely-give love". The memory of Father Popieluszko, killed by the communist police. In the meeting with the Governing Council of Solidarnosc the relations between Church and State.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "It is not Christian" to resort to magic any of its forms. This is the warning that Pope Francis addressed today during the general audience, taking his cue from the passage in the Acts of the Apostles which tells of Paul's mission to Ephesus and his dismissal by the elders. A passage, that of Acts 20, 32- 35, the Pope described as "beautiful" and invited people to read.
"Thanks to Paul - he said to the 20 thousand people present in St. Peter's Square - about twelve men receive baptism in the name of Jesus and experience the outpouring of the Holy Spirit Who regenerates them (cf. Acts 19: 1-7). Then there are various wonders that take place through the Apostle: the sick heal and the obsessed are freed (cf. Acts 19: 11-12)”
"The power of God that irrupts into Ephesus unmasks those who wish to use the name of Jesus to carry out exorcisms without having the spiritual authority to do so (cf. Acts 19: 13-17), and reveals the weakness of the magical arts, which are abandoned by a great number of people who choose Christ and abandon the magical arts (cf. Acts 19: 18-19). A real reversal for a city, like Ephesus, which was a famous centre for the practice of magic! Luke thus emphasizes the incompatibility between faith in Christ and magic. If you choose Christ you cannot have recourse to the magician: faith is trusting abandonment into the hands of a trustworthy God Who makes Himself known not through occult practices but through revelation and with freely-give love".
"Perhaps - the Pope said, speaking off the cuff - Perhaps some of you will say; “Ah, yes, this magic is something old: today, with Christian civilization, this does not happen”. But be careful! I ask you: how many of you go for a Tarot card reading, how many of you have your hands read by soothsayers, or have your cards read? Even today in the great cities, practicing Christians do these things. And to the question: “But why, if you believe in Jesus Christ, go to the magician, to the clairvoyant, to all these people?”, they answer: “I believe in Jesus Christ but out of superstition I also go to them”. Please: magic is not Christian!".
"The spread of the Gospel in Ephesus - he continued - harms the trade of silversmiths, who produced statues of the goddess Artemis, turning a religious practice into a business opportunity. Seeing the decline of the activity that yielded a lot of money, the silversmiths organize an uprising against Paul, and Christians are accused of having caused a crisis for craftsmen, for the shrine to Artemis and the worship of this goddess (cf. Acts 19: 23-28). "
Paul then "encourages those in charge of the community, who know that they are seeing him for the last time. And what does he say to them? “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock”. This is the job of the pastor: to keep vigil, to watch over himself and his flock. The pastor must keep watch, the parish priest must keep vigil, keep watch, priests must keep watch, bishops, the Pope must keep watch. Keeping vigil to guard the flock, and also to keep watch over oneself, examine one’s conscience and see how one fulfils this duty to keep vigil. “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the Church of God, which He obtained with His own blood” (Acts 20: 28): this is what Saint Paul says. The episcopi are asked to be as close as possible to the flock, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, and to be ready to defend it from the “wolves” (v. 29). The bishops must be very close to the people to protect them, to defend them; not detached fro the populace. After entrusting this task to those responsible for Ephesus, Paul places them in the hands of God and entrusts them to the “word of His grace” (v. 32), the leaven of every growth and path of holiness in the Church, inviting them to work with their own hands, like him, so as not to be a burden on others, to help the weak and to experience that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (v. 35).”.
In greeting the Polish faithful, Francis addressed in particular organizers and participants in the conference dedicated to Blessed Father Popieluszko, which took place at the Urbaniana University, at the opening of the exhibition dedicated to him. "I thank you - he told them - for keeping alive memory of this zealous priest and martyr who, brutally murdered by the communist services, gave his life for the love of Christ, of the Church and of men, especially those deprived of liberty and of dignity ”.
That period of Polish history was also the focus of the meeting that took place before the general audience. Francesco had in fact received the Governing Council of the Polish trade union "Solidarnosc", on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of its foundation. In his greeting, the Pope recalled that Solidarnosc “was the protagonist of cpolitical and social elements in your homeland and has also played an inspiring role beyond its borders ".
“The word ‘solidarity’ is a little worn and at time poorly understood, but it refers to something more than a few sporadic acts of generosity” (ibid., 188). It is a sensitivity to the voice of brothers and sisters who have been deprived of the right to decent working conditions, to the just reward necessary to support the family, to health care or to rest. “In her dialogue with the State and with society, the Church does not have solutions for every particular issue”. Nevertheless, “Together with the various sectors of society, she supports those programmes which best respond to the dignity of each person and the common good” (ibid., 241). It must be remembered that the condition for positive changes in social structures is above all a change in mentality, convictions and attitudes, in which the younger generations must be educated. Otherwise, sooner or later, the new structures themselves will no longer serve the common good, but particular groups, and will become corrupt, oppressive and ineffective, and even harmful (cf. ibid., 189).”