Pope Francis urged action, and not merely dialogue, from billions of Christians around the world in a commentary that emphasized the division between what he called “fake” Christians and real followers of the faith.
The pope delivered a homily Mass in Vatican City on Feb. 23, in which he read from the scriptures of the day and then delivered comments on his interpretation of the Bible, reports the Religion News Service.
After reading from Isaiah and the Gospel of Matthew, the pope explained that the verses show Jesus’ warning that those who do not practice what they preach will be ultimately be judged for their inaction, rather than any pious thoughts they may have had.
“Merely talking leads to vanity, to faking being a Christian,” the pope said. “But no, one is not a Christian this way.”
The pope urged Christians to take action to help those who need it most, from people facing famine and drought to looking after elderly parents whose children abandon them. Vatican Radio reported that the pope’s comments reflected the “evangelical dialectic between saying and doing,” according to the Religion News Service.
The pontiff’s comments reflected his earlier words that have been construed to be about U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump. The pope said someone is not a “true Christian” if they try to build walls.
Trump, who is running for the Republican nomination, has repeatedly stated he wants to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border to reduce illegal immigration, and that he will deport all 11 million people living in the country illegally.
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” the pope told reporters while traveling to Europe on the papal airliner on Feb. 18. “This is not in the gospel.”