Churches must first be places where God is adored, pope says
Catholic News Service photo
Pope Francis gestures during the rite of acceptance into the catechumenate at a prayer service with the catechumens in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Nov. 23.
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY — Temples and churches are places people gather for many reasons, but if a place of worship is not primarily a place where God is adored, then it can't really be called a temple or a church, Pope Francis said.
"I think, and I say this with all humility, that we Christians have lost some of the sense of adoration," the pope said Nov. 22 during morning Mass in the chapel of his residence.
Gathering at church as brothers and sisters "is good, it's beautiful," he said, but the church "is where God is and we adore God."
"The temple is the place where the community goes to pray, to praise the Lord, to give thanks, but most of all to adore the Lord," he said, according to Vatican Radio.
At a Mass or other liturgy, the pope asked, "What is most important? The songs, the rites, everything beautiful? Adoration is most important: the entire community gathered, looking with adoration toward the altar were the sacrifice is celebrated."
Pope Francis said St. Paul also wrote about people being the temple of the Holy Spirit, which means, "I am a temple. The spirit of God is in me."
When a person is the temple, the kind of adoration required is that of "seeking the spirit of the Lord within and knowing that God is within," he said. "You listen to him and follow him."
Purification is needed, though, to make a human being a real temple, he said: "Purification with prayer, penance, the sacrament of reconciliation and the Eucharist."
Whether in church or in private prayer, he said, "our attitude must be one of piety that adores and listens, that prays and asks forgiveness and that praises the Lord."