It is not enough to avoid evil, a Christian must actively pursue goodness and renounce evil, Pope Francis has said.
Addressing crowds gathered in Rome for the Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis spoke from Ephesians, where St Paul tells the faithful not to “sadden” the Holy Spirit.
“To renounce evil means to say "no" to temptations, to sin, to Satan,” explained Francis.
But, he said, it is not enough to merely not do evil. “Many times I hear some who say: "I do not hurt anyone", Francis said.
He continued: “All right, but are you good? How many people do not do evil, but not even good, and their life flows into indifference, apathy, lukewarmness. This attitude is contrary to the Gospel.”
Instead, he urged his listeners to “be protagonists in the good”.
He continued: “It is not enough not to hate, it is necessary to forgive; it is not enough not to have a grudge, we must pray for our enemies; it is not enough not to be a cause of division, we must bring peace where it does not exist; it is not enough not to speak badly about others, we must stop when we hear someone talking badly: stop the chatter: this is doing good.
The Pope said it is necessary to invervene to prevent evil. For where Christians do not counter evil with good by “walking in love”, evil will spread.
“Dear young people, you have walked a lot these days! Therefore you are trained and I can tell you: walk in love, walk in love,” Francis urged.
“May the Virgin Mary support us with her maternal intercession, so that each of us, every day, with deeds, can say "no" to evil and "yes" to good,” he concluded.
A day earlier, Pope Francis spoke about witness, dreams and true love with some 70,000 young adults, aged 16 to 30, gathered at Rome's Circus Maximus at the end of a pilgrimage.
In response to a young man who said, "The useless pomp and frequent scandals have made the church barely credible in our eyes," Francis admitted that members of the Catholic Church sin and give scandal.
But, he said, it is up to each Catholic to live the faith as authentically as possible and witness to the world the love of Jesus.
"The best way to respond is with witness," the pope said on 11 August. He continued, saying the best way to counter a stuffy, lifeless church or church scandals "is with witness. If there is no witness, there is no Holy Spirit. The church without witness is just smoke."