Pope Francis ordered Christian high school students to stop converting non-believers to Christianity last week, telling them “we are not living in the times of the crusades.”
Asked by one of the students at Pilo Albertelli high school in Rome how a Christian should treat people of other faiths or no faith, the pope said that “we are all the same, all children of God” and that real Christians do not attempt to bring non-believers to Christ.
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Francis said that his experience growing up in Argentina with its waves of immigration influenced his globalist worldview.
“There is a mixture of blood, a strong miscegenation in Argentina — I am the son of a migrant — and this made for a culture of coexistence,” he said. “I went to public school and we always had companions from other religions. We were educated to coexistence.”
“This taught me a lot, that we are all the same, all children of God and this purifies your gaze, it humanizes it,” he said. “In Argentina, there is a small group of narrow-minded Catholics who do not want Jews, do not want Muslims but this group, I never liked it, it is a fringe group, they have a cultural magazine but they do not have impact in society and when I used to teach I saw them for what they were, this is the secret.”
The pope went on to say that a Christian should never try to convince others of the truth of Christianity.
“You must be consistent with your faith,” he said. “It never occurred to me (and nor should it) to say to a boy or a girl: ‘You are Jewish, you are Muslim: come, be converted!’ You be consistent with your faith and that consistency is what will make you mature. We are not living in the times of the crusades.”
“The last thing I should do is to try to convince an unbeliever. Never,” he said. “The last thing I should do is speak. I should live my faith with consistency. And it will be my witness that will awaken the curiosity of the other who may then ask: ‘But why do you do this?’ And yes, then I can speak.”
“But listen, the gospel is never, ever advanced through proselytism,” he continued. “If someone says he is a disciple of Jesus and comes to you with proselytism, he is not a disciple of Jesus. Proselytism is not the way; the Church does not grow by proselytism.”