Pope Francis warns of two false paths to holiness

Source: Religion News Service

(RNS) — As a spiritual guide to those seeking to be better Christians, Pope Francis recognizes that many are tempted to follow the wrong paths to holiness. These are not bad people following the path of sin, but good people getting lost in the woods without a map. Pope Francis believes that it is especially important to warn Christians of two false paths to holiness.

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In Chapter 2 of “Gaudete et Exsultate,” an apostolic exhortation released in March, Pope Francis explains that these are not new temptations. Christians through the centuries have been so tempted, and spiritual writers have labeled these false paths Gnosticism and Pelagianism. These are old temptations repackaged for a new age.

(See my earlier column for my treatment of Chapter 1 of “Gaudete et Exsultate.”)

In Gnosticism, perfection is measured by information and knowledge or by some special experience, not by one’s charity. The Gnostic takes pride in understanding everything, in having special knowledge.

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