Vatican Information Service is reporting on the Pope’s general audience which took place in Paul VI Hall on Wednesday of this week. His topic was a continuation of a cycle of catechesis dedicated to Christian hope, with Wednesday’s address devoted to discussing the issue of false idols that do nothing more than generate false hope.
During the audience, he mentioned passing through a park one day in Buenos Aires where he saw lots of small tables set up with where fortune-tellers and tarot readers were consulted by people who were standing in line to speak with them.
“It was always the same story: there is a woman in your life, there are dark times ahead, but everything will turn out well … and then you pay,” the pope recounted.
“And this gives you security? It is the security of, if I may say so, the stupid. Going to a clairvoyant or a card reader: this is an idol! This is an idol, and when we become too attached, we buy false hopes. While that which is the hope of gratuitousness, brought to us by Jesus Christ Who freely gave His life for us, at times we do not trust very much in it”.
This is why Sacred Scripture warns us to be on guard against falling victim to the false hopes of the world by “unmasking their uselessness and demonstrating them as meaningless,” he said.
But when times get tough, people are often tempted to turn to fortune-tellers and their ilk for fleeting consolation.
“At times we search for them in a god that can bend to our requests and magically intervene to change reality and make it as we want it to be; an idol, indeed, that in itself can do nothing, that is impotent and deceitful.”
Sadly, people are too often “happier to go to idols than to go to the Lord. We are far more content with the ephemeral hope that this false idol gives us, rather than the great sure hope the Lord gives.”
He goes on to warn: “. . .[I]f we place our hope in idols, we will become like them – empty images with hands that do not touch, feet that do not walk, mouths that are unable to speak. There is nothing more to say, one becomes incapable of helping, of changing things, incapable of smiling, of giving, incapable of love.”