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At this morning’s papal Mass, Pope Francis asked rhetorically and bitterly,  “What do you think, that today human sacrifices are not made?” He added: “Many, many people make human sacrifices and there are laws that protect them.”

The statement sounds very much like he could be referring to the abortion of unborn children, which many Christians have referred to as the new human sacrifice to the gods of convenience, money, power and more.  That perspective is supported by some of the other talking points from this morning’s homily.

“Often, the people of God prefer to distance themselves from the Lord in favour of worldly proposals,” he said. “Worldliness is the root of evil and it can lead us to abandon our traditions and negotiate our loyalty to God who is always faithful.”

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Pope Francis warned against the desire to “be like everyone else” and what he called an “adolescent progressivism”.

“Lord,” the Pope prayed, “give me the discernment to recognize the subtle conspiracies of worldliness that lead us to negotiate our values and our faith.”

There are of course other interpretations, and another leading contender is that he was referring to Christians persecuted around the world today. During his Angelus address at noon, Pope Francis said, “In this moment, let us think of the many Christian brothers and sisters who suffer persecution for their faith. There are many of them. Perhaps more than in the first centuries.” 

Video report from Rome Reports here.

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