Pope Francis warns Church could end up just an NGO

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In this image made from video provided by CTV, Pope Francis celebrates his inaugural Mass with cardinals inside the Sistine Chapel, at the Vatican, Thursday, March 14, 2013. AP PHOTO/CTV

VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis on Thursday warned cardinals at his first Mass since being elected that the Catholic Church risked being reduced to a non-governmental organization unless it undergoes spiritual renewal.

Warning of the dangers of inaction, Francis told the cardinals that the Church could “end up a compassionate NGO,” using a word in Italian that can also mean “pitiful.”

“If we do not confess, if we do not pray to the Lord, we are praying to the Devil. When you do not confess to Jesus Christ, you are confessing to the worldliness of the Devil,” he said.

“Walking, building and confessing are not so easy. Sometimes there are tremors,” he said.

“I would like all of us after these days of grace to have the courage to walk in the presence of the Lord,” he said.

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