PRESOV, Slovakia, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Pope Francis said on Tuesday that the cross should not be used as a political symbol and warned against Christians trying to be triumphalist, in an apparent criticism of the use of religion for partisan ends.
Francis flew to the city of Presov, in eastern Slovakia, where he presided at a long service known as a Divine Liturgy, a Byzantine rite used by Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
The pope wove his homily around the theme of Christian identity, saying crosses and crucifixes were often used superficially by Christians.
Speaking to about 30,000 worshippers, he said many Christians had crucifixes or crosses around their necks, on walls in their homes, in their cars and in their pockets but had no real relationship with Jesus.
“What good is this, unless we stop to look at the crucified Jesus and open our hearts to him,” he said. “Let us not reduce the cross to an object of devotion, much less…