Christians must adapt as times change, protected by their unwavering faith in Jesus, Pope Francis said on Friday, quoted by Vatican Radio.
“Times are changing and we Christians must change continuously," Francis said in his homily during mass at the Vatican's Santa Marta residence, where he lives.
"We must change whilst remaining fixed to our faith in Jesus Christ, fixed to the truth of the Gospel but we must adapt our attitude continuously according to the signs of the times," Francis added.
"Do this freely, without fear,” he said.
He warned Christians against succumbing to conformism and the comfort of doing nothing.
"Our job is to look at what is happening within us, discern our feelings, our thoughts and what is happening around us and discern the signs of the times – through silence, reflection and prayer,” Francis stated.
The pontiff's comments came amid the ongoing Vatican summit on the family, which has been grappling with flashpoint issue such as the Catholic Church's stance on divorcees, people who remarry and gays.
The three-week meeting, which ends this weekend, is unlikely to change Catholic doctrine on the family but is focussing instead on how the Church's teachings can be adapted to modern lifestyles, observers say.
Nearly 300 Catholic church leaders have been attending the synod on the family, the most highly anticipated meeting since the Second Vatican Council half a century ago.