Pope Francis admitted on Sunday to sometimes having "darkness" cloud his own faith, while warning against "Christian parrots" who pay lip service to the church without acting on its values.
"At certain times, I have also encountered moments of darkness in my faith and that faith decreased a lot, but with a little bit of time we rediscover it," the Pontiff told parishioners after saying mass in a village near Rome.
"Some days we can't see faith, everything is in darkness.
"Yesterday, for example, I christened 13 children in areas devastated by earthquakes and there was a father who had lost his wife, and we ask ourselves if this man can have faith.
"We understand that there is darkness, we must respect this darkness of the soul. We don't study to get faith, we receive it like a gift."
Francis also urged believers to spend more time talking with their family.
"If I say I'm Catholic and every Sunday I go to mass but then I don't talk to my parents, I don't help my grandparents, the poor, I don't visit the sick, then there's no point," said Francis.
"In that way, we're nothing but a Christian parrot: words, words, words."