Pope prepares for "poverty" visit to St. Francis town

“I want to talk about how the Church should take off its clothes, how in some way the Church should repeat the gesture of St. Francis,” the bishop of Assisi, Domenico Sorrentino, quoted the pope as telling him ahead of the historic visit.

Francis, who has called for a “poor Church for the poor”, has said he wants to overhaul the 2,000-year-old institution, making it less “Vatican-centric” and closer to ordinary people.

One of his proposals was to use abandoned monasteries and convents to house refugees and there are rumours that he could announce the abandonment of archaic clerical titles.

Francis has set up a new council of eight cardinals from around the world to advise him in an unprecedented experiment to make Church government more “horizontal” and less hierarchical.

The eight held their first closed-door meetings with the pope this week in which the Vatican said they discussed how to “refresh” the Church and they will accompany him during his visit to Assisi.


Does he really want a poor Church? Does he realize what would happen if the faithful stopped tithing?

Here’s a thought – let’s wait and see what he means by that in practice, before we panic.

I read what he said, (paraphrasing): “If we want to be rescued from the shipwreck, it is required that we follow the path of poverty, which is not that of misery - this has to be fought-, but it´s to know how to share, be more solidary with the poor, trust more in God and less in our human strengths…”

So, in my opinion, as he has said several times in the past, he was not referring to give away your material posessions, but to be more empathetic and humble.


I watched the entire service this morning on EWTN. It was absolutely beautiful. The countryside was gorgeous and it looked like the entire town showed up.

Just read an old post from Br. JR which I think fits perfectly in this thread

I really think Pope Francis would wholeheartedly agree :thumbsup:

Br. JR, we can always count on you for wise and enlightened remarks :slight_smile:

For a lot of people, I think, the problem is not so much in deciding to be charitable, but exactly how to be.

We all know we’re supposed to tithe, more or less. But how does that work exactly? What if we give 5% to the Church, 15% to keep our kids in Catholic schools, and 1% to some missionary society? Is that sufficient, or are we chisling?

What if we are Bill Gates? Is tithing even close to being enough? One would tend not to think so.

What if we encourage family formation of our own adult children by spending 20% to help them with housing, food, auto expenses, perhaps additional education? And what if we can live a pretty nearly middle class existence without frills if we do that? Are we worshippers of mammon?

What if we live well below our means and pour the surplus into our business which employs 20 people?

Maybe there’s nothing anybody can really answer definitively with any of that, as circumstances vary. But I think there is a great deal of confusion about this whole subject.

Possibly in the future Pope Francis will clarify this for us. One thinks it would be good if he did.

Do I need new when I can buy used? Could I use the monetary difference to help those in need?

Must I eat at restaurants several times a week or month? Could I use the money saved by eating at home to help those in need?

Must I sell what I no longer need or can it be donated to help those in need?

Am I engaging with the poverty-stricken around me?

When I have excess, do I wallow in it or share it with those in need?

Am I using not only the seasons of Lent and Advent but the entire liturgical year to consider those in poverty as my equal counterparts to whom I have a personal responsibility?

These are easy questions that one can ask and answer daily. I don’t think the Pope needs to provide much more clarity – I think we have the tools and intelligence to meaningfully apply what he’s suggested. The more we become mired in the specifics, the more we’re likely to rationalize inaction. (Of course, if folks want to dwell in the extreme to ensure they’re behaving morally, they should feel free to do as this piece suggests, though I think it’s beyond what Pope Francis has called us to do: nytimes.com/1999/09/05/magazine/the-singer-solution-to-world-poverty.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm)

Some thoughts on the poverty from a Catholic who has grown weary of the constant focus on the poor by the Catholic Church…

Who defines what is poverty? Who defines who is poor?

Today the poor live better than some kings lived only but a few centuries ago.

The working poor are the people that I care about the most.

Every day the working poor are working very hard to pay high taxes. These are the unsung heroes that have no special interest group to lobby on their behalf. Many women have no choice but to work in order to pay for these high taxes. They’d rather be at home having children and raising them but now they just go to work to pay for the babies of other people.

The reality today is that most taxes go toward entitlements and social welfare programs that help the poor and the needy.

The indolent “poor” here in America have never had it better. 50% of people living in the USA are now on some form of government assistance.Those of us that work for a living have become slaves to the poor. The very same poor that get free cell phones from the government. All the basics of life are provided to the poor, free housing, free health care, free dental care, free schools, food stamps are given out as well. A single “poor” mother can earn an equivalent to $85,000 in benefits.

Here in America there is no excuse for generational poverty. Naturally anyone that comes here will be poor initially but eventually everyone can become part of the middle class if they work hard.

Regarding the “Church for the poor” comment from our dear Pope. The poor have access to all kinds of programs and charity from their local Catholic Churches and Diocese. There are more foodbanks now then ever as well. The Church should be for everyone not just the poor.

I object to the “social justice” notion that poor people and poverty itself should be put on some kind of pedestal. Poverty itself is evil and no virtue. God did not create us to be poor. He said be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth. Our goal should be to uplift people from the scourge of poverty, not to allow them to wallow in it and become dependent on others.

Unless you are joining a religious order, we shouldn’t be idolizing poverty in any way shape or form. Instead we should be promoting the values of opportunity, hard work, education and prosperity. The Old Testament and even the New Testament is full of examples and parables where prosperity, abundance, hard work and proper stewardship of resources are virtues not vices.

Everyone I know has been poor at some point in their life. Sure there are people who through no fault of their own have become disadvantaged and destitute; those are the people we should help, not the lazy. We are obligated to help orphans and widows too.

We should all read 2 Thessalonians 3:

6-9 Our orders—backed up by the Master, Jesus—are to refuse to have anything to do with those among you who are lazy and refuse to work the way we taught you. Don’t permit them to freeload on the rest. We showed you how to pull your weight when we were with you, so get on with it. We didn’t sit around on our hands expecting others to take care of us. In fact, we worked our fingers to the bone, up half the night moonlighting so you wouldn’t be burdened with taking care of us. And it wasn’t because we didn’t have a right to your support; we did. We simply wanted to provide an example of diligence, hoping it would prove contagious.

10-13 Don’t you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” And now we’re getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately—no excuses, no arguments—and earn their own keep. Friends, don’t slack off in doing your duty.

14-15 If anyone refuses to obey our clear command written in this letter, don’t let him get by with it. Point out such a person and refuse to subsidize his freeloading. Maybe then he’ll think twice. But don’t treat him as an enemy. Sit him down and talk about the problem as someone who cares.

Today St. Paul would be called “mean-spirited” but he spoke the truth.

I can’t even begin to fathom why you believe people focus too much on poverty or “idolize” it. :confused: And I certainly can’t fathom the drive to bring “entitlements” and “the lazy” into the conversation. This described approach to those in desperate need seems wholly uncharitable and it fails to consider the reality of poverty domestically and globally.

Just… :confused:

OK folks, loosen your hair curlers. Some of you are a little confused.

I’ll explain it in Franciscan terms.

There are things that I need.

There are things that I want.

I can have what I need.

Do I need a new car every three years?

Does my family need a new smartphone each time a new edition comes out?

Does every member of my family need a TV in his room or can we share?

Does everyone in my family need his or her own laptop or can we share?

Does my 16 yr old need a car, just because he’s old enough to drive? Does he even have a right to have something that expensive without doing anything to earn it, while others who work 50 hour weeks have to take the bus, because they can’t afford a used car?

Do I need to go on a cruise or can I go camping?

Do I need to pay for an expensive nursing home for my mom or dad, because it’s an inconvenience for me to have them in my home?

Do I need the best cut of meat or can we eat more frugally and probably more healthy food?

Do I need or do I want?

There is the difference.

What does his remarks have to do with tithing?

As usual… :clapping:

How do you tell the difference?

Even there we have room for wiggle.

Most places have public transportation. Do we need our own cars?

Most libraries have free computer usage. Do we need our own computers?

It comes down to convenience and the degree to which we want to put ourselves out.

The Churches greatest asset is that religious poverty which allows for spiritual growth with respect to God.

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