What is Pope Francis teaching the poor?

I have begun to ponder the question: What is Pope Francis teaching the poor? What is Pope Francis telling us to teach the poor?

Pope Francis’ love of the poor is widely understood as is his call in Evangelii Gaudium to aid the poor. According to Pope Francis, the poor are the central focus of the Church and the Church is in large part a teaching institution.

So I am wondering: what is Pope Francis teaching the poor?

(Citations from Evangelii Gaudium would be most appreciated.)

That they also have dignity and are God’s children…

True, of course. But I am searching for moral instruction specifically.

The Pope has chosen to educate the Church based on teaching the wealthiest first. It’s a style of moral teaching known as ‘trickle-down’. Kidding, kidding, TOTALLY kidding. :smiley:

I love Pope Francis. :slight_smile:

Perhaps the moral instruction is for those of us who do not do enough to help.


Agreed. I think his teaching is more directed at those who are NOT poor, to instruct them in their Christian obligation of charity and compassion.

Well said, Dorothy and David. And I suspect that includes all of us!

Do not think it is quite clear yet what the moral issue is. Yes, we are equal in God’s eyes but on earth we cannot embrace socialism and must be careful to not endorse it. I am watching and waiting. :shrug: We cannot break the laws and aid and abet illegal aliens even if the church instructs us to so. I am watching and waiting. :shrug:

I don’t think the Holy Father is teaching the poor, nor telling others what to teach the poor. Rather he is guiding those of us who are not poor in how to deal humanely and compassionately with the poor as Jesus would want.

So that does not include teaching? I can’t imagine not teaching my children and calling that love.

Neofight is simply stating that the Pope is teaching (or reminding us) to consider the poor.

Revisiting your question, I wonder if we went slightly gone off course in that many of Pope Francis’ messages have been to the poor of spirit, love and/or faith. For those (irrespective of their financial circumstances), he is teaching them through his homilies etc to open their hearts to Jesus for salvation and to follow His teachings. He is also teaching all of us to remember to treat every human being as a brother or sister.

Those who live in physical poverty receive the same message, and God-willing also receive practical help through the gifts donated by those who have become rich in love for Jesus.


Teaching others to be kind and to recognize the human dignity of your children is a loving act.

This is a fair point. Certainly it is not only the materially poor who feel hopeless and unloved.

But I think my quesiton still applies. Other than giving lessons in self-esteem (God loves you), what is the Pope teaching the poor in spirit?

As a parent I would put that way down on my list of responsibilities. First and formost my teaching is directed at my children.

(Now I am not suggesting that parenting and pontificating are the same but I am trying to understand the Pope’s teaching and I am using my role as a parent in that regard. I am assuming, of course, that Pope Francis is pope of the poor as well as the rich.)

Obviously, the Pope continues to teach all Catholics the universal moral teachings of the Church.

But as we see in the prophets and the Lord Himself, sometimes it is appropriate to recognize the injustice inflicted on the suffering and focus the moral teaching on those who can help alleviate that suffering.

The humble will be exalted and the exalted will be humbled, and all that.

Are there particular moral teachings that you believe the Pope should be emphasizing and aiming specifically at the poor?


I have not read Pope Francis’ biographies. If anyone has, perhaps they might share something relevant from his days in Argentina when his responsibilities were narrower.

I am trying to see this in a different way, but this come across to me as a little bit petulant. It reminds me too much of one of my daughters complaining because I asked her do something. ‘Why do I have to do it? What about (insert sister’s name here)?’ Except this is a little more sophisticated. It is more like: ‘Why should I have to do the dishes? Aren’t you being unfair to my sisters by not giving them this character building chore.’

I would like to find out that I am wrong about that. Out of curiosity, what teaching do you think that Pope Francis should directly teach the poor and the poor specifically that he hasn’t addressed in his teachings that apply to everyone?

I won’t fault you for your suspicion but why not indulge the question? Do you think it an unworthy or improper question?

(If you gave instruction to your more successful child and only material support and self-esteem to the other, what might she think?)

I think it is safe to say that throughout the history of the church there have been those who taught the poor. Jesus spoke primarily to the poor. The early church was centered on the poor. When I was growing up Catholic schools instructed the poor many still do.

And now we have a pope best known for his love of the poor calling us into the service of the poor.

I can safely say that I find many opportunities to give advice and instruction in my daily activities, particularly when I encounter others with less experience in various subjects. But I have never tried my hand at teaching the poor.

I suggest that you read Evangli Gaudium (vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium_en.html#II.%E2%80%82The_inclusion_of_the_poor_in_society) where Pope Francis advocates on behalf of the poor. He teaches to the poor through living and speaking the faith, others go out to the most miserable parts of the world and start schools and hospitals etc. The Church provides more schools than any other organisation in the world. I have put a couple of quotes from Evangli Gaudium below. The most interesting (to my mind) is the fact that Pope Francis actually said we have much to learn from the poor (I underlined and in bold).

  1. Sometimes it is a matter of hearing the cry of entire peoples, the poorest peoples of the earth, since “peace is founded not only on respect for human rights, but also on respect for the rights of peoples”.[154] Sadly, even human rights can be used as a justification for an inordinate defense of individual rights or the rights of the richer peoples. With due respect for the autonomy and culture of every nation, we must never forget that the planet belongs to all mankind and is meant for all mankind; the mere fact that some people are born in places with fewer resources or less development does not justify the fact that they are living with less dignity.
  1. Yet we desire even more than this; our dream soars higher. We are not simply talking about ensuring nourishment or a “dignified sustenance” for all people, but also their “general temporal welfare and prosperity”.[159] This means education, access to health care, and above all employment, for it is through free, creative,
    participatory and mutually supportive labour that human beings express and enhance the dignity of their lives. A just wage enables them to have adequate access to all the other goods which are destined for our common use.
  1. Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society. This demands that we be docile and attentive to the cry of the poor and to come to their aid. A mere glance at the Scriptures is enough to make us see how our gracious Father wants to hear the cry of the poor: “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them… so I will send you…” (Ex 3:7-8, 10).
  1. For the Church, the option for the poor is primarily a theological category rather than a cultural, sociological, political or philosophical one. God shows the poor “his first mercy”.[163] This divine preference has consequences for the faith life of all Christians, since we are called to have “this mind… which was in Jesus Christ” (Phil 2:5). Inspired by this, the Church has made an option for the poor which is understood as a “special form of primacy in the exercise of Christian charity, to which the whole tradition of the Church bears witness”.[164] This option – as Benedict XVI has taught – “is implicit in our Christian faith in a God who became poor for us, so as to enrich us with his poverty”.[165] This is why I want a Church which is poor and for the poor. They have much to teach us. Not only do they share in the sensus fidei, but in their difficulties they know the suffering Christ. We need to let ourselves be evangelized by them. The new evangelization is an invitation to acknowledge the saving power at work in their lives and to put them at the centre of the Church’s pilgrim way. We are called to find Christ in them, to lend our voice to their causes, but also to be their friends, to listen to them, to speak for them and to embrace the mysterious wisdom which God wishes to share with us through them.

As one poster said, the Pope (and the Church) teaches the same message to all. I am getting confused about the purpose of your question given that people have answered it from different angles but unless you elaborate, we are not going to understand what you really mean by it.

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