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Why is Pope Francis Praising Poverty, Which He Condemns?

Pope Francis delivers Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2015. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO
Pope Francis delivers Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2015. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO

Pope Francis started ad libbing in Havana, and as often happens, when he speaks from the heart, confusion followed. Attending evening prayers with a group of priests, seminarians, monks and nuns, he went off script and spoke passionately about poverty. The transcript of his remarks are here.

While the pope’s unplanned comments are inspiring and moving, they could be open to misunderstanding, for he praised poverty in glowing terms. “Our Holy Mother Church is poor” the pope said. “God wants her poor as he wanted our Mother Mary poor. Love poverty as a mother. I simply suggest to you, if one of you would like to ask himself, ‘How is my spirit of poverty? How is my interior detachment?’ I think this can be good for our consecrated life, our priestly life. After all, let us not forget that it is the first of the Beatitudes. Happy are the poor in spirit, those who are not attached to riches, to the powers of this world.”

Pope Francis seemed to be praising poverty for its own sake and even making a virtue of poverty, leading social media wags to wonder, “is this the Catholic church’s position? Do they think poverty is a good thing? Are they teaching that the poor must just shut up and accept their lot and be humble? Is that why there is still so much poverty in Catholic countries?”

Read more at Aleteia.org…

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