Selfish, materialistic lifestyles help fuel poverty, pope says in message
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Poverty is the result of people’s selfishness; it is not the “fate” or the fault of the poor, said Pope Francis.
“Unless we choose to become poor by imparting wealth, worldly power, and vanity, we can never lay down our lives in love; we will live a fragmented existence, full of good intentions but ineffective in transforming the world, ”the Pope said in a statement. message for world day of the poor.
“We must therefore open ourselves decisively to the grace of Christ, which can make us witnesses of his boundless charity and restore credibility to our presence in the world”, declared the Pope in the message dated June 13, feast of valentine’s day. Antoine de Padoue, patron of the poor. The Vatican released the message on June 14.
World Day of the Poor, celebrated on the 33rd Sunday in ordinary time each year, will be celebrated on November 14 of this year and will focus on one verse: “The poor you will always have with you” (Mk 14: 7).
However, people should never become indifferent knowing that there will always be poverty in the world and among their neighbors, the Pope said.
Jesus always sided with the poor and “shared their lot,” he said.
“This is a powerful lesson for her followers of all ages,” he said, as she calls on people to engage directly in “a mutual sharing of life” with the poor, who are not “ outside our communities, but brothers and sisters whose sufferings we must participate in an effort to alleviate their difficulties and marginalization, restore their lost dignity and ensure their necessary social integration.
“Mutual sharing creates a fraternity” that lasts, strengthens solidarity and lays the foundations necessary to achieve justice, he said. Almsgiving, on the other hand, is only occasional and “risks gratifying those who perform it and may be demeaning to those who receive it”.
Among the many saints who have lived this mutual sharing with the poor, he said, is Saint Damien of Molokai, who died of Hansen’s disease in 1889 after spending the last 16 years of his life caring for people. with the disease, who were in permanent quarantine. in Kalaupapa on the Hawaiian island of Molokai.
“His testimony is most current today, marked by the coronavirus pandemic,” said the Pope, adding that the grace of God is at work in “all those who, without fanfare, spend themselves for the poorest , sharing with them in a concrete way. “
A disciple of Christ chooses not to accumulate “earthly treasures, which give the illusion of a security that is in reality fragile and fleeting. It requires a willingness to be liberated from whatever is preventing us from achieving true happiness and bliss, in order to recognize what is enduring, what cannot be destroyed by anyone or anything, ”said the Pope Francis.
In addition, Christians must recognize all the different and “excessive forms of moral and social disorder that generate ever new forms of poverty,” he said.
Unfortunately, he said, there is a growing notion that the poor are responsible for their condition, and they are “an intolerable burden on an economic system centered on the interests of a privileged few groups.”
An economic system that chooses or completely ignores ethical principles and “unscrupulous economic and financial actors, devoid of humanitarian sense and social responsibility” all contribute to creating “inhuman conditions for people already in precarious situations”, he said. -he declares.
“Individualistic lifestyles are complicit in the generation of poverty and often make the poor bear responsibility for their condition. Yet poverty is not the result of fate; it is the result of selfishness, ”said the Pope, which is why development and policies must value the capacities and participation of everyone, especially the poor.
Christ can be found in the poor and, therefore, their material poverty “should motivate us to creative planning, aimed at increasing the freedom necessary to live a fulfilling life according to the capacities of each person,” the Pope said.
World Day of the Poor, he said, should help local churches to evangelize by personally meeting the poor wherever they are.
“We cannot wait for the poor to knock on our door; we urgently need to reach them in their homes, in hospitals and nursing homes, in the streets and in the dark corners where they sometimes hide, in shelters and reception centers, ”Pope Francis said. “It is important to understand how they are feeling, what they are going through and what their heart desires.”
Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, told reporters that the council is developing new ways to involve as many people as possible in World Day of the Poor as control measures of the pandemic are evolving.
The Pope will celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on November 14, but the Council cannot yet say how many people will attend and / or what other activities will take place in the Vatican. Before the pandemic, the Pope would have lunch with thousands of Rome’s poor and the Vatican would set up medical tents and mobile clinics for free services. Last year 5,000 food packages and 350,000 masks were distributed to people in need.
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