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Where Francis shed his robes -- Pope visits Assisi

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 4th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pope Francis has made a visit to the home of Saint Francis of Assisi and visited with the poor and sick while outlining a vision for a "Church of the Poor."

ASSISI, ITALY (Catholic Online) - Accompanied by an entourage of eight cardinals, Pope Francis appears to be using the visit to demonstrate the kind of Church he would like to see.

Pope Francis visited a hall where his namesake saint was said to have cast off his robes in a gesture of humility and there explained that he hoped to see a Church that was less hierarchical and less centered on the Vatican. He repeated his hope that he wanted the Catholic Church to be a "Church of the poor."

"The Church, all of us should divest ourselves of worldliness. Worldliness is a murderer because it kills souls, kills people, kills the Church. Without divesting ourselves, we would become pastry-shop Christians, like beautiful cakes and sweet things but not real Christians," he explained.

Pope Francis talked about how despite 800 years of change, the Church's mission has not changed. "Eight-hundred years have passed and times have changed, but the ideal of a missionary and poor Church is still more than valid," he told fellow visitors.

He also criticized a world that "does not care about the many people fleeing slavery, hunger, fleeing in search of freedom. And how many of them die as happened yesterday! Today is a day of tears."

The pontiff was referring specifically to the tragedy where hundreds of African migrants died when their boat burned, capsized and sank off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Pope Francis has repeatedly challenged bishops and others within the Church hierarchy to go out into the world, to meet people where they are, and to minister to them there. He has said we need to focus lesson divisive issues and more on simply doing good.

Saint Francis had a similar message, calling upon people to live in poverty and to perform acts of charity and kindness wherever they went. Saint Francis is today one of the most beloved saints of the Catholic Church and an undeniable influence on the current pope.

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Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)