Pope Francis Says Church Must Rid Itself of ‘Worldliness’
Posted by sage on October 5, 2013 / Comments Off
The Telegraph – October 4, 2013
Speaking in the hall where the medieval saint is said to have taken off his robes in a gesture of humility, the Pope said the Church should also “divest” itself and return to spiritual basics.
“The Church, all of us should divest ourselves of worldliness,” a visibly emotional pope said, adding: “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 said.
He also referred to the migrant shipwreck tragedy off the Italian island of Lampedusa on Thursday in which 111 people are confirmed to have died and scores more are missing.
The world “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,” he said.
“Let us hear the cry of those who weep, suffer or die because of violence, terrorism or war in the holy land Saint Francis loved so much, in Syria, in the entire Middle East, in the world,” the pope said in his homily.
The Pope became the first to adopt the name of St Francis when he was elected in March, saying he was inspired by the saint’s humility and his teachings on peace and protecting God’s creation.
On his visit, the pope met with many poor and disabled people being aided by Catholic charities.
Some 100,000 pilgrims and over 1,000 journalists followed the pope as he visited the sites associated with the saint in the picturesque hill town of Assisi in Umbria in central Italy.
The saint, who was born in 1182 and died in 1226, famously renounced earthly riches and donned a sackcloth to live like and for the poor.
The Pope has called for a “poor Church for the poor” and has said he wants to overhaul the 2,000-year-old institution, making it less “Vatican-centric” and closer to ordinary people.
Before a gathering of thousands of young people later in the day, he stressed the importance of marriage, the family and defended the celibacy of priests.
He singled out today’s “temporary culture” as a negative influence, and said society privileged individual rights, while setting up a family was perceived as risky.
In a more light-hearted moment, the pope reminded married couples it was never good to go to bed angry.
“Argue as much as you like, even if the plates fly that is fine, but never end the day without making peace.”
The Pope was visiting Assisi with the eight cardinals from around the world he has handpicked to advise him on reforming the Vatican, giving more power to local churches and make the Church less hierarchical.
The head of Italy’s crisis-hit government, Prime Minister Enrico Letta, was in the first row of the crowd attending his homily.
St Francis, who is also the patron saint of Italy, was said to have heard God tell him: “Francis, go and repair my house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins” – a reference to the Church.
That is the same message the cardinals expressed for the new pope at the dramatic conclave in which he was elected earlier this year, following a wave of financial scandals and child abuse cases.
The Pope’s visit to Assisi is different from that of his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI because it is focused on the saint’s message of poverty rather than that of inter-religious peace.
The trip is the pope’s third in Italy after he visited the southern island of Lampedusa in July where he called for more tolerance of immigrants and Cagliari in Sardinia in September when he denounced “an idol called money”.
After completing his pilgrimage, the Pope left Assisi by helicopter for Rome.
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