Pope Francis warned the Roman Catholic church against hypocrisy on the issue of poverty, saying it was impossible to speak about the poor and the homeless and yet lead the “life of a pharaoh”. The comments were made in an interview with Straatnieuws, a Dutch newspaper published by homeless people, and came as the Vatican has been forced on the defensive after the publication of two books exposing greed and financial management at the heart of the church. The remarks appear to be a not-so-subtle jibe by Francis directed at his cardinals. “The church must speak with the truth and also with testimony: the testimony of the poor. If a believer speaks about poverty or about the homeless, and leads the life of a pharaoh: this can’t be done,” he told the newspaper. A separate report by Andrea Tornielli, a veteran Vatican reporter at the Italian newspaper La Stampa, who is working on a book with the pope to be released next year, said Francis was ready to take on the management of Vatican real estate, including apartments that have allegedly been undervalued by the agency that manages the properties. “It will change,” an unnamed source told Tornielli, in what could prove to be a messy new fight within the Vatican.
Vatican Radio has more from the interview:
The interview began with the Pope’s memories of his childhood home in Buenos Aires, “the street in which he grew up.” He recalled playing soccer as a child, and spoke about how everything in his neighbourhood was within walking distance. His memories of neighbours in Buenos Aires were the source of his personal commitment to the poor. Asked about the Church’s response to poverty, Pope Francis said, “Jesus came into the world homeless and was poor. Then the Church wants to embrace everyone, and say that everyone has a right to have a roof ‘over you’. In the popular movements they are working with three Spanish ‘t’s: trabajo (work), techo (house), and tierra (land). The Church preaches that every person has a right to these three t’s.” …Pope Francis said he wants a world without poverty: “We must continue to struggle for this.” But, he said, “I am a believer and I know that sin is always within us. And there is always human greed, the lack of solidarity, selfishness, which create poverty. For this reason, it seems to me a little difficult to imagine a world without poverty. . . . But we must always struggle, always, always.”
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