2013-05-20 16:05:16

Pope joins rally of Church movements and associations

20 May, 2013 - Pope Francis joined some 200,000 members of Catholic movements and associations from around the world at a prayer vigil Saturday evening in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square, sharing with them some of his personal experiences. The rally included music, speeches and testimonies aimed at encouraging Catholics to genuine practice of faith. In unscripted comments in answers to questions by four people, the Argentine Pontiff passionately narrated everything from the memory of his grandmother to his decision to become a priest, from political corruption to his worries about a Church that too often closes in on itself instead of looking outward. "If we step outside of ourselves, we will find poverty," he said, repeating his call for Catholics to do more to seek out those on the fringes of society who need help the most," he said. "Today, and it breaks my heart to say it, finding a homeless person who has died of cold, is not news. Today, the news is scandals, that is news, but the many children who don't have food - that's not news. This is grave. We can't rest easy while things are this way," he said. "We cannot become starched Christians, too polite, who speak of theology calmly over tea. We have to become courageous Christians and seek out those who need help most," he said. To laughter from the crowd, he described how he prays each day before an altar before going to bed. "Sometimes I doze off, the fatigue of the day makes you fall asleep, but God understands," he said.
During Saturday’s rally the 76-year old Pontiff also lamented that investment losses by banks trigger more alarm in the economic crisis than the struggle of people to feed their families. “If investments, the banks plunge, this is a tragedy, if families are hurting, if they have nothing to eat, well, this is nothing, this is our crisis today,'' Francis told the crowd, insisting that the true crisis is one of moral values. Pope Francis said the Church “opposes this mentality'' and pledged that it will be dedicated to “the poor people.”
During the prayer vigil, Francis embraced one of the speakers, Paul Bhatti, whose brother Shahbaz, a Pakistani government minister, was assassinated in 2011 after urging reform of a blasphemy law in Pakistan that had targeted Christians. But the suffering of Europeans caught in the continent's grip of joblessness and other economic woes also dominated the Pope's concerns. `'It's not just an economic crisis,'' but an existential problem depressing morale, Pope Francis told the rally Saturday. `'It's a deep crisis. We just cannot worry about ourselves ... close ourselves in a sense of helplessness.'' The pontiff urged people to help the needy, especially on the margins of societies. (Source: Reuter/AP)

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