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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Reach Out and Touch the Poor Pope Francis Says in Lenten Message

Pope Francis called for a fair distribution of wealth and equal access to education and health care on Tuesday in a Lenten Message where he urged people to reach out and touch "the poverty of our brothers". In his message for the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter he also said Christians should help those suffering from moral poverty such as the thrall of alcohol, drugs, gambling and pornography. During Lent which begins on March 5 this year Christians are called on to carry out acts of self-denial and help those less fortunate. Francis known as the slum pope said the wounds of poverty disfigure the face of humanity and were crying out to be healed. He again called on the wealthy to share their good fortune to not be blind to the needs of others and not to practice superficial solidarity or vain displays of self-denial. Pope Francis said material poverty and moral destitution were often intertwined. "We Christians are called to confront the poverty of our brothers and sisters, to touch it, to make it our own and to take practical steps to alleviate it. When power, luxury and money become idols they take priority over the need for a fair distribution of wealth. Our conscience thus need to be converted to justice, equality, simplicity and sharing. How many people no longer see meaning in life or prospects for the future, how many have lost hope! and how many are plunged into this destitution by unjust social conditions, by unemployment which takes away their dignity as breadwinners and by lack of equal access to education and health care." He defined moral destitution as slavery to vice and sin including alcohol, drugs, gambling and pornography. In such cases moral destitution can be considered impending suicide. Pope Francis has in the past attacked unfettered capitalism as a "New Tyranny" and has said huge salaries and bonuses were symptoms of an economy based on greed and inequality.      
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