Catholic Diocese of Cleveland

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Poverty requires action, not empty words, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – People cannot sit back and be indifferent or unresponsive to growing poverty in the world as a privileged minority accumulates “ostentatious wealth,” Pope Francis said.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, speaks at the Vatican June 13 about the theme of the first World Day of the Poor, to be celebrated Nov. 19. He said Pope Francis envisioned the day as a way for the whole church to reflect on the Gospel meaning of poverty. (CNS photo/Robert Duncan) See POPE-POOR-MESSAGE June 13, 2017.

“God created the heavens and the earth for all; yet sadly some have erected barriers, walls and fences, betraying the original gift meant for all humanity, with none excluded,” the pope said in a message for the first World Day of the Poor.

The newly established commemoration and the period of reflection and action preceding it are meant to help Christians develop and maintain a more consistent and sincere lifestyle built on sharing, simplicity and the essential truths of the Gospel, the pope said in the message released June 13, the feast of St. Anthony of Padua.

The World Day of the Poor — to be marked each year on the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary time — will be celebrated Nov. 19 this year and will focus on the Apostle John’s call to love “not with words, but with deeds.”

There are so many forms of material and spiritual poverty that poison people’s hearts and harm their dignity, the pope said in his message, and “we must respond with a new vision of life and society.”

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