Speaking in the town of Assisi today, Pope Francis is imploring the faithful to divest themselves of all worldliness to avoid becoming like “beautiful cakes and sweet things” instead of real Christians.
The BBC is reporting that Pope Francis visited the hometown of his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, along with the eight cardinals he has been meeting with the last three days to discuss a program of reform for the Vatican.
Sitting in the same hall where St. Francis cast off his wealthy clothes and assumed a new life of poverty for Christ, the pope addressed a room full of the poor.
“This is a good occasion to invite the church to strip itself of worldliness,” he said. “There is a danger that threatens everyone in the church, all of us. The danger of worldliness. It leads us to vanity, arrogance and pride.”
He was so moved the sick and impoverished people before him that he quickly dispensed of his planned speech and spoke in his usual loving and familiar way about why the Church and its followers must strive to rid themselves of earthly concerns.
“The Church, all of us should divest ourselves of worldliness. Worldliness is a murderer because it kills souls, kills people, kills the Church,” he said.
“Without divesting ourselves, we would become pastry-shop Christians, like beautiful cakes and sweet things but not real Christians.”
After listening to stories of some of the poor people in the room, he was visibly moved.
“Many of you have been stripped by this savage world that does not give employment, that does not help, that does not care if there are children in the world who are dying of hunger, does not care if so many families have nothing to eat,” he said.
He decried a world “that does not care about many people who have to flee poverty and hunger, flee seeking freedom and many times they find death, as happened yesterday in Lampedusa”.
This last reference was regarding the sinking of a migrant boat off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa yesterday in which 300 people are believed to have died.
In reference to the tragedy, the pope said sadly: “This is a day for crying.”
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