Quotations from Pope Francis

//Quotations from Pope Francis
Quotations from Pope Francis 2017-10-03T18:20:52+00:00

Quotations from Pope Francis

“Take care of God’s creation. But above all, take care of people in need.”
November 14, 2013; via Twitter


“The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home.”
May 24, 2015; Laudato Si, 13


“The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life.”
May 24, 2015; Laudato Si, 23


“There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind, without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever. Sadly, there is widespread indifference to such suffering, which is even now taking place throughout our world. Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded.”
May 24, 2015; Laudato Si, 25

“Even as the quality of available water is constantly diminishing, in some places there is a growing tendency, despite its scarcity, to privatize this resource, turning it into a commodity subject to the laws of the market. Yet access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights. Our world has a grave social debt towards the poor who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity.”
May 24, 2015; Laudato Si, 25


“Human beings too are creatures of this world, enjoying a right to life and happiness, and endowed with unique dignity. So we cannot fail to consider the effects on people’s lives of environmental deterioration, current models of development and the throwaway culture.”
May 24, 2015; Laudato Si, 43


“A true ecological approach knows how to safeguard the environment and justice, hearing the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
April 22, 2016; via Twitter


“This lack of physical contact and encounter, encouraged at times by the disintegration of our cities, can lead to a numbing of conscience and to tendentious analyses which neglect parts of reality. At times this attitude exists side by side with a “green” rhetoric. Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
May 24, 2015; Laudato Si, 49

“Life can survive only because of the generosity of other lives.”
Tweet, June 10, 2017


“We cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in our communities, when so many people are waiting for the Gospel. It is not enough simply to open the door in welcome, but we must go out through that door and meet the people!”
July 27, 2013; Homily, Mass in Rio de Janiero during World Youth Day


“We are all jars of clay, fragile and poor, yet we carry within us an immense treasure.”
August 9, 2013; via Twitter


“Where we find hate and darkness, may we bring love and hope, in order to give a more human face to society.”
September 30, 2013; via Twitter


“Jesus teaches us to not be ashamed of touching human misery, of touching his flesh in our brothers and sisters who suffer.”
April 10, 2014; via Twitter


Like the Good Samarian, may we not be ashamed of touching the wounds of those who suffer, but try to heal them with concrete acts of love.
June 5, 2014; via Twitter


“Each one of us can be a bridge of encounter between diverse cultures and religions, a way to rediscover our common humanity.”
May 21, 2016; via Twitter

“The family constitutes the best ‘social capital.’ It cannot be replaced by other institutions. It needs to be helped and strengthened, lest we lose our proper sense of the services which society as a whole provides.”
Homily, July 6, 2015, Ecuador

“Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. We must unite our efforts to free the victims and stop this increasingly aggressive crime which threatens not only individuals but the basic values of society and of international security and justice, to say nothing of the economy, and the fabric of the family and our coexistence.”
Address to Ambassadors of the Holy See, December 12, 2013

“It is well known that present production is sufficient, and yet millions of persons continue to suffer and die from hunger, and this is a real scandal. We need, then, to find ways by which all may benefit from the fruits of the earth, not only to avoid the widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs, but above all because it is a question of justice, equality and respect for every human being.”
World Day of Peace, 2014


“It is a scandal that there is still hunger and malnutrition in the world! It is not a question of responding to immediate emergencies, but of addressing together, at all levels, a problem that challenges our personal and social conscience, in order to achieve a just and lasting solution.”
World Food Day, October 16, 2013


“When food is shared in a fair way, with solidarity, when no one is deprived, every community can meet the needs of the poorest.”
Papal Audience, May 2013


“Let us remember well, however, that whenever food is thrown out it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor, from the hungry!”
June 5, 2013, Address during General Audience in St. Peter’s Square


“This culture of waste has made us insensitive even to the waste and disposal of food, which is even more despicable when all over the world, unfortunately, many individuals and families are suffering from hunger and malnutrition.”
June 5, 2013, Address during General Audience in St. Peter’s Square


“Consumerism has accustomed us to waste. But throwing food away is like stealing it from the poor and hungry.”
June 7, 2013; via Twitter


“We cannot sleep peacefully while babies are dying of hunger and the elderly are without medical assistance.”
August 17, 2013; via Twitter


“It is a scandal that there is still hunger and malnutrition in the world! It is not just a question of responding to immediate emergencies, but of addressing together, at all levels, a problem that challenges our personal and social conscience, in order to achieve a just and lasting solution.”
October 16, 2013; Message for World Food Day 2013


We are in front of a global scandal of around one billion – one billion people who still suffer from hunger today. We cannot look the other way and pretend this does not exist. The food available in the world is enough to feed everyone.
December 9, 2013; Message in support of Caritas Internationalis initiative to end global hunger


Let us leave a spare place at our table: a place for those who lack the basics, who are alone.
January, 7, 2014; via Twitter

“Let us look around: how many wounds are inflicted upon humanity by evil! Wars, violence, economic conflicts that hit the weakest, greed for money, power, corruption, divisions, crimes against human life and against creation.”
March 24, 2013; Homily, Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica


“This happens today: if the investments in the banks fall slightly… a tragedy… what can be done? But if people die of hunger, if they have nothing eat, if they have poor health, it does not matter! This is our crisis today!”
May 18, 2013; Address on the Vigil of Pentecost, Vatican City


“This “culture of waste” tends to become the common mentality that infects everyone. Human life, the person is no longer perceived as a primary value to be respected and protected, especially if poor or disabled, if not yet useful – such as the unborn child – or no longer needed – such as the elderly. This culture of waste has made us insensitive even to the waste and disposal of food, which is even more despicable when all over the world, unfortunately, many individuals and families are suffering from hunger and malnutrition.”
June 5, 2013; Address during General Audience in St. Peter’s Square


If we have found in Jesus meaning for our own lives, we cannot be indifferent to those who are suffering and sad.
June 22, 2013; via Twitter


How many of us, myself included, have lost our bearings; we are no longer attentive to the world in which we live; we don’t care; we don’t protect what God created for everyone, and we end up unable even to care for one another!
July 8, 2013; Homily, Mass in Lampedusa, Italy


“Lord have mercy! Too often we are blinded by our comfortable lives, and refuse to see those dying at our doorstep.”
October 12, 2013; via Twitter


“Too often we participate in the globalization of indifference. May we strive instead to live global solidarity.”
October 26, 2013; via Twitter


“How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses 2 points?”
November 24, 2013; Evangelii Gaudium, 53


“There is so much indifference in the face of suffering. May we overcome indifference with concrete acts of charity.”
June 20, 2014; via Twitter


“Our life is made up of many things, a torrent of news, of many problems: all this leads us not to see, not to be aware of the problems of the people who are near us. Indifference seems to be a medicine that protects us from involvement, and becomes a way of being more relaxed. This is indifference. But this non-involvement is a way of defending our selfishness, and saddens us. The challenge of reality also requires the capacity for dialogue, to build bridges instead of walls. This is the time for dialogue, not for the defense of opposition and rigidity. I invite you to face ‘the challenge of finding and sharing the mystique of living together, of mingling and encounter, of embracing and supporting one another, of stepping into this flood tide which, while chaotic, can become a genuine experience of fraternity, a caravan of solidarity, a sacred pilgrimage.’”
November 29, 2015; Video message to 5th Festival of the Social Doctrine of the Church

“Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women, and men who leave or are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more.”
World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 2014


“It is important to view migrants not only on the basis of their status as regular or irregular, but above all as people whose dignity is to be protected and who are capable of contributing to progress and the general welfare. This is especially the case when they responsibly assume their obligations towards those who receive them, gratefully respecting the material and spiritual heritage of the host country, obeying its laws and helping with its needs. Migrations cannot be reduced merely to their political and legislative aspects, their economic implications and the concrete coexistence of various cultures in one territory. All these complement the defense and promotion of the human person, the culture of encounter, and the unity of peoples, where the Gospel of mercy inspires and encourages ways of renewing and transforming the whole of humanity.”
World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 2016


We pray for a heart which will embrace immigrants. God will judge us upon how we have treated the most needy.
July 8, 2013; via Twitter


“These brothers and sisters of ours were trying to escape difficult situations to find some serenity and peace; they were looking for a better place for themselves and their families, but instead they found death. How often do such people fail to find understanding, fail to find acceptance, fail to find solidarity. And their cry rises up to God!”
July 8, 2013; Homily, Mass in Lampedusa, Italy


“While it is true that migrations often reveal failures and shortcomings on the part of States and the international community, they also point to the aspiration of humanity to enjoy a unity marked by respect for differences, by attitudes of acceptance and hospitality which enable an equitable sharing of the world’s goods, and by the protection and the advancement of the dignity and centrality of each human being.”
August 5, 2013; Message on World Day of Migrants and Refugees


“While encouraging the development of a better world, we cannot remain silent about the scandal of poverty in its various forms. Violence, exploitation, discrimination, marginalization, restrictive approaches to fundamental freedoms, whether of individuals or of groups: these are some of the chief elements of poverty which need to be overcome. Often these are precisely the elements which mark migratory movements, thus linking migration to poverty.”
August 5, 2013; Message on World Day of Migrants and Refugees


“Migrants present a particular challenge for me, since I am the pastor of a Church without frontiers, a Church which considers herself mother to all. For this reason, I exhort all countries to a generous openness which, rather than fearing the loss of local identity, will prove capable of creating new forms of cultural synthesis. How beautiful are those cities which overcome paralyzing mistrust, integrate those who are different and make this very integration a new factor of development! How attractive are those cities which, even in their architectural design, are full of spaces which connect, relate and favor the recognition of others!”
November 24, 2013; Evangelii Gaudium, 210


“Grant that migrants in search of a dignified life may find acceptance and assistance. May tragedies like those we have witnessed this year, with so many deaths at Lampedusa, never occur again!”
December 25, 2013; Urbi et Orbi message, Christmas Day 2013


“Likewise, we cannot but be moved by the many refugees seeking minimally dignified living conditions, who not only fail to find hospitality, but often, tragically, perish in moving from place to place.”
January 17, 2014; Message to the Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum


“There are agencies and organizations on the international, national and local level which work strenuously to serve those seeking a better life through migration. Notwithstanding their generous and laudable efforts, a more decisive and constructive action is required, one which relies on a universal network of cooperation based on safeguarding the dignity and centrality of every human person.”
September 3, 2014; Message leading up to the commemoration of World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2015


“Solidarity with migrants and refugees must be accompanied by the courage and creativity necessary to develop, on a world-wide level, a more just and equitable financial and economic order, as well as an increasing commitment to peace, the indispensable condition for all authentic progress.”
September 3, 2014; Message leading up to the commemoration of World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2015


“In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants.”
September 24, 2015; Address before a Joint Meeting of the U.S. Congress


“Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us.”
September 24, 2015; Address before a Joint Meeting of the U.S. Congress


“Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal.”
September 24, 2015; Address before a Joint Meeting of the U.S. Congress


“Refugees are not numbers, they are people who have faces, names, stories, and need to be treated as such.”
April 16, 2016; via Twitter

“How marvelous it would be if, at the end of the day, each of us could say: today I have performed an act of charity towards others!”
April 29, 2013; via Twitter


“To love God and neighbor is not something abstract, but profoundly concrete: it means seeing in every person and face of the Lord to be served, to serve him concretely. And you are, dear brothers and sisters, in the face of Jesus.”
May 21, 2013; Address to the residents of Dono di Maria, a homeless shelter in Rome


“When we are generous in welcoming people and sharing something with them—some food, a place in our homes, our time—not only do we no longer remain poor: we are enriched. I am well aware that when someone needing food knocks at your door, you always find a way of sharing food; as the proverb says, one can always ‘add more water to the beans’! Is it possible to add more water to the beans? Always? And you do so with love, demonstrating that true riches consist not in materials things, but in the heart!”
June 25, 2013; Visit to the Community of Varginha, Rio de Janiero


“When you meet those most in need, your heart will begin to grow bigger, bigger and bigger! Because reaching out multiplies our capacity to love. An encounter with others makes our heart bigger.”
August 7, 2013; Message on the Feast of St. Catejan, Patron Saint of the poor and unemployed


“An excellent program for our lives: the Beatitudes and Matthew Chapter 25.”
August 21, 2013; via Twitter


“That is the purpose of our mission: to identify the material and immaterial needs of the person and try to meet them as we can. Do you know what agape is? It is the love of others, as our Lord preached. It is not proselytizing, it is love. Love for one’s neighbor, that leavening that serves the common good.”
October 1, 2013; Interview with Eugenio Scalfari, La Reppublica


“A faith which is lived out in a serious manner gives rise to acts of authentic charity.”
October 31, 2013; Address to members of St. Peter’s Circle


“Every day we are all called to become a “caress of God” for those who perhaps have forgotten their first caresses, or perhaps who never have felt a caress in their life.”
October 31, 2013; Address to members of St. Peter’s Circle


“Take care of God’s creation. But above all, take care of people in need.”
November 14, 2013; via Twitter


“When we live out a spirituality of drawing nearer to others and seeking their welfare, our hearts are opened wide to the Lord’s greatest and most beautiful gifts. Whenever we encounter another person in love, we learn something new about God. Whenever our eyes are opened to acknowledge the other, we grow in the light of faith and knowledge of God. If we want to advance in the spiritual life, then, we must constantly be missionaries.”
November 24, 2013; Evangelii Gaudium, 272


“To live charitably means not looking out for our own interests, but carrying the burdens of the weakest and poorest among us”.
November 25, 2013; via Twitter


“Holiness doesn’t mean doing extraordinary things, but doing ordinary things with love and faith.”
December 5, 2013; via Twitter


“It is not enough to say we are Christians. We must live the faith, not only with our words, but with our actions.”
January 20, 2014; via Twitter


“Charity is born of the call of a God who continues to knock on our door, the door of all people, to invite us to love, to compassion, to service of one another.”
September 24, 2015; Address to Clients of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington

“Peace must be built on justice, on integral human development, on respect for human rights, on the protection of creation.”
Tweet, May 20, 2017


“I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be ‘protectors’ of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.”
March 19, 2013; Homily during Papal Inaugural Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica


“This happens today: if the investments in the banks fall slightly… a tragedy… what can be done? But if people die of hunger, if they have nothing eat, if they have poor health, it does not matter! This is our crisis today!”
May 18, 2013; Address on the Vigil of Pentecost, Vatican City


“The world tells us to seek success, power and money; God tells us to seek humility, service and love.”
June 2, 2013, via Twitter


“Among our tasks as witnesses to the love of Christ is that of giving a voice to the cry of the poor.”
June 14, 2013; Address to Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury


“Every economic and political theory or action must set about providing each inhabitant of the planet with the minimum wherewithal to live in dignity and freedom, with the possibility of supporting a family, educating children, praising God and developing one’s own human potential. This is the main thing; in the absence of such a vision, all economic activity is meaningless.”
June 17, 2013; Letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron on the Occasion of the G8 Meeting


“A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not simply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for every human being.”
June 20, 2013; Address to Participants in the 38th Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


“In the Gospel, we read the parable of the Good Samaritan, that speaks of a man assaulted and left half dead at the side of the road. People pass by him and look at him. But they do not stop, they just continue on their journey, indifferent to him: it is none of their business! How often do we say: it’s not my problem! How often do we turn the other way and pretend not to see! Only a Samaritan, a stranger, sees him, stops, lifts him up, takes him by the hand, and cares for him.”
July 24, 2013; Visit to St. Francis of Assisi of the Providence of God Hospital, Rio de Janiero


“Accompanying on its own is not enough. It is not enough to offer someone a sandwich unless it is accompanied by the possibility of learning how to stand on one’s own two feet. Charity that leaves the poor person as he is is not sufficient. True mercy, the mercy God gives to us and teaches us, demands justice, it demands that the poor find the way to be poor no longer. It asks – and it asks us, the Church, us, the City of Rome, it asks the institutions – to ensure that no one ever again stand in need of a soup-kitchen, of makeshift lodgings, of a service of legal assistance in order to have his legitimate right recognized to live and to work, to be fully a person.”
September 10, 2013; Address during a visit to the Astalli Centre, Jesuit Refugee Service in Rome


“Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society. This demands that we be docile and attentive to the cry of the poor and to come to their aid.”
November 24, 2013; Evangelii Gaudium, 187


“None of us can think we are exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice.”
April 26, 2014; via Twitter


“Let us pray that the Church be holier and more humble, loving God by serving the poor, the lonely and the sick.”
August 16, 2014; via Twitter


“How much poverty and solitude we see in today’s world, unfortunately! How many people live in conditions of great suffering and ask the Church to be a sign of the Lord’s goodness, solidarity and mercy. This is a task, in particular, for those who have the responsibility of pastoral ministry. They are required to recognize and interpret these signs of the times in order to offer a wise and generous response.”
September 20, 2014; Audience with Pontifical Council for the Promotion of New Evangelization


“No one is to be a “leftover.” No one is to be “excluded” from God’s love and from our care.”
October 5, 2014; Message to Annual Meeting of Catholic Charities USA


“Like in the story of the Good Samaritan, we are called to be like that Samaritan who stopped on his busy journey to care for his “neighbor,” and more so, we are called to be like the “inn-keeper” (Luke 10:35) remaining open to heal and provide a safe place for ongoing care.”
October 5, 2014; Message to Annual Meeting of Catholic Charities USA


“Jesus gives us two faces, actually only one real face, that of God reflected in many faces, because in the face of each brother, especially of the smallest, the most fragile, the defenseless and needy, there is God’s own image. And we must ask ourselves: when we meet one of these brothers, are we able to recognize the face of God in him? Are we able to do this? In this way, Jesus offers to all the fundamental criteria on which to base one’s life.”
October 26, 2014; Angelus message, St. Peter’s Square


“All political activity must serve and promote the good of the human person and be based on respect for his or her dignity. If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life.”
September 24, 2015; Address before a Joint Meeting of the U.S. Congress


“The firm commitment for human rights springs from an awareness of the unique and supreme value of each person.”
May 20, 2016; via Twitter

“Without a solution to the problems of the poor, we will not solve the problems of the world. We need projects, mechanisms and processes to implement better distribution of resources, from the creation of new jobs to the integral promotion of those who are excluded.”
Interview for America Magazine, January 11, 2015


“People have to struggle to live and, frequently, to live in an undignified way. One cause of this situation, in my opinion, is in our relationship with money, and our acceptance of its power over ourselves and our society.”
May 16, 2013; Address of Pope Francis to the New Non-Resident Ambassadors to the Holy See


“Poverty in the world is a scandal. In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many hungry children, that there are so many children without an education, so many poor persons. Poverty today is a cry. We all have to think if we can become a little poorer, all of us have to do this. How can I become a little poorer in order to be more like Jesus, who was the poor Teacher?”
June 7, 2013; Meeting with students from Jesuit schools in Italy and Albania


“You can’t speak of poverty in the abstract: that doesn’t exist. Poverty is the flesh of the poor Jesus, in that child who is hungry, in the one who is sick, in those unjust social structures.”
June 7, 2013; Meeting with students from Jesuit schools in Italy and Albania


“The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those more in need, those who have nothing apart from their poverty.”
July 25, 2013; via Twitter


“There are so many people in need in today’s world. Am I self-absorbed in my own concerns or am I aware of those who need help?”
September 17, 2013; via Twitter


“Let us ask the Lord to give us the gentleness to look upon the poor with understanding and love, devoid of human calculation and fear.”
September 24, 2013; via Twitter


“How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses 2 points?”
November 24, 2013; Evangelii Gaudium, 53


“It is essential to draw near to new forms of poverty and vulnerability, in which we are called to recognize the suffering Christ, even if this appears to bring us no tangible and immediate benefits. I think of the homeless, the addicted, refugees, indigenous peoples, the elderly who are increasingly isolated and abandoned, and many others.”
November 24, 2013; Evangelii Gaudium, 210


“If we see someone who needs help, do we stop? There is so much suffering and poverty, and a great need for good Samaritans.”
December 9, 2013; via Twitter


“May we never get used to the poverty and decay around us. A Christian must act”.
April 3, 2014; via Twitter


“The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem.”
September 24, 2015; Address before a Joint Meeting of the U.S. Congress


“The Bible is very clear about this: there was no room for them. I can imagine Joseph, with his wife about to have a child, with no shelter, no home, no place to stay. The Son of God came into this world as a homeless person.”
September 24, 2015; Address to Clients of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington


“I want to be very clear. There is no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing.”
September 24, 2015; Address to Clients of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington


“The fight against poverty is not merely a technical economic problem, but above all a moral one, calling for global solidarity and the development of more equitable approaches to the concrete needs and aspirations of individuals and peoples worldwide.”
May 13, 2016; Address of Pope Francis to Participants in the International Conference of Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation


“An economy of exclusion and inequality has led to greater numbers of the disenfranchised and those discarded as unproductive and useless. The effects are felt even in our more developed societies, in which the growth of relative poverty and social decay represent a serious threat to families, the shrinking middle class and in a particular way our young people.”
May 13, 2016; Address of Pope Francis to Participants in the International Conference of Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation


“We need to “de-naturalize” extreme poverty, to stop seeing it as a statistic rather than a reality. Why? Because poverty has a face! It has the face of a child; it has the face of a family; it has the face of people, young and old. It has the face of widespread unemployment and lack of opportunity. It has the face of forced migrations, and of empty or destroyed homes.”
June 13, 2016, Address of Pope Francis to the United Nations World Food Programme in Rome

“We cannot sleep peacefully while babies are dying of hunger and the elderly are without medical assistance.”
August 17, 2013; via Twitter


“The “throw-away” culture produces many bitter fruits, from wasting food to isolating many elderly people.”
October 25, 2013; via Twitter


“No elderly person should be like an “exile” in our families. The elderly are a treasure for our society.”
January 11, 2014; via Twitter


“A society which abandons children and the elderly severs its roots and darkens its future.”
May 6, 2014; via Twitter


“Yet a culture of profit insists on casting off the old like a “weight”. Not only do they not produce — this culture thinks — but they are a burden: in short, what is the outcome of thinking like this? They are thrown away. It’s brutal to see how the elderly are thrown away, it is a brutal thing, it is a sin! No one dares to say it openly, but it’s done! There is something vile in this adherence to the throw-away culture. But we are accustomed to throwing people away. We want to remove our growing fear of weakness and vulnerability; but by doing so we increase in the elderly the anxiety of being poorly tolerated and neglected.”
March 4, 2015; General Audience, St. Peter’s Square


“Our elders are men and women, fathers and mothers, who came before us on our own road, in our own house, in our daily battle for a worthy life. They are men and women from whom we have received so much. The elder is not an alien. We are that elder: in the near or far future, but inevitably, even if we don’t think it. And if we don’t learn how to treat the elder better, that is how we will be treated.”
March 4, 2015; General Audience, St. Peter’s Square


“We old people are all a little fragile. Some, however, are particularly weak, many are alone, and stricken by illness. Some depend on the indispensable care and attention of others. Are we going to take a step back? Abandon them to their fate? A society without proximity, where gratuity and affection without compensation — between strangers as well — is disappearing, is a perverse society. The Church, faithful to the Word of God, cannot tolerate such degeneration. A Christian community in which proximity and gratuity are no longer considered indispensable is a society which would lose her soul. Where there is no honour for elders, there is no future for the young.”
March 4, 2015; General Audience, St. Peter’s Square


“Sometimes we case the elderly aside, but they are a precious treasure: to cast them aside is an injustice and an irreparable loss.”
June 17, 2014; via Twitter

Mr. Vice-President, Mr. Speaker, Honorable Members of Congress,

Dear Friends,

I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. I would like to think that the reason for this is that I too am a son of this great continent, from which we have all received so much and toward which we share a common responsibility.

Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you.

Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses. On the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolizes the need of peoples to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation. On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being. Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work: you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.

Today I would like not only to address you, but through you the entire people of the United States. Here, together with their representatives, I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and –one step at a time – to build a better life for their families. These are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes, but in their own quiet way sustain the life of society.  They generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organizations which offer a helping hand to those most in need.

I would also like to enter into dialogue with the many elderly persons who are a storehouse of wisdom forged by experience, and who seek in many ways, especially through volunteer work, to share their stories and their insights.  I know that many of them are retired, but still active; they keep working to build up this land.  I also want to dialogue with all those young people who are working to realize their great and noble aspirations, who are not led astray by facile proposals, and who face difficult situations, often as a result of immaturity on the part of many adults.  I wish to dialogue with all of you, and I would like to do so through the historical memory of your people.

My visit takes place at a time when men and women of good will are marking the anniversaries of several great Americans.  The complexities of history and the reality of human weakness notwithstanding, these men and women, for all their many differences and limitations, were able by hard work and self-sacrifice – some at the cost of their lives – to build a better future.  They shaped fundamental values which will endure forever in the spirit of the American people.  A people with this spirit can live through many crises, tensions and conflicts, while always finding the resources to move forward, and to do so with dignity.   These men and women offer us a way of seeing and interpreting reality.  In honoring their memory, we are inspired, even amid conflicts, and in the here and now of each day, to draw upon our deepest cultural reserves.

I would like to mention four of these Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.

This year marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the guardian of liberty, who labored tirelessly that “this nation, under God, [might] have a new birth of freedom”.  Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity.

All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today.  Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you, as a people, reject.

Our response must instead be one of hope and healing, of peace and justice. We are asked to summon the courage and the intelligence to resolve today’s many geopolitical and economic crises. Even in the developed world, the effects of unjust structures and actions are all too apparent. Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments, and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples. We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.

The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States.  The complexity, the gravity and the urgency of these challenges demand that we pool our resources and talents, and resolve to support one another, with respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience.

In this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society. It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.

Here I think of the political history of the United States, where democracy is deeply rooted in the mind of the American people. All political activity must serve and promote the good of the human person and be based on respect for his or her dignity. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776). If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance.  Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life.  I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.

Here too I think of the march which Martin Luther King led from Selma to Montgomery fifty years ago as part of the campaign to fulfill his “dream” of full civil and political rights for African Americans. That dream continues to inspire us all.  I am happy that America continues to be, for many, a land of “dreams”.  Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment.  Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people.

In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants. Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us.  Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. I am confident that we can do this.

Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12).

This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.  The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.

In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement.  Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.

How much progress has been made in this area in so many parts of the world! How much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty! I know that you share my conviction that much more still needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost. At the same time I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes.  I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem.

It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable. “Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good” (Laudato Si’, 129).  This common good also includes the earth, a central theme of the encyclical which I recently wrote in order to “enter into dialogue with all people about our common home” (ibid., 3). “We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all” (ibid., 14).

In Laudato Si’, I call for a courageous and responsible effort to “redirect our steps” (ibid., 61), and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity.  I am convinced that we can make a difference, I’m sure and I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play.  Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a “culture of care” (ibid., 231) and “an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature” (ibid., 139).  “We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology” (ibid., 112); “to devise intelligent ways of… developing and limiting our power” (ibid., 78); and to put technology “at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral” (ibid., 112).  In this regard, I am confident that America’s outstanding academic and research institutions can make a vital contribution in the years ahead.

A century ago, at the beginning of the Great War, which Pope Benedict XV termed a “pointless slaughter”, another notable American was born: the Cistercian monk Thomas Merton. He remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people. In his autobiography, he wrote: “I came into the world. Free by nature, in the image of God, I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born. That world was the picture of Hell, full of men like myself, loving God, and yet hating him; born to love him, living instead in fear of hopeless self-contradictory hungers”. Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.

From this perspective of dialogue, I would like to recognize the efforts made in recent months to help overcome historic differences linked to painful episodes of the past.  It is my duty to build bridges and to help all men and women, in any way possible, to do the same. When countries which have been at odds resume the path of dialogue – a dialogue which may have been interrupted for the most legitimate of reasons – new opportunities open up for all.  This has required, and requires, courage and daring, which is not the same as irresponsibility. A good political leader is one who, with the interests of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism. A good political leader always opts to initiate processes rather than possessing spaces (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 222-223).

Being at the service of dialogue and peace also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world.  Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society?  Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood.  In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.

Three sons and a daughter of this land, four individuals and four dreams: Lincoln, liberty; Martin Luther King, liberty in plurality and non-exclusion; Dorothy Day, social justice and the rights of persons; and Thomas Merton, the capacity for dialogue and openness to God.

Four representatives of the American people.

I will end my visit to your country in Philadelphia, where I will take part in the World Meeting of Families. It is my wish that throughout my visit the family should be a recurrent theme. How essential the family has been to the building of this country!  And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement!  Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family.  I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.

In particular, I would like to call attention to those family members who are the most vulnerable, the young. For many of them, a future filled with countless possibilities beckons, yet so many others seem disoriented and aimless, trapped in a hopeless maze of violence, abuse and despair.  Their problems are our problems.  We cannot avoid them.  We need to face them together, to talk about them and to seek effective solutions rather than getting bogged down in discussions.  At the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that we live in a culture which pressures young people not to start a family, because they lack possibilities for the future.  Yet this same culture presents others with so many options that they too are dissuaded from starting a family.

A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to “dream” of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton.

In these remarks, I have sought to present some of the richness of your cultural heritage, of the spirit of the American people. It is my desire that this spirit continue to develop and grow, so that as many young people as possible can inherit and dwell in a land which has inspired so many people to dream.

God bless America!

24 Sep 15 12:00 AM CDT

VISIT TO THE CHARITABLE CENTER OF ST PATRICK PARISH AND MEETING WITH THE HOMELESS

GREETING OF THE HOLY FATHER

St Patrick in the City, Washington, D.C.
Thursday, 24 September 2015

It is a pleasure to meet you. Good day. You are about to listen to two sermons, one in Spanish and the other in English. The first word I wish to say to you is “Thank you”. Thank you for welcoming me and for your efforts to make this meeting possible.

Here I think of a person whom I love very much, someone who is, and has been, very important throughout my life. He has been a support and an inspiration. He is the one I go to whenever I am “in a fix”. You make me think of Saint Joseph. Your faces remind me of his.

Joseph had to face some difficult situations in his life. One of them was the time when Mary was about to give birth, to have Jesus. The Bible tells us that, “while they were [in Bethlehem], the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” (Lk 2:6-7).

The Bible is very clear about this: there was no room for them. I can imagine Joseph, with his wife about to have a child, with no shelter, no home, no place to stay. The Son of God came into this world as a homeless person. The Son of God knew what it was to start life without a roof over his head. We can imagine what Joseph must have been thinking. How is it that the Son of God has no home? Why are we homeless, why don’t we have housing? These are questions which many of you may ask, and do ask, every day. Like Saint Joseph, you may ask: Why are we homeless, without a place to live? And those of us who do have a home, a roof over our heads, would also do well to ask: Why do these, our brothers and sisters, have no place to live? Why are these brothers and sisters of ours homeless?

Joseph’s questions are timely even today; they accompany all those who throughout history have been, and are, homeless.

Joseph was someone who asked questions. But first and foremost, he was a man of faith. Faith gave Joseph the power to find light just at the moment when everything seemed dark. Faith sustained him amid the troubles of life. Thanks to faith, Joseph was able to press forward when everything seemed to be holding him back.

In the face of unjust and painful situations, faith brings us the light which scatters the darkness. As it did for Joseph, faith makes us open to the quiet presence of God at every moment of our lives, in every person and in every situation. God is present in every one of you, in each one of us.

I want to be very clear. There is no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing. There are many unjust situations, but we know that God is suffering with us, experiencing them at our side. He does not abandon us.

Jesus not only wanted to show solidarity with every person. He not only wanted everyone to experience his companionship, his help, his love. He identified with all those who suffer, who weep, who suffer any kind of injustice. He says this clearly: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt25:35).

Faith makes us know that God is at our side, that God is in our midst and his presence spurs us to charity. Charity is born of the call of a God who continues to knock on our door, the door of all people, to invite us to love, to compassion, to service of one another.

Jesus keeps knocking on our doors, the doors of our lives. He doesn’t do this by magic, with special effects, with flashing lights and fireworks. Jesus keeps knocking on our door in the faces of our brothers and sisters, in the faces of our neighbors, in the faces of those at our side.

Dear friends, one of the most effective ways we have to help is that of prayer. Prayer unites us; it makes us brothers and sisters. It opens our hearts and reminds us of a beautiful truth which we sometimes forget. In prayer, we all learn to say “Father”, “Dad”. And when we say “Father”, “Dad”, we learn to see one another as brothers and sisters. In prayer, there are no rich or poor, there are sons and daughters, sisters and brothers. In prayer, there is no first or second class, there is brotherhood.

In prayer our hearts find the strength not to be cold and insensitive in the face of situations of injustice. In prayer, God keeps calling us, opening our hearts to charity.

How good it is for us to pray together. How good it is to encounter one another in this place where we see one another as brothers and sisters, where we realize that we need one another. Today I want to pray with you, I want to join with you, because I need your support, your closeness. I would like to invite you to pray together, for one another, with one another. That way we can keep helping one another to experience with joy that Jesus is in our midst, and that Jesus helps us to find solutions to the injustices which he himself already experienced. Not having a home.

Are you ready to pray together? I will begin in Spanish and you follow in English.

Our Father, who art in heaven…

Before leaving you, I would like to give you God’s blessing:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace (Num 6:24-26).

And, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Thank you.

http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2015/september/documents/papa-francesco_20150924_usa-centro-caritativo.html

24 Sep 15 12:00 AM CDT

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