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Pope tells journalists: I want a Church of and for the poor

Catholic World News - March 18, 2013

“Oh, how I wish for a Church that is poor and for the poor!” Pope Francis said at a March 16 meeting with journalists.

The new Pope spoke to over 6,000 journalists and media representatives in the Paul VI auditorium. Speaking in a relaxed, casual manner, he thanked the reporters who had covered the conclave and the first days of his pontificate. “You have had a bit of work to do, haven't you?” he joked. More seriously, he told the journalists that the Church recognizes the growing importance of the media and is “very attentive to your precious work.”

The Pope reminded reporters that accurate coverage of Church affairs requires an understanding that the Church “does not have a political nature but is essentially spiritual.” Understanding Church news is not necessarily more difficult than understanding political or economic news, he said, but it requires a different perspective because Church affairs “answer to a logic that is not mainly that of, so to speak, worldly categories.” The Pope told the journalists: “Only by putting oneself in this perspective can one fully explain how the Catholic Church works.”

Pope Francis explained to the assembled reporters how he had chosen the name by which he would be known, and confirmed that he was thinking of St. Francis of Assisi. During the conclave, he said, as it became clear that he would be elected, his friend Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the retired prefect of the Congregation fro the Clergy, “hugged me and said: ‘Do not forget the poor.’” Those words stayed with him, the Pope said, and “I thought of Francis of Assisi.”

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