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Nigerian cardinal: embrace spiritual poverty, but fight material poverty

January 29, 2016

Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, warned against a temptation to “spiritualize poverty” in an address to the 51st International Eucharistic Congress, being held this week in Cebu, in the Philippines.

The Nigerian cardinal said that Christians should make a clear distinction between the spiritual virtue of poverty, which is embraced voluntarily; and the scourge of material poverty, which is simply “misery.”

Material poverty, the cardinal explained, means “deprivation of the main essentials of life.” Millions of people suffer from that deprivation, he said, and Christians should strive against it. “It can never be a good thing,” he said.


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