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Give alms joyfully and responsibly, Pope tells jubilee pilgrims

April 11, 2016

On April 9, Pope Francis held his fourth special monthly Saturday audience for pilgrims who have come to Rome for the extraordinary jubilee year of mercy.

Reflecting on almsgiving, the Pope said that “giving ‘alms’ is more than simply giving money; it is a matter of heart-felt concern for those in genuine need,” according to the official English-language synthesis of his remarks. “The Bible speaks of almsgiving as a God-given duty, which must be carried out freely and joyfully, but also with a sense of responsibility.”

The Pope added:

It is not the appearance that counts, but rather the capacity to stop and to look in the face of the person who asks for help. We can all ask ourselves, “Am I able to stop and look in the face, look in the eyes, the person who is asking me for help?”

We must not therefore identify almsgiving simply with the money offered hastily, without looking at the person and without stopping to speak to understand what they truly need. At the same time, we must distinguish between the poor and the various forms of begging that do not perform a good service to those who are genuinely poor.

 
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