Catholic World News

Pope asks the poor to pray for the conversion of the rich

July 06, 2016

Pope Francis met with poor pilgrims from the dioceses of the ecclesiastical province of Lyon, France, on July 6 and asked them to pray for the conversion of the wealthy.

The pilgrims are associated with ATD Fourth World, an international anti-poverty movement founded in 1957 by Father Joseph Wresinski (1917-88), who, Pope Francis said, spoke from a “shared life” with the poor, and not from “abstract theories.”

“Jesus wanted to share your condition” of poverty, the Pope told the pilgrims, and citing Father Wresinski, he said that “in the heart the Church, you allow us to meet Jesus.”

“You are witnesses of Christ, you are intercessors before God who hears your prayers in a very particular way,” the Pope said during the audience, which took place in the Paul VI Audience Hall.

“I give you a mission: a mission that only you, in your poverty, you will be able to accomplish,” he added.

Recalling the Beatitudes, the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, and the parable of the good Samaritan, the Pope asked the pilgrims to “pray for the perpetrators of your poverty, that they convert ... Pray also for the priests, for the Levites, who-- seeing the man beaten and half dead-- pass by, looking the other way, because they do not have compassion.”

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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jul. 06, 2016 10:47 AM ET USA

    The Pope's sentiment aligns in a way with a notion I came up with in the 1990s that I call a "preferential option for the rich." It is a concept that flies in the face of the "spirit of Vatican II." Why a preferential option for the rich? "The poor you will always have with you." "It is more difficult for a wealthy man to enter the kingdom of heaven..." According to Christ, the rich need the prayers of the poor at least as much as the poor need the prayers of the rich. Pray for rich and poor.