Empty convents should house refugees, says Pope Francis

Pope Francis said disused church buildings should be used to house refugees, who must be embraced rather than feared.

The pontiff visited asylum seekers in Rome on Tuesday, underlining his papacy’s emphasis on the poor and the plight of immigrants.

Turning convents and monasteries that have emptied due to a drop in vocations into hotels has raised funds for the Church, but also attracted criticism.

“Empty convents and monasteries should not be turned into hotels by the Church to earn money … (the buildings) are not ours, they are for the flesh of Christ, which is what the refugees are,” Francis said during a private audience in the Jesuit Astalli Centre for refugees.

The pope called on wealthy societies and the Catholic Church to do more to help and defend the rights of the needy.

“Charity that leaves a poor person just the way he is does not suffice,” he said. “True mercy, that which God gives us and teaches us, asks for justice, asks that the poor person find the way to be poor no more.”

Francis said looking after the poor should not be the work of only “specialists,” but engaged in by all members of the Church. It should also be part of the training of priests.

“The word solidarity frightens people in the developed world,” he said.

Sources

Reuters

Catholic News Service

Time

Image: AP/Time

News category: World.

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