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Pope Wants 'Poor Church and Church For the Poor' - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Pope Francis speaks during a meeting with the media at the Pope VI hall, at the Vatican, Saturday, March 16, 2013. Source: AP Photo/Michael Sohn

Pope Francis speaks during a meeting with the media at the Pope VI hall, at the Vatican, Saturday, March 16, 2013. Source: AP Photo/Michael Sohn

Vatican City, Reuters—Pope Francis, giving his clearest indication yet that he wants a more austere Catholic Church, said on Saturday that it should be poor and remember that its mission is to serve the poor.

The pope made his comments in an audience with journalists, explaining why he chose to take the name Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi, a symbol of peace, austerity and poverty.

He called Francis “The man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man,” and added “How I would like a poor Church, and for the poor”.

Since his shock election on Wednesday, the pope has made clear that he would be introducing a different style to the papacy following the resignation of Pope Benedict last month.

On the night he was elected he shunned the papal limousine and traveled on a bus with other cardinals who had elected him.

The next day he returned to the Church-run hotel where he had been staying before the conclave and insisted on paying the bill.

In other parts of his Italian address, much of it unscripted, he said that Catholics should remember that Jesus is the center of the Church and not the pope.

Francis is taking the helm of the 1.2 billion-member Church at a time of crisis over the worldwide sexual abuse scandal as well as scandals involving intrigue and alleged corruption in the Vatican bureaucracy.

He said the Church, like any institution, had “virtues and sins” and urged journalists to focus on “truth, goodness and beauty” in the course of their work.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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