Pope Francis delivers message of compassion, rededicates Catholic Church to alleviating poverty

Pope Francis issued a statement Tuesday denouncing the modern focus on business and profit-making and called for a renewed mission of ending poverty, drawing attention from campus-area Catholics.

In an apostolic exhortation, which is a formal message from the Pope, Francis outlined his mission to rededicate the Catholic Church to addressing the needs of the poor. Francis has made the issues of poverty and equality the defining doctrines of his papacy.

The statement describes the causes of poverty as a sickness rooted in the base of society.

“Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor,” Francis added, “as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own.”

The statement went on to criticize the influence of capitalism on society.

“We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market,” Francis said.

University of Wisconsin-Madison junior Peter Geppert, a Catholic, said Francis does a better job of relating church doctrine to the public than his predecessors.

While papal statements are traditionally written in a formal style, the text of Francis’ statement is notable for using a plainspoken voice in an attempt to relate to a large audience.

“The way that he talks to people, and the way that he writes, and the way that he acts is showing a more compassionate side of the church,” Geppert said.

Geppert added that Francis’ acts of “washing the feet of juveniles and kissing people’s boils” are instances showing the Pope’s commitment to the Catholic Church’s message.

St. Paul University Catholic Center Director Fr. Eric Nielsen said that Francis’ statement is in line with traditional church teachings.

He also stressed the importance of separating the image of the Catholic Church from the traditional American conservative political stance.

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