Pope Francis condemned extreme wealth inequality and told the rich they risk going to hell for ignoring the poor in his Jan. 26 Lent speech. The Pope issued his statements yesterday to diplomats and religious leaders, all of whom were urged to help their neediest people.
The Pope reportedly called the rich “slaves to sin” who risk “condemning themselves and plunging into the eternal abyss of solitude which is hell”, according to RNS.
“The greater their wealth and power, the more this blindness and deception can grow,” the Pope wrote in a statement on Jan. 26.
The Pope called for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics to avoid corruption from money and power, while doing more to help less fortunate people, reports The Salt Lake Tribune.
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The pontiff placed an emphasis on wealthy countries’ obligation to open their doors to people who are impoverished or fleeing violence, says Rome Reports.
Cardinal Francesco Montenegro, the clergyman who presented Francis’ message, said “I think we are faced with this situation, ‘I saved your life, I give you a plate and a roof’. But the risk is that everything ends there,” in reference to wealthy countries’ acceptance of refugees.
The Pope’s message urged wealthy nations not to curb their aid to the neediest, and condemned indifference towards refugees.
“These words remind us that faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbors in body and spirit; by feeding, visiting, comforting and instructing them. On such things will we be judged,” Francis’ statement read.
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Francis called for the world’s nations to take action to help the poor in addition to offering prayers.
“The corporal and spiritual works of mercy must never be separated. By touching the flesh of the crucified Jesus in the suffering, sinners can receive the gift of realizing that they too are poor and in need,” the pontiff wrote.
This is not the first time that Francis has called for wealthy peoples to aid the world’s neediest. Since September 2015, the Pope has been asking Catholic parishes throughout Europe to take in refugees.