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Letter from Rome: Pope Francis doesn't really want a poor Church

The world's greatest advocate of the poor dare not renounce his or the Church's own wealth and power

Letter from Rome: Pope Francis doesn't really want a poor Church

Pope Francis blesses faithful at the end of the Mass marking the Catholic Church's World Day of the Poor in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on Nov. 14. (Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP)

"How I would like a poor Church, for the poor!" Who could forget when Pope Francis made this astonishing exclamation back in March 2013, just three days after his election to the papacy?

And there is no doubt that, during these past eight-and-a-half years, the pope who chose to name himself after the Poverello — the Poor Man of Assisi — has done more than any of his modern-day predecessors on the Chair of Peter to advocate for the dignity, rights and needs of the world's poor and to give them a voice in the Church.

He has done this in exemplary fashion through his words and, more importantly, by his deeds.

The pope was in St. Francis' famous hometown in Umbria to usher in the Fifth World Day of the Poor, an annual commemoration he established for the worldwide Church in 2016 at the end of the Year of Mercy.

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