TOP POPE FRANCIS’ HELPING THE POOR QUOTES
1. Poverty must be measured with today’s standards
The claim that the modern world has reduced poverty is made by measuring poverty with criteria from the past that do not correspond to present-day realities. In other times, for example, lack of access to electric energy was not considered a sign of poverty, nor was it a source of hardship. Poverty must always be understood and gauged in the context of the actual opportunities available in each concrete historical period.
Pope Francis, On Fraternity and Social Friendship, 2020, 21
2. Globalisation can help but also hinder the poor
“I recognise that globalisation has helped many people rise out of poverty, but it has also damned many others to starve to death. It is true that global wealth is growing in absolute terms, but inequalities have also grown and new poverty arisen.”
Pope Francis, Interview with La Stampa, 11th January 2015
3. Understanding the cry of the poor
“What does the cry of the poor express, if not their suffering and their solitude, their disappointment and their hope? We can ask ourselves how their plea, which rises to the presence of God, can fail to reach our own ears, or leave us cold and indifferent…We are called to make a serious examination of conscience, to see if we are truly capable of hearing the cry of the poor.”
Pope Francis, Second World Day Of The Poor, 2018, 2
4. Are we helping the poor or the service provider?
“At times I fear that many initiatives, meritorious and necessary in themselves, are meant more to satisfy those who undertake them than to respond to the real cry of the poor. When this is the case, the cry of the poor resounds, but our reaction is inconsistent and we become unable to empathise with their condition. We are so trapped in a culture that induces us to look in the mirror and pamper ourselves, that we think that an altruistic gesture is enough, without the need to get directly involved.
Pope Francis, Second World Day Of The Poor, 2018, 2
5. Helping the poor implies personal involvement
“The poor do not need intermediaries, but the personal involvement of all those who hear their cry.”
Pope Francis, Second World Day Of The Poor, 2018, 3
6. Some poor are looking for meaning, waiting for someone
“How many poor people today are like Bartimaeus (cf Mk 10:46-52), sitting on the roadside and looking for meaning in their lives! How many of them wonder why they have fallen so far and how they can escape! They are waiting for someone to come up to them and say: ‘Take heart; rise, he is calling you.’
Pope Francis, Second World Day Of The Poor, 2018, 5.
7. True helping makes the poor feel like friends and family
“For the poor to overcome their oppressive situation, they need to sense the presence of brothers and sisters who are concerned for them and, by opening the doors of their hearts and lives, make them feel like friends and family. Only in this way can the poor discover “the saving power at work in their lives.
Pope Francis, Second World Day Of The Poor, 2018, 6
8. Helping the poor is love not self-promotion
“In the service of the poor, there is no room for competition. Rather, we should humbly recognise that the Spirit is the source of our actions that reveal God’s closeness and his answer to our prayers… The poor do not need self-promoters, but a love that knows how to remain hidden and not think about all the good it has been able to do.
Pope Francis, Second World Day Of The Poor, 2018, 7
9. Poverty has a face
“It is not enough to offer broad reflections or engage in endless discussion, constantly repeating things everyone knows. We need to ‘de-naturalize’ extreme poverty, to stop seeing it as a statistic rather than a reality. Why? Because poverty has a face! It has the face of a child; it has the face of a family; it has the face of people, young and old. It has the face of widespread unemployment and lack of opportunity. It has the face of forced migrations, and of empty or destroyed homes.”
Pope Francis, Meeting Of Executive Board Of World Food Programme, June 13, 2016
10. When helping, we are invited to honour the poor
“We are called to honour the poor and to give them precedence, out of the conviction that they are a true presence of Jesus in our midst. “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me (Mt 25:40). Here we can see how far our way of life must be from that of the world, which praises, pursues and imitates the rich and powerful, while neglecting the poor and deeming them useless and shameful.
Pope Francis, Second World Day Of The Poor, 2018, 7 & 8
11. We are in debt with the poor because they evangelise us
“The poor evangelise us and help us each day to discover the beauty of the Gospel… May all of us feel that we are in debt to the poor, because, in hands outstretched to one another, a salvific encounter can take place to strengthen our faith, inspire our charity and enable our hope to advance securely on our path towards the Lord who is to come.
Pope Francis, Second World Day Of The Poor, 2018, 10
12. Judging the poor does not help them
“How many times do we see poor people rummaging through garbage bins to retrieve what others have discarded as superfluous, in the hope of finding something to live on or to wear! They themselves become part of a human garbage bin; they are treated like refuse, without the slightest sense of guilt on the part of those who are complicit in this scandal. Frequently judged parasites on society, the poor are not even forgiven their poverty. Judgment is always around the corner. They are not allowed to be timid or discouraged; they are seen as a threat or simply useless, simply because they are poor.”
Pope Francis, Third World Day Of The Poor, 2018, 2
13. Getting richer will not serve the poor
“The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefiting the poor. What happens instead is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger, but nothing ever comes out for the poor.”
Pope Francis, Interview with La Stampa, 16th July 2015