Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Church should 'divest' like St Francis: Pope

04 October 2013, 16:16

Assisi - Pope Francis on Friday called for the Catholic Church and its faithful to rid themselves of earthly concerns like St Francis of Assisi during a pilgrimage to the saint's Italian hometown.

Speaking in the hall where the medieval saint is said to have taken off his robes in a gesture of humility, Francis said the Church should also "divest" itself and return to spiritual basics.

"The Church, all of us should divest ourselves of worldliness," a visibly emotional pope said, adding: "Worldliness is a murderer because it kills souls, kills people, kills the Church."

"Without divesting ourselves, we would become pastry shop Christians, like beautiful cakes and sweet things but not real Christians," he said.

The Argentine pope also referred to the migrant shipwreck tragedy off the Italian island of Lampedusa on Thursday in which 111 people are confirmed to have died and scores more are missing.

The world "does not care about the many people fleeing slavery, hunger, fleeing in search of freedom. And how many of them die as happened yesterday! Today is a day of tears," he said.

The pope became the first to adopt the name of St Francis when he was elected in March, saying he was inspired by the saint's humility and his teachings on peace and protecting God's creation.

On his visit, the pope met with many poor and disabled people being aided by Catholic charities.

He told a group of handicapped children that their "wounds need to be listened to and recognised".

‘An idol called money’

In an address to the poor, he said: "Many of you have been stripped down by this savage world that does not give jobs, that does not help that does not care about children dying of hunger".

Some 100 000 pilgrims and over 1 000 journalists followed the Argentine pope as he visited the sites associated with the saint in the picturesque hilltown of Assisi in Umbria in central Italy.

The son of a wealthy cloth merchant, Francesco Bernardone grew up an arrogant and war-mongering young man before his spiritual enlightenment.

The saint, who was born in 1182 and died in 1226, famously renounced earthly riches and donned a sackcloth to live like and for the poor.

The saint's gesture of renunciation by derobing took place in the bishop's palace of Assisi on 12 April 1207 when his father asked him to return the riches he had given away to the poor.

Francis has called for a "poor Church for the poor" and has said he wants to overhaul the 2 000-year-old institution, making it less "Vatican-centric" and closer to ordinary people.

He was visiting Assisi with the eight cardinals from around the world he has handpicked to advise him on overhauling the scandal-hit Church government.

The council of cardinals is an unprecedented instrument of Church government that could end up reforming the Vatican, giving more power to local churches and making the Church less hierarchical.

The eight held their first closed-door meetings with the pope this week in which the Vatican said they discussed how to "refresh" the Church.

St Francis, who is also the patron saint of Italy, was said to have heard God tell him: "Francis, go and repair my house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins" - a reference to the Church.

That is the same message that cardinals expressed for the new pope at the dramatic conclave in which he was elected earlier this year, following a wave of financial scandals and child abuse cases.

Francis's visit to Assisi is different from that of his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI because it is focused on the saint's message of poverty rather than that of inter-religious peace.

The trip is the pope's third in Italy after he visited the island of Lampedusa in July where he called for more tolerance of immigrants and Cagliari in Sardinia in September when he denounced "an idol called money".



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...