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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Pope Francis: Root Out Corruption

Today, the Associated Press reports from Vatican City that Pope Francis counseled future priests and nuns on Saturday to shun costly trappings like the latest smartphones and fancy cars so they can devote more resources to help the poor.

Francis has been waging a campaign to root out corruption and power plays in the Vatican's bureaucracy and to keep sight of what is essential in the church he was elected in March to lead. His remarks in two appearances Saturday drew on his determination to forge what he likes to call a "poor church."

Later, he gave an off-the-cuff lecture to a Vatican auditorium full of seminarians and novices, and to thunderous applause, told the future priests and nuns to keep "freshness" and "joy" in their lives. He took to task seminarians and novices who "are too serious, too sad." "Something's not right here," Francis told his rapt audience.  "There is no sadness in holiness," he added, saying that such clergy lack "the joy of the Lord." 

He warned against seeking "the joy of the world, the latest smartphone, the fastest car."  "It hurts my heart when I see a priest or a nun with the latest model of car," Francis said, then quickly joking that his audience will think "now, we'll have to go around on bicycle."  "Cars are necessary. But take a more humble one," said Francis, who from the day he took office declined to move out of the hotel during the conclave of cardinals and into the ornate Apostolic Palace that is the traditional home to pontiffs. "Think of how many children die of hunger" and dedicate the savings to them, Francis said.

During his remarks, Francis praised the late Mother Teresa, who cared for the most impoverished sick of Calcutta, India, and held her up as a courageous example. "I would like a more missionary church," the pope then told the young people, who seemed to hang on his every word. "Not so much a tranquil church, but a beautiful church that goes forward."
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