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Pope urges authentic "church of the Poor"

As Australian Catholics prepare to celebrate Social Justice Sunday, Pope John Paul II has said the Church should be a "Church of the poor" that gives preference to the neediest members of society.

Speaking to bishops from Mindanao in the southern Philippines, the Holy Father stressed that a "preferential option for the poor" does not mean the Church works exclusively with the economic poor and ignores the other sectors of society.

He said that the option for the poor involves what he called the "evangelical spirit of poverty". He said that means all Catholics - regardless of economic class or social stanging - "combine detachment from possessions with a profound trust in the Lord as the sole source of salvation".

The Pope envisages that the poor are active participants in the life of the Church, not merely recipients of charity.

He said: "The Church of the poor is a Church in which the poor are welcomed, listened to and actively involved."

He was responding enthusiastically to a statement of vision and mission from the Philippine bishops in which they resolved to "follow the way of the Lord" by "opting to be a Church of the poor".


Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor (Archdiocese of St Paul & Minneapolis Office for Social Justice)
Option for the Poor and Vulnerable (Centre of Concern)

Mother Teresa´s order pray for pope´s health (AFP)
John Paul II greets audience pilgrims from Castelgandolfo (Vatican Information Service)
Back at Vatican, Pope faces busy October schedule (Catholic World News)
Pope returning to Vatican from summer residence (Catholic World News)
Pope resumes normal service (The Australian/AFP)

26 Sep 2003