Poor Church

April 03, 2014

One of the key messages Pope Francis has focused on during his papacy is the need to live simply. He models this in his own life as he avoided the fancy accessories of his predecessor and had not moved into the elaborate papal living quarters. As he wrote in his encyclical The Joy of the Gospel:

I want a Church which is poor and for the poor.
Besides his own personal witness, Francis is taking other actions to make the Catholic Church that kind of church. Last week, Francis ousted Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst in Germany for spending $43 million renovating his house. The outrageous spending had previously earned Tebartz-van Elst the nickname "bishop of bling." Francis's dramatic action is already reaping positive changes elsewhere. This week, Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory apologized for his new $2.2 million mansion and said he would consider selling it. Gregory noted Francis's stance and admitted the high price tag cost him some "integrity and pastoral credibility." Hopefully this message will continue to be heard and followed by other Catholic leaders as well as many other Christian leaders. Jesus warned we cannot serve two masters. Similarly, leaders cannot truly preach two gospels.