News / Europe

Pope Calls for 'Poor Church' in Press Event

Pope Francis speaks during a meeting with the media at the Pope VI hall, at the Vatican, March 16, 2013.
Pope Francis speaks during a meeting with the media at the Pope VI hall, at the Vatican, March 16, 2013.
Al Pessin
— On his third full day as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, newly elected Pope Francis held an audience for hundreds of journalists who have been covering the past few eventful weeks at the Vatican. The pope went off of his prepared remarks and spoke about the kind of church he wants to lead.

The pope entered the huge auditorium to a fanfare and warm applause from the normally skeptical press corps. Sitting on the stage in a large white chair, he gave formal remarks about the importance of the media and urged the reporters to get to know the church better, both "its virtues and its sins." But then he went off script.

"Let me tell you a story," he said, and then pulled back some of the veil of secrecy that surrounds the conclave that elected him on Wednesday.

The pope wanted to clarify why he chose the name Francis. He said as the vote counting indicated he was close to being elected pope, his friend and fellow-Cardinal Claudio Hummes of Brazil embraced him and told him not to forget the poor. That made him think of St. Francis of Assisi, the legendary champion of the poor, and that is why he chose the name.

He went on to make the most quoted comment of the day.

Pope Francis said St. Francis “wanted a poor church,” and that is what he wants, too.

One of the people in the audience was Dutch priest Father Roderick Vonhogen, a blogger for the Church's Star Quest Production Network.

"I think he didn't only mean poor financially but poor in attitude, like humble, like with the poor," he said.

But Father Vonhogen, who has been a priest for 17 years, says the Catholic Church needs more than humility. He says it needs a new relationship with the faithful and a new assertiveness in dealing with its organizational problems and especially with the sexual abuse scandal.

"The scandal is not just the abuse of people. But the biggest scandal is trying to keep up the appearance of being this holy church whereas in the meantime you know very well that it's a mess. If there is any danger that someone could commit further crimes, that person has no place in the church, cannot be in the church.   We have to make sure that everyone in the church is safe," said Father Vonhogen.

Pope Francis has not made any direct comments on the Church's scandals, but many of the faithful hope he will tackle them head-on, and soon.

Pope Francis's First Days as the Pope

  • Pope Francis with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, holding a picture of a plaque commemorating the 1984 peace and friendship treaty between Argentina and Chile, March 18, 2013.
  • Pope Francis and Uruguay's priest Gonzalo Aemilius greet people at the Vatican, March 17, 2013.
  • Pope Francis greets the crowds after conducting a mass in Saint Anna church inside the Vatican, March 17, 2013.
  • Pope Francis appears at the window of his future private apartment to bless the faithful, gathered below in St. Peter's Square, during the Sunday Angelus prayer at the Vatican March 17, 2013.
  • Pope Francis conducts a mass in Santa Anna church inside the Vatican, March 17, 2013.
  • Pope Francis leaves the Paul VI hall with security at the Vatican, March 16, 2013.
  • Pope Francis checks out of the church-run residence where he had been staying in Rome before becoming pontiff, March, 14, 2013. (Osservatore Romano)
  • Key chains featuring images of the newly-elected Pope Francis are displayed in a tourist shop near the Vatican in Rome, March 15, 2013.
  • In this image made from video provided by CTV, Pope Francis celebrates his inaugural Mass with cardinals, inside the Sistine Chapel, at the Vatican, March 14, 2013.
  • Newly elected Pope Francis waves from the steps of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome, March 14, 2013.
  • Newly elected Pope Francis walks in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore during a private visit in Rome, March 14, 2013.
  • Newly elected Pope Francis makes a private visit to the 5th-century Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, in a photo released by Osservatore Romano in Rome, March 14, 2013.
  • A nun takes a photograph of the first batch of souvenirs adorned with freshly-printed pictures of the newly-elected Pope Francis in a shop at the Vatican, March 14, 2013.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Siddha Tali
March 17, 2013 3:53 PM
The lot is cast into the lap...
But thereof is of the Lord.

Book Of Proverbs


by: Jacques from: Pune
March 17, 2013 1:52 AM
If the journalists gave such "warm applause" why did you just quote an extremely negative blogger? -- more balanced reporting please.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid