Pope Francis has taken the Catholic world by storm ever since he replaced Benedict XVI as head of the church. Most of the changes the current pope wants is for the clergy to live and serve in humbler ways. The Pope for example lives in the modest Vatican guest house rather than the opulent Vatican apartment normally set aside for its leader. Instead of displaying signs of power Pope Francis is instead telling his priests and nuns to live life in humbler ways.
The Pope famously eschewed expensive cars and gets around the Vatican in a humble Ford Focus. This is because according to him he would like a “church which is poor and for the poor”. This is just how Pope Francis is. Even before he became pope he would do his own grocery shopping and cooked his own food. This is why he is encouraging servants of the church to live modest ways.
For example he is encouraging servants of the church to drive modest cars instead of exotic automobiles. It is common practice in the church to rent exotic cars in cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver when cardinals or bishops come to visit. The pope however is frowning upon this practice and wants the clergy to be humble by leading simpler lives.
While the Pope does understand that a car is needed in order to do work in faraway places he wants the clergy to remember that service does not have to entail a lavish lifestyle. Because of this he wants the cleric to think about “hungry children” every time they decide to buy an expensive car.
According to him one of the greatest obstacles in living a happy religious life is materialism. He said that religious people have to avoid temptation and thinking about the latest smartphones or the fastest exotic car. Instead of opting for these luxuries he praises the beauty of the bicycle. As an example he said his personal secretary Msgr Alfred Xuereb goes around in a bike.
For those who are criticizing Pope Francis, the church expressly forbids all forms of splendor especially those in relation to worshiping God. Many followers of the faith however say that the Pope deserves praise for telling his flock to adhere to a humbler way of life. The need for sacrifice and discipline is at the heart of the gospel and should be the center of every Catholic’s life.
Aside from humble living, the Pope also highlighted the importance of service and community. He wants his flock to avoid gossip and rivalry. He said that he himself feels guilty when he finds himself complaining or gossiping. He urges members of the church not to see their vocation as a job but as a relationship that requires cultivation and a “whirlwind of more heavy duties”.
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