Pope Francis: clergy in the Middle East should not be living in luxury

Clergy in the Middle East
Roman Catholic clergy at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Catholic Church must bear in mind its sins in the Middle East, Pope Francis has said. Although the sin of war committed by nations has caused great suffering to Christians in the Middle East, the Pope said, “there is also our sin in the Middle East: the sin of incoherence between life and faith.”

“There are perhaps – not many – some priest[s], bishop[s], religious congregation who professes poverty yet lives like a rich person,” the Pope said in off-the-cuff remarks during a meeting with a coalition of funding agencies coordinated by the Congregation for Eastern Churches.

“I would like these religious men and women, Christians, some bishop or some religious congregation to strip themselves more [of riches] for their brothers and their sisters,” he said.

The Middle East, the Pope said, is at a “crossroad of difficult situations” and it finds itself at risk of being without Christians.

“A Middle East without Christians would not be a Middle East,” he said. “Today, the Middle East suffers, it weeps. The world powers look at it not with much concern for their culture, their faith, the life of those people, but they look at it to get a piece and have greater dominance.”

The declining number Christians in the region, the Pope added, means the church risks losing the traditions established in “the cradle of Christianity.” Pope Francis said despite the difficulties, “the Lord does not abandon us, and that is why I say that the Middle East is a hope. It is a hope that must be cultivated” and the church must continue to work as you work.”