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Legatus Magazine

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Archbishop Charles Chaput | author
Sep 01, 2014
Filed under Featured

Pope Francis and economic justice

Napa Institute: Archbishop Charles Chaput challenged common conceptions of Pope Francis . . .

Archbishop Charles Chaput

Archbishop Charles Chaput

I’m a Capuchin Franciscan, and I’ve often found that people think of Francis of Assisi as a kind of 13th-century flower child.

St. Francis was certainly “countercultural,” but only in his radical obedience to the Church and his radical insistence on living the Gospel fully — including poverty and all of its other uncomfortable demands.

Jesus, speaking to him from the cross of San Damiano, said, “Repair my house.”  I think Pope Francis believes God has called him to do that as pope, as God calls every pope.  And he plans to do it in the way St. Francis did it.

Pope Francis took the name of the saint of Christian simplicity and poverty. As he has said, he wants “a Church that is poor and for the poor.” In his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, he grounded this goal in Jesus Christ, “who became poor and was always close to the poor and the outcast” (186). That’s a very Franciscan idea.

The Holy Father knows poverty and violence. He knows the plague of corrupt politics and oppressive governments. He has seen the cruelty of human trafficking and other forms of exploitation.

An abridged version of this article appeared in the September issue of Legatus magazine.

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