Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pope Leads Moral Pep Rally at Vatican; Francis Decries Concern over Banks More Than People, Meets with Germany's Merkel

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pope Leads Moral Pep Rally at Vatican; Francis Decries Concern over Banks More Than People, Meets with Germany's Merkel

Article excerpt

VATICAN CITY * Pope Francis lamented that investment losses by banks trigger more alarm in the economic crisis than the struggle of people to feed their families, as he led a huge rally Saturday to invigorate the church's moral conscience, hours after he held talks at the Vatican about the economic crisis with Germany's leader.

Some 200,000 people, from Europe, Asia and the pope's native South America, filled St. Peter's Square and nearby streets to join Francis in hours of prayer, music and speeches aimed at encouraging Catholics to strengthen their faith and making morality play a greater role in everyday life.

"If investments, the banks plunge, this is a tragedy, if families are hurting, if they have nothing to eat, well, this is nothing, this is our crisis today," Francis told the crowd, insisting that the true crisis is one of moral values. Francis said his church "opposes this mentality" and pledged that it would be dedicated to "the poor people."

Earlier in the day, the pope met privately with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who made a brief visit to Rome, mindful of the importance of Christian voters back home ahead of an election she faces in September. She joined the pope in expressing concern about the many victims of Europe's economic crisis.

Francis, who is from Argentina, has picked up on campaigns by the two previous popes, the Polish John Paul II and German Benedict XVI, to reinvigorate what the Catholic church sees as flagging religious enthusiasm on a continent with Christian roots, including dwindling number of churchgoers in much of Western Europe, and a decline in morality.

"I see continuity in the missionary aspect, in becoming aware of the importance of Christianity for our Christian roots," said Merkel, adding that the "simple and touching words" of Francis, who was elected pontiff two months ago, were already reaching people. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.