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Pope Francis Holy Father says helping poor people is just as important as fighting abortion

In a newly released document, the pontiff encouraged Christians to prioritize helping the poor and migrants.

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Pope Francis compares helping poor to fighting abortion play

Pope Francis greets an elderly woman in a poor neighborhood on July 12, 2015

(CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis says helping poor people is just as important as fighting abortion.

He made this comparison in his apostolic exhortation released on Monday, April 9, 2018. The document is called “Gaudete et Exsultate” (Rejoice and Be Glad).

In it, he warned people to stop prioritizing certain doctrines like condemning abortion over helping the poor and the oppressed.

Rather, Pope Francis advised everyone to fight for the rights of the “already born” just as much as they fight against abortion.

Pope Francis on the poor play

Pope Francis on the poor

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In his words, “Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection.”

“We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.”

ALSO READ: Pope Francis baptises Nigerian beggar who became a hero in Italy

Pope Francis on Migrants

On the issue of migration, the Pontiff kicked against the widely held public that immigrants are a secondary concern.

He encouraged Christians not to see the plight of migrants as a “lesser issue,” when compared to certain “bioethical” concerns.

The pope wrote, “That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian, for whom the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children.”

Pope Francis on immigrants play

Pope Francis on immigrants

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Referring to Matthew 25:35, he asked, “Can we not realize that this is exactly what Jesus demands of us when he tells us that in welcoming the stranger we welcome him?”

Pope Francis concludes that “the great criterion … on which we will be judged” is the Beatitudes: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”

This apostolic exhortation, the pope’s formal counsel to Catholics all over the world, is the third one written by Pope Francis.

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