The Telegraph
Sunday , August 17 , 2014
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Pope warning to clergy

Pope Francis poses for a selfie with followers in Daejeon, South Korea. (AFP)

Kkottongnae (South Korea), Aug. 16 (Reuters): Pope Francis today issued a clear warning to Roman Catholic clergy, saying those who profess poverty while living rich material lives were hypocrites who hurt the image and mission of the Church.

On the third day of his visit to South Korea, Francis celebrated a huge open-air Mass in the centre of the capital Seoul, where he denounced the growing gap between the haves and have nots, urging people in affluent societies to listen to “the cry of the poor” among them. Later, he flew by helicopter to a hilltop centre for the sick, disabled and homeless run by the church in the town of Kkottongnae, southeast of Seoul.

There, he comforted sick children and adults, some of them severely disabled and disfigured and in wheel chairs, and declined to use a comfortable white, padded chair that had been prepared for him. “I like to stand,” he said. Bowing to local tradition, he removed his shoes as he entered the centre.

Later, in another section of the institute, Francis praised clergy who dedicate their lives to the needy and urged them to stay on the right path. “The hypocrisy of those consecrated men and women who profess vows of poverty, yet live like the rich, wounds the souls of the faithful and harms the church,” he said.

Francis has been urging Roman Catholic officials to live simpler lives.

On his first day in South Korea on Thursday, Francis made a splash with his choice of car for the five-day visit, a modest locally-made Kia Soul. At the hilltop centre, he joked with nuns that he had to cut short his time with them because if it went beyond dark “the helicopters risk crashing into the mountain”. Earlier, the pope beatified 124 Korean martyrs who were killed for refusing to renounce Christianity in the 18th and 19th centuries.