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Pope Francis was accompanied by two children as he led the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Jan. 29.
Pope Francis was accompanied by two children as he led the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Jan. 29.
Photo Credit: Vatican Media

POPE’S MESSAGE | Christians in affluent societies must combat ‘throwaway culture’

At Angelus Jan. 29, pope urged people to value themselves and other people

VATICAN CITY — Christians must combat the prevalent culture of wastefulness by becoming poor in spirit, Pope Francis said.

Before praying the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square Jan. 29, the pope condemned today’s “throwaway culture,” which he called a “plague” that dominates affluent societies.

“Throwaway culture” has become a refrain of Pope Francis’ to describe a pervasive mentality of material wastefulness as well as a disregard for the dignity of marginalized peoples.

“Who is poor in spirit treasures what they receive, that is why they wish that no gift goes to waste,” he said. Adopting that kind of attitude “allows us to appreciate the value of ourselves, of people and of things.”

The pope explained, however, that the throwaway culture teaches: “I use you while you are of use to me; when you are no longer important to me or become an obstacle, I throw you away.” Society particularly applies this way of thinking to the unborn, the elderly and those in need, he said.

The day’s Gospel reading was St. Matthew’s version of the Eight Beatitudes, and Pope Francis said he wanted to focus on the first — “Blessed are the poor in spirit” — because it is “fundamental.”

Pope Francis urged those gathered in St. Peter’s Square to value themselves, what they have and other people. “Each person is a sacred gift,” the pope said.

He also encouraged people to ask themselves how they take care of the gifts in their lives and whether they are constantly open to sharing them with others.

Editor’s note: Pope Francis did not hold his Wednesday general audience Feb. 1 because he was on a pastoral visit to Congo and South Sudan. His audience will return Feb. 8.


Pope Francis condemns ‘spiral of death’ in the Holy Land

By Justin McLellan | Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The “spiral of death” that has materialized in the Holy Land in recent days threatens the little remaining trust that exists between Israelis and Palestinians, Pope Francis said.

Speaking to a crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly Angelus prayer Jan. 29, the pope said he was “greatly pained” to learn of the death of 10 Palestinians killed during an Israeli anti-terrorism raid Jan. 26 and a shooting outside of a Jerusalem synagogue that killed seven Israelis Jan. 27.

Pope Francis noted that “dozens of Palestinians have been killed in firefights with the Israeli army” since the start of the year, and he called on the Israeli and Palestinian governments to “immediately” find a way to end the violence with “dialogue and the sincere search for peace.”

The pope then turned his attention to the blockade of the Lachin corridor, which connects Armenia to the Nagorno-Karabakh region in the South Caucasus. Since December 2022, a group of Azerbaijani protesters have blocked access to the region.

“I am close to those who, in full winter, are forced to deal with these inhumane conditions,” the pope said.

Pope Francis was joined at the window of his studio by two young Romans, members of the “Caravan for Peace” organized by the Diocese of Rome. With the war in Ukraine in mind, the pope said that each person must continually strengthen their commitment to peace.

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