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Pope Francis, the current Pope of the Catholic Church, has been characterized as one of the most progressive popes in recent history. In addition to insisting that every homosexual person be treated with love and respect, Pope Francis has redirected the main focus of the Church to helping the poor and marginalized individuals.

In his ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ speech, Pope Francis stated, “as long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems, or for that matter, to any problems.”

On December 10, the Pope invited individuals across the globe to join him in a global wave of prayer to end world hunger in honor of Human Rights Day. The prayer commenced at noon in Tonga and ended in the American Samoa. 164 countries prayed for 24 hours.

The Pope’s efforts support the recent statements by the President of the Vatican, Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga. Maradiaga says, “with the help of governments and the (United Nations,) we can end hunger by 2025.”

The Circle of Protection, a coalition of Christian groups, organized a prayer that took place on the United States Capitol Lawn and was expected to have a large Congressional turnout. Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut praised the Pope’s efforts by stating that his “focus on feeding the poorest and most vulnerable embodies the mission of the Catholic Church and is an inspiration to us all.”

The Catholic Charities USA website offers individuals the opportunity to sign a pledge to join the Pope in using prayer to bring about the end of global poverty and hunger.

Pope Francis has also organized fasting and prayers for peace in September of this year to help the violence in Syria.

Lienna Feleke-Eshete

Sources: Huffington Post, Catholic News Agency
Photo: Pat Dollard