ROME — A new encyclical that is being written by Pope Francis will help address how to live out a vow of poverty in the modern world, according to one cardinal.
“How to define poverty is not easy today, because it’s not a question of radical poverty,” Cardinal Prosper Grech, an Augustinian friar, told CNA Sept. 3. “But an encyclical on poverty will help all religious orders to define how to really live poverty in our societies.”
In May, an Italian bishop revealed on his diocesan website that the Holy Father is working on an encyclical entitled “Blessed Are the Poor.”
Cardinal Grech, co-founder of the Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum in Rome, believes that an encyclical would help to “define our stance on poverty.”
The definition of poverty is different depending on where one lives, the 87-year-old friar explained.
“Poverty in Africa means one thing, and poverty in the United States or Europe means another,” he said. “It’s a question of proportion.” He added that a lack of private property is among the root causes of poverty.
Laity will also benefit from the document, he noted.
“We live in such a secularized society,” he explained. “Discos and nightclubs are not the best places to get vocations from.”
In March, Cardinal Grech led the meditation prayer for the conclave that elected Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis.
After his election, Pope Francis jokingly told Cardinal Grech, “Well, you gave us a very good talk, but just see what has come out of it!”
“Well, we aren’t all infallible like yourself, you know,” Cardinal Grech replied. “We do make mistakes.”
Before his election to the papacy, Cardinal Bergoglio was known for his simple and humble lifestyle when he served as archbishop of Buenos Aires. He would take public transportation, visit the slums and lived in a simple apartment.
As Pope, he has chosen to live in an apartment in the St. Martha House, among Vatican workers, rather than the traditional papal apartments.