There has been a long standing debate over giving money to the homeless, with many people saying we should refrain because the homeless person "is just going to buy drugs or alcohol."
This train of thought usually stops people from giving at all, but then complaining about the homeless problem in the city they're in.
However, Pope Francis has a message for all Christians who don't give money to the homeless, or who don't think they should be helping refugee families.
"There are many excuses” to justify why one doesn’t lend a hand when asked by a person begging on the street, says the Pope. His Holiness says many people tell themselves "“I give money and then he spends it on drinking a glass of wine" as a way to make them feel better. "Instead ask yourself what do you do on the sly? What ‘happiness’ do you seek in secret?”
Pope Francis also says we must stop looking at homeless people as though they are filthy. "Well, the filth is within [your] heart," he says. “One can look at a homeless person and see him as a person or else as if he were a dog, and they notice this different way of looking."
The religious leader also made headlines recently when he told Catholics they should be offering financial assistance or housing to families who are settling in a new country, and to stop making excuses when it comes to helping those who are trying to change their lives.
“Here in the Vatican there are two parishes, and both are housing Syrian families. Many parishes in Rome have also opened their doors and others, which don’t have a house for priests, have offered to pay rent for families in need, for a full year,” says Pope Francis.
“In the shoes of the other, we learn to have a great capacity for understanding, for getting to know difficult situations,” Francis said.
Pope Francis has already been heralded as a more progressive religious leader who is breaking the long-standing Catholic reputation of being exclusive and judgmental.
Do you agree with Pope Francis' recent statements on helping the homeless and refugee populations?