Vatican City, October 19 - Poverty in the abstract sense "does not challenge us" but the flesh-and-blood poor do, Pope Francis said during his weekly general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday. "Abstract poverty does not challenge us, it makes us reflect, think," the pope said. "But when you encounter poverty in the flesh of a man, a child, a woman" the "distance" is overcome. "This is why we are in the habit of running away from the needy, or of not approaching them, or of doctoring their reality a bit with fashionable habits, and so we remove ourselves from this reality," Francis continued. "Instead there is no longer any distance between myself and the poor person when I run into him," he said. "One of the consequences of so-called 'well being' is that it leads people to withdraw into themselves, making them unreceptive to the needs of others," the pope continued. Instead "reality must be accepted and faced for what it is, and often it brings us into contact with situations of urgent need," he said.
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