RELIGION

After pope endorses giving to beggars, US bishop says not to

A month after Pope Francis endorsed giving money to panhandlers, the Roman Catholic bishop in Rhode Island has posted three reasons not to.

Francis last month told an Italian magazine for the homeless that it was "always right" to help. When people give, he said, they should do so not by throwing coins but by looking the person in the eye and touching hands.

Bishop Thomas Tobin, who has previously criticized Francis, posted a Facebook message Tuesday titled "Three Reasons Not to Give to Panhandlers."

He contends throwing loose change at panhandlers is demeaning. Also, he says it can be a safety hazard and the practice enables dishonest people to prey upon others' compassion.

A diocesan spokeswoman said the post was prompted by recent local debate on panhandling, not in response to anything Francis has said.

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This story has been corrected to show the message was posted on Tuesday, not Wednesday.