VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has given VIPs seats to homeless people at a special Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.
Francis invited them to one of his last Masses during the Holy Year of Mercy he established to stress that virtue. The Holy Year ends Nov. 20.
Along with cardinals and other prelates dressed in starched green vestments, homeless people sat near the ornate central altar Sunday. Some of the homeless sported straggly beards, torn and stained jackets and, for one man, a large tattoo on his bald head, evident when bowed.
Francis in his homily said God and neighbor are the most valuable riches in life, noting that "all the rest, even this basilica, pass" away.
He called it "spiritual sclerosis" when people focus on producing goods instead of caring for others.