Francis wants empty convents turned into refugee shelters

'Empty convents are not for the Church to transform into hotels and make money from them. Empty convents are not ours, they are for the flesh of Christ: refugees,' the Pope said, reports Vatican Insider/Ucanews.

The Pope's commments came as he lifted his eyes from his script during his visit to Centro Astalli, a refugee centre in the heart of Rome, which offers shelter, food and assistance to undocumented migrants.

The centre has been assisting refugees who come to Italy fleeing wars, violence and torture for over thirty years.

This visit was important for Francis as it follows on from his trip to the southern Italian island of Lampedusa: it is traditional for the Bishop of Rome to show special attention to the poor and persecuted.

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