Don’t treat homeless like stray dogs: Pope

Vatican City, March 1 (IANS/AKI) Catholics should show down-and-outs “great humanity” and not treat them like “stray dogs”, Pope Francis has said.

“Homeless people have great dignity. We need to speak to them with great humanity and not treat them as if they owe us something or like stray dogs,” he told an Italian Catholic magazine for the homeless.

People who live on the streets immediately recognise truly compassionate behaviour from passers-by, Francis said.

“You can view a down-and-out like a person or like a dog. And they notice the different ways people look at them,” Francis told the magazine.

He also joked about people’s attitudes on giving money to the homeless.

“A bit of help is always right. But it just tossing a coin without looking the person in the eye is not a Christian gesture,” the pontiff stated.

Christians should also touch the hands of those they give money to, he said.