A half-century ago, 40 bishops from around the world gathered in an ancient Roman church and signed a pledge to forsake worldly goods and live like the neediest among their flock.
They were in Rome for the Second Vatican Council in 1965, the deliberations that opened the Catholic Church to the modern world.
The bishops’ all but forgotten pledge, known as the Pact of the Catacombs, has gained new resonance with Pope Francis’ vision of a church for the poor.
Under the vaulted ceiling of the basilica, a mass is being celebrated to commemorate the pact signed here in 1965. We are just above the Catacombs of Domitilla — many miles of tunnels lined with the tombs of early Christians. NPR