By Mark Abrams

By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A local church reform group is criticizing last week’s trip to Rome by a Philadelphia delegation hoping to get Pope Francis to come to the city for a world families event in 2015.

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Catholics 4 Change claim the expense was extravagant and unnecessary.

Susan Matthews of Philadelphia-based Catholics 4 Change says there’s been a lot of activity among local Catholics on social media about last week’s trip.

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“There’s a lot of questions about the cost. There’s a lot of questions about was it necessary for this? Is this a publicity stunt to distract us away from the clergy sex abuse scandal? Is this a publicity stunt to distract us away from the financial difficulties?” Matthews says even though the trip was paid by funds raised by a separate non-profit organization set up for the World Families meeting, it doesn’t fit the example Pope Francis is trying to set for the church.

“This isn’t a pope of politicians and wealthy delegates. This a pope of the people and he’s made that clear,” Matthews says she and others would love to see the pope come here. But a more austere approach for a local church still in crisis would have been better.

The Pope, by the way, has not yet committed to attending the event.

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