The beggar I met last Sunday was back, but this time he was actually inside the church's vestibule. He mumbled out his usual request, claiming he hadn't eaten all day. And I told him that I'd offered him food last time and he didn't accept it. He made some complaint about how people don't wash their hands, etc. But I reached into my bag and took out the same bar I'd offered him the previous week. Once again, he whined that he hadn't eaten all day and once again I told him that was a start. And this time he very reluctantly took it from my hand, as I walked into the nave.
Afterward, I asked one of the priests who was bidding people good evening about what he thought I should do. The priest knew the man immediately when I described him. Apparently, he's been skulking around the church for years. "He has an agenda" was the judicious way he put it. The priest said that he'd tried to help him various times in the past, but had actually asked him not to come begging around the church anymore after he started scaring some of the parishioners, even apparently following a woman home once. I was glad I asked the priest about the man, but I was a little disappointed too when I heard the backstory. "There is no easy answer," he said.