Friday, January 3, 2014

The Pope, Poverty, and the discomfort of the rich

I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

I appreciate Pope Francis for his change in tone, although I do not believe that he will budge an inch on social issues including birth control and gay rights, or the role of women in the Church.

But he's using a bully pulpit to reclaim an aspect of Roman Catholic social justice teaching on the responsibility we all bear to the poor.  

And it's making some people Very Uncomfortable.  Andrew Sullivan tells us
A mega-rich donor to the American Catholic church is so offended by the Pope’s words on the importance of poverty that he is allegedly hesitant to pay for a large amount of the restoration of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.
Think about that for a minute, from all directions.   It's really rather breathtaking.

The Right in the US is trying to spin the words to apply them only to Argentina (where Pope Francis comes from).  Andrew again:
Global capitalism in Argentina, according to the theocons and neocons, is so different than in the United States that Pope Francis’s critique is simply a regional one. In Argentina, he’s only referring to crony capitalism, entwined with government, combined with an entrenched lack of social mobility. If the Pope were to understand American capitalism better, he’d realize it was a truly free market, empowering social mobility, creating wealth and disseminating it on a massive scale.
Unfortunately, it doesn't fly.  The Pope writes, The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose.

Looks a lot like this one, don't you think?

Picture of 40 Wall Street thanks to herval and New York Pictures

No comments: