Has Pope Francis alienated people just as capable and

worthy of redemption as any other of God's children?



The Pope's Un-Christian Rejection of the Wealthy (Die Welt, Germany)


"The church does not praise all to the same degree; but has contempt for no one. With the exception of bankers, it appears. ... It often seems as if, in the midst of Christian charity, there has been a stubborn deafness in the church, and a contempt from the pulpit that comes out of cowardice of instead of respect for the poor. Poverty is not a consistent symbol for strength of character, nor is wealth always synonymous with hard-heartedness."


By Torsten Krauel



Translated By Stephanie Martin


December 30, 2013


Germany - Die Welt - Original Article (German)

Time Magazine's 2014 man of the year: Francis, the first Jesuit pope in history, has challenged much of what people have come to identify with his church, and has made a point of criticizing capitalism in its current form - particularly, 'trickle down economics.'


RUSSIA TODAY NEWS VIDEO: 'Devil's advocate' Austin Petersen v. Pope Francis On capitalism, Nov. 27, 00:06:23RealVideo

The church doesn't tolerate hatred or scorn, because we're all equal before God? If only! Pope Francis is full of anger and contempt as he speaks of the wealthy.


The luminous message of Jesus can be summed up in a single sentence: There are no first and second class citizens before God.


That is why Jesus graciously devoted himself to those in the Roman Empire who were hated and despised as second-class citizens: the prostitutes, the single parents, the poor, the beggars, the slaves, and those plunged into hardship through no fault of their own.


That is still Christianity's answer for those who are hated and despised today, or were until recently: ethnic minorities, the poor, the beggars, some immigrants, and those who choose the path of crime. And in some countries, still homosexuals.


The church does not abandon such people. On the Day of Judgment, God will judge all people, each as an individual, taking their entire lives into account. People are not all role models in equal measure. In this respect, the Bible, too, sets priorities.


The Pope speaks of a 'system' that is evil


But Jesus also said: "I was hungry … I was thirsty … I was naked; I was sick and in prison" and "inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me."


The church does not praise all to the same degree; but has contempt for no one.


With the exception of bankers, it appears. The wealthy. Aren't they now "the least, the despised, the outcasts?" Francis finds harsh words for them in his "Evangelii Gaudium." According to Francis, social injustice is "crystallized evil."


It stems, Francis says, from a "system" in which the poor are silenced or stunted [for lack of opportunity]. ... The "earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few."


A fiendish few deify the market


The system is faceless, and its advocates are not people, but an impersonal "few" who "idolize" the market. The "system" is evil on Earth. If this is the case, are the "happy few" just a small fiendish group incapable of any understanding or compassion?


This choice of words irritates not only because it reduces all happiness to material prosperity. What is especially irritating is the contempt with which the Bishop of Rome speaks of those, who, like all fallible people, have hearts that Jesus wants to reach.


A church so narrowly focused on the material definition of happiness and unhappiness, of wealth and poverty, runs the risk of being perceived as a "kitsch" church that during Christmas ritually celebrates material deprivation as the highest value - as a pretext and an end in itself rather than a model and basis for the benevolent education of the heart.


The "least" in Jesus' day were the poor, but the Bible doesn't condemn property in every form. In the parable of the wise and foolish virgins [aka/The Parable of the Ten Virgins], women are wise to preserve oil for their lamps so as not to be out searching for replacement oil when the Lord arrives. When the foolish virgins then want to benefit from their oil, the wise say, "Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves." 


But wait: millionaires create endowments, billionaires give to charity!


Intelligent preparation is not the same as the oft cited "to everyone who has will more be given," and an overwhelmingly large part of democratic entrepreneurs behave much like the wise virgins.


We live in an era in which millionaires create endowments and billionaires give to charity. Yet it sometimes appears as if no matter what the democratic wealthy do, the church during Christmas and Easter throws them into the same pot as corrupt oligarchs and greedy bankers.


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Furthermore, are greedy bankers the ultimate evil? Or are they the errant souls who might be able to acknowledge the error of their ways? Is there not in each of them a potential Paul - a Good Samaritan? After all, for the church, this is the image of man.


Francis devotes a large section of his apostolic letter to asking priests to listen, to seek out dialog with everyone, without prejudice, as all are without exception the people of God. Doesn't that apply to bankers as well?


The rich are not happy per se because they are rich


Francis laments the rampant spiritual inwardness that aspires to self-spiritual perfection within a private cocoon rather than through taking an active role in the world. Does the church understand where this inward focus comes from? Does it feel the loneliness of people who have worked hard to earn their wealth?


Does it have a sense of the alienation of people in societies where governments don't believe in honest, hard-earned money, and after the tithes are paid, with a church that appears to reject and criticize the wealthy?


Those who assume that the rich are consistently happy and at peace with themselves have a Manichean, inaccurate image of man. No doubt about it: They, the repulsively egocentric rich, do exist, especially outside of Europe. But the fact that Warren Buffet and Bono are able to mobilize billions for the poor may yet leave its mark on the church.


Entirely apart from the world of souls, those who have had success, but are by no means eccentrically prosperous, come to realize that new and never before imagined conflicts appear in that kind of life.


Opposition against anything that looks like money


It is true: there has been an unbearable fraternization between the church and emperors, dictators, and oligarchs. There are still vain and powerful priests and wealthy Christians who seek only to strengthen their elite status with emphatic religious rhetoric. For them, Francis has sharp words for them in his Evangelii Gaudium.


But that goes hand in hand with ethical opposition against anything that looks like money and prosperity. Should the rich go ahead and donate or give away their money, if they suffer such criticism because of their wealth? This is a poor response to the complicated emotional states brought about by the will to achieve, being deprived of achievement, and the solitude achievement can bring.


The responsibility that is success breeds, the envy, and the struggle for continued success, the doubts, the restless nights - these are the states of mind that send people to psychologists and comforters of souls in droves, because they have long since lost their faith in a church that is wise and listens quietly.


Poverty is not always a symbol of strength of character


A church that would recognize, to some extent at least, the disappointments and loneliness and how much unexpected misfortune can be found in boardrooms and mansions - the construction of which began with idealism and faith in God - such a church would find therein grateful listeners.


For the unhappiness of the successful wealthy doesn't evaporate with the renunciation of a life once led to achieve that success. The world isn't that simple. God sees souls destroyed by money, but does the church want to see them?


Does it want to offer them a path to understand that it was on the road to success that so much of their humanity was lost, and that the road to success could also lead to happiness rather than depression?

Posted By Worldmeets.US


It often seems as if, in the midst of Christian charity, there has been a stubborn deafness in the church, and a contempt from the pulpit that comes out of cowardice of instead of respect for the poor. Poverty is not a consistent symbol for strength of character, nor is wealth always synonymous with hard-heartedness.


The rich are also God's people


In a church constricted by a definition of poverty as material in nature, there is also the deification of the cheap Jacob [salesperson of shoddy goods], not just the much-needed critique of dancing around the golden calf.


The wealthy are also people of God. They seek his word even if, trapped in their egos, they do not intentionally appear to do so - like many others who pretend to be good people of God but let his words go unnoticed.


As long as he strives, man errs. But why does the church so often go on the attack when it comes to the wealthy? Why does she talk herself and her faithful into believing that finding a faithful, compassionate, actively charitable, and therefore happy heart in the mansions of the world is impossible?


"I was in prison," Jesus told the disciples. The church is not a repair shop for the soul - that is probably true. Nor does it exist to sanction power structures. But Jesus saw each of the "least" as an equal, without exception; and he understood how many different ways a person could be imprisoned.


Could it be that a full bank account is the only hurdle that the church cannot overcome in her mission of evangelization?


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Posted By Worldmeets.US Dec. 30, 2013, 8:45pm