What the Church really believes regarding poverty, charity, socialism, etc….. September 8, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, catachesis, different religion, episcopate, General Catholic, reading, sanctity, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, the return, the struggle for the Church, Virtue.
…….is I think very well transmitted in The Catechism Explained by Father’s Spirago and Clarke. Written in the late 19th century, this very practical Catechism is devoid of the baneful influence of modernism and leftism and gives the constant belief and practice of the Faith in a clear and relatively concise manner.
The sections excerpted below are quite counter to so many opinions we hear bandied about in the Church today and might even find disagreement in the 1997 Catechism. It is certainly opposed to much of the rhetoric we hear from so many priests, bishops, and others in the hierarchy, who have turned poverty into an intrinsic evil and its “eradication” (impossible, according to Our Blessed Lord) into a paramount moral obligation. This is quite contrary to what the vast majority of the Church, in her history, Saints, popes, and faithful, understood on this vital subject. I think you can also discern, in reading the below, the marked contrast – one might even call it a gulf – between recent addresses made by the highest authority in the Church on these subjects, where class warfare seems frequently to lurk just below the surface, if it is not boldly proclaimed:
God does not distribute talents to all alike; to one He gives five, to another two, to a third only one (Matt xxv). It is in wisdom that He thus acts: for if the same were given to all, every one could stand alone, and there would be no need of mutual good offices. What opportunity would there be for the exercise of brotherly love, what occasions of merit?
Poverty is no disgrace in God’s sight; to be poor in virtue and in good works is the only thing of which one need be ashamed, for it leads to eternal damnation.
In the eyes of eternal Truth poverty is not the slightest shame (Lev xiii). Our Lord Himself being rich, became poor (II Cor viii:9). He Who was the King of Heaven and of earth passed His life in constant privations; He had not where to lay His head (Lk ix:58). What could exceed the poverty of His birthplace! A man may be poor in the world’s good sand exceedingly rich before God; and on the other hand, a man may be rich in earthly possessions and utterly destitute before God (Lk xii:21). “The fear of God is the glory of the rich” (Eccl x:25). Virtues, not earthly treasures, constitute true riches. “He,” says St. Augustine,”is not rich who possesses chests full of silver and gold, but he in whom God dwells, who is the temple of the Holy Ghost.”
The poor save their souls more easily than the rich.
Our Lord declares that ti is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God (Mt xix:24). Wealth affords its possessor the means of gratifying every inordinate desire………The poor man is better prepared to resist the temptations of the devil, being long accustomed to self-denial. Consequently many of the poor will have a higher place in the Kingdom of Heaven than their richer brethren…….
God often sends poverty upon a man for his salvation.
Many, if they were rich, would misuse their wealth, lead a vicious life, and be eternally lost. This God foresees, and therefore He takes their earthly possessions form them. “Poverty and riches are from God” (Eccl xi:14). Saint Antoninus, Archbishop of Florence, saw angels descending and ascending around a certain house; on hearing that the inmates were a poor widow with three daughters, he made them a liberal allowance. Later on he saw evil spirits coming and going about that same house; he made inquiries and learned that the people he had assisted now lead an idle and dissolute life. Thereupon he immediately withdrew his gift. God deals in like manner with us. [Would that our social welfare programs faced similar scrutiny as to the moral effect such largesse has had on their recipients! How counter this is to so much rhetoric in their favor!]
The poor are beloved by God.
Those who are unhappy and forsaken by the world are especially dear to God. Christ calls the poor blessed (Mt v:3). He invites all that labor and are burdened to come to Him, that He may refresh them (Mt xi:28); the oppressed and persecuted are objects of His particular favor. These truths ought to serve as an encouragement to the poor, and repress the pride of the opulent and powerful. To the poor first of all the Gospel is preached (Mt xi:5). The offerings of the poor are more acceptable to God than those of the rich. Our Lord said the widow’s mite was of greater value than all the gifts that the rich cast into the treasury (Mk xii:41-43)………There is no respect of persons with God (Rom ii:11). Poor and rich are alike His children (Pr xxii:2).
The poor man who leads an upright life will never be forsaken by God; more, he will enjoy happiness and contentment in this world.
God Who feeds the birds of the air, and clothes the lilies and grass of the field, will also provide for man, who is of so much more value than they (Mt v:25-30). God does not allow the just to want the necessaries of life. Our Lord says: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His justice [i.e., be solicitous for your salvation and keep the Commandments] and all these things [i.e., the wherewithal to live] shall be added unto you” (Mt vi:33)……..Virtue is generally attended by temporal blessings here below (Ps cxi:2-3). A poor man may be very happy despite his poverty. Happiness by no means consists in the abundance of things that one possesses (Lk xii:15), but in interior peace and contentment, and these the just man enjoys, whether he be rich or poor. [And in fact being rich almost invariably involves attachment to one’s possessions (this is our fallen nature), so that the rich man is taken up with concern for worldly things and finds focus on the interior life much harder. Thus Christ’s statement on the camel and the eye of the needle] St. Paul speaks of himself as having nothing, and yet possessing all things (II Cor vi:10).
The poor are not warranted in wresting from the rich the alms which they have a right to expect; they should rather bear their lot patiently and rely on help from God.
The duty of giving alms is not required by justice, except in cases of dire necessity. It is a duty of Christian charity, consequently no man can lawfully be compelled to give. The Fathers of the Church constantly exhorted the rich to give alms. “Thou art master of thy property, and canst give or not give at they will,” St. Jerome said to the rich: “Distribute a portion of thy wealth. But if thou refusest, I cannot force thee. I can only entreat.” The poor can however demand that their labor be sufficiently remunerated. Doubly indeed is that poor man to be commiserated who forsakes God and transgresses His law; for in that case he has nothing in this life, and after death everlasting perdition awaits him.
I don’t think I have to spell out how different so much of the above is from what we so commonly hear regarding poverty today. Poverty is very frequently – and I speak of within the Church – described as an evil of itself, and even more, the fault of someone else. We have heard much of late that either directly says, or can be taken to mean, that because one man has more than another it is very frequently, if not always, because he has unfairly taken more than his share. This fundamentally revolutionary, communist outlook is the source of great misery, causing great discontent among the poor and encouraging strife among the various classes, instead of the concord and mutual concern and caretaking which should be the foundation for inter-class relationships.
A further quick note: “charity” performed at government behest, at the point of a government gun, is not virtuous. Socialism, thus, is not charity. Voting for candidates that promise to rob from the rich to give to the poor does not make up for one’s personal failing to give generously to those in need, but the Revolution constantly touts this kind of moral preening. We are being confronted today even with many prelates who seem to have deeply imbibed the rhetoric of class warfare. Among their many criticisms of Catholics (does one ever get the impression they simply do not like Catholics very much?) is their failure to practice so-called class consciousness.
They have, in essence, supplanted leftism for Catholicism as their religion of choice.