Pope Francis on the True Meaning of Poverty

St. Francis Marrying Poverty 1633 Andrea Sacchi

“How I long for a poor Church for the poor!”

With these words spoken after being elected pope, Jorge Bergoglio underscored a theme that continues to be front-and-center of his papacy. Not surprisingly, many have concluded such statements demonstrate that Pope Francis wants Catholics to devote greater attention to poverty-alleviation. In one sense, this is true. Yet it’s also an interpretation that misses the deeper meaning Francis attaches to poverty.

No-one should be surprised Francis is so vocal about material poverty. After all, he comes from Latin America: a part of the world in which millions (with notable exceptions such as Chile) seem locked into dire poverty. You would have to be less-than-human not to be disturbed by the contrast between Buenos Aires’s beautiful Recoleta district which gives the city the appellation “Paris of the South,” and the misery of a Buenos Aires slum like Villa Rodrigo Bueno.

For Christians, indifference in the face of such disparities is not optional. But in understanding Francis’s words about poverty, we should remember the pope is an orthodox Catholic. He’s not a philosophical or practical materialist. Hence Francis’s conception of poverty and the poor goes far beyond conventional secular understandings of these subjects.

In a revealing question-and-answer session held on Pentecost eve with members of the new movements that have brought such life to the Church since Vatican II, the pope said this about Christianity and poverty.

For us Christians, poverty is not a sociological, philosophical or cultural category. No, it is a theological category. I would say, perhaps the first category, because God, the Son of God, abased Himself, made Himself poor to walk with us on the road. And this is our poverty: the poverty of the flesh of Christ, the poverty that the Son of God brought us with His Incarnation. A poor Church for the poor begins by going to the flesh of Christ. If we go to the flesh of Christ, we begin to understand something, to understand what this poverty is, the poverty of the Lord.

In a word, it’s about humility. As another old-school Jesuit Philip Caraman once wrote, humility is the “virtue by which we take true measure of ourselves before God, bearing in mind all that God has given us and done for us and expects from us.”

Further illumination comes from recalling that the Greek word used in Matthew’s Gospel (5:3) to describe the “poor in spirit” (πτωχός) means being reduced to a beggar. Hence the poor in spirit are those of us—poor, wealthy, middle-class—who recognize our sins and beg Christ to save us.

This is central to what it means to be a poor church. A humble church isn’t a timid, handwringing congregation that compromises the Faith. Rather it’s a church that consists of people who freely submit to Christ as the only One who can save us.

Similar insights emerge from reflection upon the life of Saint Francis of Assisi. Here it’s worth noting the gaps between the romantic myths about Francis and the reality of the man.

In his superb recent biography of the saint, for example, Augustine Thompson OP observes that Francis’s famous conversation with Sultan al-Kamil of Egypt wasn’t motivated by something like anti-war activism. For Francis, the purpose of the exercise was to convert the Sultan to Christianity!

Likewise Thompson demonstrates Francis’s impatience with liturgical sloppiness, his “absolute lack of any program of legal or social reforms,” his capacity to distinguish between absolute and relative poverty, the absence of any “hint of pantheism” in his view of nature, and that “the last thing Francis wanted was for his order to become a group of social workers.” Saint Francis, Thompson adds, was “fiercely orthodox” and that “for Francis, obedience to God and the Church, by which he meant the hierarchy, was absolute.” In his final Testament, Francis even insisted that any heretics found among his followers should be handed over to the appropriate authorities for punishment.

All of this makes it hard to view Saint Francis as a proto-dissenter, medieval hipster, or eco-feminist. Some Catholics are also surprised to learn that Francis’s own understanding of poverty had nothing to do with class-warfare or envy of those with material wealth. Thompson notes that the saint wrote relatively little about poverty, and when he did, it was generally “not linked to giving up property, simplicity of life, or living only for the day.” Rather it was primarily with reference to the fact that the Second Person of the Trinity humbled Himself by taking on human form in the Incarnation and sacrificed Himself for mankind by dying on the Cross.

Thus, as Thompson presents it, Saint Francis’s conception of poverty was overwhelmingly about “renunciation of one’s own will,” service of God, and obedience to the Gospel proclaimed by Christ’s Church. In that sense, Francis’s ideas about poverty, Thompson notes elsewhere, “are not political.” They are essentially about attaining the spiritual wealth found in embracing Christ.

So what does all this tell us about how Catholics should think about poverty?

In the first place, it’s clear political activism shouldn’t be what first leaps to mind when considering poverty-alleviation. It is not coincidental that Pope Francis insisted in his Pentecost Vigil remarks that “The Church is not a political movement, or a well-organized structure . . . We’re not an NGO, and when the Church becomes an NGO she loses salt, has no flavor, is only an empty organization.”

Certainly Francis’s calls for more state intervention vis-à-vis the global financial crisis underscore his conviction that there is a political dimension to reducing material poverty. Yet his pre-pontifical writings indicate that Francis isn’t naïve about this. Back in 2001 (the year Argentina’s economy more-or-less collapsed), Bergoglio wrote in a small publication entitled Hambre y sed de justicia, that: “There are Argentines facing poverty and exclusion, and who we must treat as subjects and actors of their own destiny, and not as patronized recipients of welfare doled out by the State or civil society.”

But above all, Francis wants Catholics to bring a distinctly Christian dimension to poverty issues. In his Pentecost Vigil remarks, he stressed that our primary concern cannot be effectiveness and efficiency. “It is one thing to preach Jesus,” Francis told his listeners, “and another to be efficient.”

Obviously Christians are not excused from thinking (rather than simply emoting) about and debating the “hows” of poverty-alleviation and working to reduce it. There are requirements of justice. Francis’s point, however, is that if we only consider what he calls “worldly effectiveness,” we risk forgetting Christian love.

In developing this argument, Francis posed two questions to his audience: “Tell me, when you give alms do you look into the eyes of the man or woman to whom you give alms? . . . And when you give alms, do you touch the hand of the one to whom you give alms, or do you toss the coin?”

Three things—as Francis often says!—come to mind here. One is how many times we have all failed this test.

The second is Blessed Theresa of Calcutta. There was nothing “efficient” about her decision to care for some of the world’s most destitute people. During her lifetime, she was criticized for not being more politically-active with regard to poverty-alleviation. But her work wasn’t about politics. It was about something that dwarfs politics: the bringing of Christ’s love to those in whom Christ Himself told us we would see His face.

And herein lies the third point, which Benedict XVI dwelt on in his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est. Though this encyclical emphasized the demands of justice, Benedict stressed there is something of which every suffering person has even greater need: “loving personal concern.”

For Pope Francis, his predecessor, and Blessed Theresa, our response to poverty must above all be one that makes real the mercy that’s central to the Gospel. Among other things, this helps correct the very human tendency to imagine that justice is enough. A God who was simply Justice rather than Love would never have condescended to enter human history in the Person of Jesus Christ to rescue us from ourselves. God owed us nothing. In that sense, the Catholic understanding of poverty reminds us that it’s divine mercy rather than justice that truly saves us.

Editor’s note: The image above is a detail from “St. Francis Marrying Poverty” painted by Andrea Sacchi in 1633.

Samuel Gregg

By

Samuel Gregg is Research Director at the Acton Institute. He has authored many books including, most recently, Becoming Europe: Economic Decline, Culture, and How America can Avoid a European Future (2013) and Tea Party Catholic (2013).

  • TheodoreSeeber

    I find that in my life, spiritual and material poverty are inversely proportional. I have yet to decide if this is the greatest gift, or greatest curse, related to Original Sin that mankind has.

    • Jacqueleen

      Christ was NOT POOR. He had a treasurer, Judas, who held the purse, Remember? Then, the Roman Soldiers gambled for his robes and not the rags of a poor man…..Furthermore, Jesus has said that we will always have the poor with us. Does Pope Francis know something that we don’t?

      • tedseeber

        Christ also was God.

        I have a treasurer too, in my little 38 person Knights of Columbus Council that I am just finishing my year as Charter Grand Knight of. Our total funds for the entire movement are less than $1500, most of which is committed to various charities.

        Considering the rank of Jews in general in 1st century Rome (a conquered slave race, remember) Christ’s wealth is relative. He didn’t have a palace like Herod, or a city like Caesar, did he?

        But all that is beside the point as to our lives in the United States today.

        I’m saying in my life, and in the lives of all of my friends and family, the time needed to increase material wealth takes away from the time available to increase spiritual wealth- and vice versa.

        • Jacqueleen

          People are reading into what the Pope is saying just like they read into (their version of course) what Obama says not paying attention to the fact that BO does the direct opposite. The American Catholic People are extremely generous and go to extremes to help the poor, i.e., food banks, soup kitchens, contributions, Catholic Relief Services, etc. Then, under this and the former Progressive administrations that send jobs to China, etc. and did nothing to create new jobs….I think you are whistling dixie. 30 Million Americans are unemployed and many are living in tents in the West. People are falling into despair under extreme poverty….no more unemployment benefits…they ran out!!!!!! SOCIALISM BREEDS MORE POVERTY, FOLKS…PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD…WAKE UP!

          • tedseeber

            Both socialism and capitalism breed poverty in different ways. Socialism breeds material poverty, capitalism breeds spiritual poverty.

            I wonder what would happen if we tried solidarity and subsidiarity together instead of separately? If instead of depending on some federal government to provide welfare, we did what the Pope asked and started *directly* providing welfare in our neighborhoods? If we ripped out our lawns and planted food instead with a sign “free for the harvesting”? If we stopped *buying goods from Wal Mart and Target* and instead of supporting Chinese manufacturers, supported the factories in our own back yards?

            THAT is liberating far more than either liberation theology or the “free market” will ever give you.

            • Jacqueleen

              You are confusing discrimination in the workplace and the lack of education with spiritual poverty….our enemies are: the world, the flesh and the devil! Under capitalism, many in past years have been discriminated in the workplace.(the world) Those of us, true Catholics are repelled by discrimination, but, we cannot deny that it was prevalent in years past. Affirmative Action helped to even the playing field and enabled many minorities to be hired. Then, with higher education becoming available for minorities, were able to compete in the marketplace. These are social injustices that are being addressed even if it has happened slowly over time. Under Comunism/Socialism we will be told how much we can earn in our

              • TheodoreSeeber

                Discrimination is directly caused by spiritual poverty. It is caused by viewing other human beings as objects to be used.

                I don’t mind control, if the control comes from Christ.

                Solidarity and subsidiarity is how to make sure the control comes from Christ- neither communism or capitalism have that.

                • Jacqueleen

                  Discrimination would eliminate those whom the “WORLD” deem undesirable..the world, not God. I will re-iterate. Our enemies are: THE WORLD, THE FLESH AND THE DEVIL! You must admit that not everyone is a Christian. Correct?

                  • TheodoreSeeber

                    Not everybody is a Christian, correct. But a huge part of the world, is indeed Capitalism itself. The devil uses greed just as much as the other seven mortal sins.

                    My original comment was that under capitalism, material wealth and spiritual wealth are inversely proportional- The more you have of one, the less you have of the other.

      • bluesuede

        Jesus Christ WAS POOR.

        Born in a stable, no place to lay his head, he had the generosity of his relatives, and friends. He didn’t own anything, not even the clothes he wore, which were stripped from him. He preached to us of the value of spiritual poverty and the virtue in being poor as he himself practiced them. All those apostles and disciples had to eat and offer temple tax and pay Caesar, just as they do today. They no doubt fed those poorer than themselves. To the rich man, Jesus said, “Sell all you have, give it to the poor and come follow Me.”
        The Corporal Works of Mercy are telling us what we must do mainly for the poor. Jesus did them first, to give us his example.

        • Jacqueleen

          Jesus was not poor. The Three Wise men brought him very expensive gifts….gold, frankinsense and myrrh. He had everything he needed, food, shelter, etc. Jesus had humility and love for every human person. Jesus did not worry (a sin) about where His next meal was coming from…..He trusted and of course, as God, He provided. Jesus was not poor.

          As for the Corporal Works of Mercy….this is not what Pope Francis is talking about because we Catholics are doing these works already in conjunction with Spiritual Works of Mercy (of the higher order.) The Pope met with the U.N. President from Serbia and told him to shrink the gap between the rich and the poor. That, my dear friend, is redistribution of wealth….not Corporal Works of Mercy.

          • Midge

            Jacqueleen,
            Honest question: Can you direct me to the scripture that says worry is a sin? I would like to see it to share it with a loved one who deals with worry over health issues. We look for help to deal with worry. Thanks.

            • bluesuede

              Matthew 6:25

            • Jacqueleen

              Worry is the opposite of TRUST. If we don’t trust Our Lord….then, we are not with Him. Jesus has said, Those who are not with Me are against me. Doubt is in the same category….the opposite of TRUST. The Bible clearly states in almost every miracle accounted for that those afflicted and suffering souls were healed by their FAITH. FAITH AND TRUST is what is needed to receive Our Lord’s healing grace.

            • Jacqueleen

              Worry is the opposite of TRUST. If we don’t trust Our Lord….then, we are not with Him. Jesus has said, Those who are not with Me are against me. Doubt is in the same category….the opposite of TRUST. The Bible clearly states in almost every miracle accounted for that those afflicted and suffering souls were healed by their FAITH. FAITH AND TRUST is what is needed to receive Our Lord’s healing grace.

          • bluesuede

            “Jesus was not poor……” Born in a stable for animals–poor, Wise Men gifts—the holy family supported their temple(as God commanded), they gave to others who were poor too and in need. They had abandonment and faith, but they kept only what was needed. Jesus would be unbelievable in His teachings, if he did not practice what he preached first. And He did exactly that. He accepted the generosity of others, which is also teaching us to do the same.

            • Jacqueleen

              The fact that Jesus, our God, manifested His human self as a simple person does not mean that He was poor! He was simply making a teaching point (Charity) to us..Poor people in the world are starving, lack clothing and a place to rest (shelter) They are in need! Jesus was not in need! God holds the keys to the storeroom of riches…Ge giveth and He taketh away.He is in control.
              Take a good look in your own town. Is there someone who is in need? You don’t have to go far to find a needy family or person. As Mother Teresa said, the worst illness is that of loneliness. Have you visited a lonely person lately? Have you helped a needy family that you can see and touch, i.e., someone in your own neighborhood? Otherwise, you have missed Jesus’ whole point.

          • bluesuede

            Why do you insist Jesus was not poor? Not practicing what he preached, lends no credence to His teachings.

  • Ford Oxaal

    That is Christianity’s “value-add” in a nutshell: mercy / forgiveness. This is what takes us to the place where mercy and justice converge, beyond an eye for an eye and into forgive us as we forgive others. Which is why St. Faustina is so powerful in our time, and the Divine Mercy devotions so important. http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php

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  • John200

    Maybe it would be more clear to speak of several different true meanings. The Catholic sense of poverty is hard to explain to non-Catholics. You really have to know your stuff (not claiming that I know all this).

    Material poverty, poverty of spirit, cultural and religious poverty….

    The Catholic senses of poverty would be a worthy topic for an essay.

    • bluesuede

      Read the life of St. Francis of Asissi John200. The “poverello”. He makes poverty seem beautiful.

      • Jacqueleen

        In today’s world, you would have to wait for him to be released from prison for indecent exposure…..Remember when he disrobed in the square and walked away nude in front of the townspeople? This is hardly construed as beautiful, Catholic poverty, wouldn’t you say?

        • bluesuede

          His father wanted him to give up this life of penance and join him in his business. St. Francis’ father disowned him in public, in turn, St. Francis totally renounced his father, even the clothes on his back. Some say he had under clothes on, some say a hair shirt. He was soon given clothes and there is no evidence that he went through town, parading his nakedness or preaching totally naked. Often in speech, the term naked was used to mean very little, as well as nothing. The little poor man never did anything half-heartdly. Once, in order to quench his temptation to a sexual desire, he disrobed and threw himself into the snow, another time into a thorny rose bush.

          • Jacqueleen

            The point is this…The priests use their own salary to give to the poor in addition to the collections given to the church. So to preach that the priests have to subject themselves to abject poverty to be poor and beautiful in the eyes of the church is ludicrous. Socialism breeds MORE POVERTY NOT LESS!

            I would like to hear the Pope talk about the corruption in the governments especially in third world countries that are stealing from the poor and impoverished. Then, I would like to hear him speak about law breakers who have invaded a country by the millions and the church pretends that amnesty is a humanitarian gesture? LOL We all know that it is political for votes and to dumb down the nation. So, we ask, what funny stuff is the hierarchy smoking these days?

            Then, Pope John Paul II was instrumental in bringing down Communism (a long taught evil by the Catholic Church) in Poland. Pope Francis is advocating Socialism/Communism paying no heed to the Popes for centuries who have taught that Socialism is an evil that takes away the dignity of the human person. Then, by calling attention to the poor (people) and meeting with the President of the U.N. Jeremic saying that he must shrink the gap between the rich and the poor..(re-distribution of wealth)…Hey, folks…that tells me that Pope Francis does not like the middle class and he definitely is talking like a Communist. Think about this…it took two short days to elect another pope that nobody heard of before? I wonder if Obama had a hand in this selection!

            Give me Pope Benedict XVI…who I believe was ousted to make room for this pope who in the past visited the Vatican on numerous occasions demanding to be made pope to change the church….Sound familiar? Isn’t this what Obama advocated in his original campaign…transformation?

            This is a time to be watchful and prayerful because we live in very dangerous END TIMES. The demons are desperate for souls….PAY ATTENTION and PRAY! Remain focused on Jesus Christ ONLY AND NOT ON MAN!

            • Midge

              I like your comments, Jacqueleen.

              • Jacqueleen

                Thank you and do as I do….Listen and move on the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Pray for your family, your church/clergy, the nation and the world, conversion of sinners, reparation of sins and the salvation of souls. Jesus wants us to help him (The New Evangelization) to SAVE SOULS. Of course, we don’t save souls, but we can effectively lead souls to Christ. We are the CHURCH MILITANT NOT THE CHURCH OF WIMPS..(Caps are not shouting just emphasis.) God bless.

            • bluesuede

              I never said anything about “abject” poverty. Jesus didn’t think it was ludicrous when he taught the apostles to despise the world of materialism. He told the 12 to go out and preach to the ends of the earth. None of them lived in wealth, quite the opposite, they were prepared to be martyred.

              • Jacqueleen

                What Jesus did with the Apostles had a much different meaning and outcome…Since you are stuck on poverty in its extreme. Tell me. Do you live in a house? If so, sell it. Do you own a suit? If so, sell it, Do you own a pair of shoes? If so, sell it. Do you own a coat? If so, sell it. Do you own a car? If so, sell it. Do you have a vacation home? If so, sell it. Do you own a watch or other jewelry? If so, sell them. Do you travel? If so, end it. Do you go out to dine in a restaurant? If so, end it. If you keep these things, then you are a hypocrite in every sense of the word.

                Do not profess something that you refuse to practice yourself. You are no better than the rich young man who refused to sell what he owned to follow Jesus.

        • tedseeber

          I would indeed construe that as beautiful Catholic Poverty. American on the other hand, well, nobody ever said that Americanists were moral.

  • bluesuede

    Catholic poverty is living what Jesus said and did. When our hearts are filled with the desire to accumulate more stuff and to get caught up in keeping up with the Jones’ and believing the advertising lie that having more will lead to a life of complete fulfillment and happiness. That’s when there’s no room left for what God wants to fill our hearts with. The West’s consummerism and materialism, is often coupled with hedonism and often atheism. The really poor, who have very little in material wealth, and not always well fed, often have enough room in their hearts for the gifts God would like to give us all. There ears are open to hear Him because we don’t often see them with the latest hi-tech device streaming into their heads through their ears. Having things is not wrong, many good people live well and are generous—-Americans are a generous people. It’s a funny thing about poverty, it can also make people more aware of their neighbor, while the ‘ism’s seems to make others invisible.

  • Burt

    This pope’s obsession with the poor is revealing his worldliness and true materialist mentality. Of course ALL followers of Christ are concerned for, and must be compelled to help those who are suffering a lack of basic human needs. Ok Francis but what about all those spiritual needs. Eternal Hell for those who don’t turn from sin. What about reaching out to evil governments inflicting Hellish perverse laws. Did once Catholic France hear a peep out of this Pope the day sodomitic marriage became a new law? Don’t tell me this papacy is anything but a new chink in the armour of Masonic ‘enlightenment’s’ latest victory against Christ’s Church.

    • AcceptingReality

      Cynicism is not a virtue.

      • Jacqueleen

        You sound like a Progressive/Democrat who condemns those who disagree with their agenda.

    • Midge

      The Catholic Church has either been cowed into silence by the priest scandals or is willfully complicit in advancing same sex marriage and the “gay” agenda (the narcissistic agenda of tearing down institutions). The fact is, the Church has so many homosexual clergy and they secretly must agree with the homosexual agenda and desire its success.

      The Church is pretty darned silent on speaking for marriage, the anthropological, fundamental material kernel of human civilization that it is, one man and one woman. It existed before religion and before the state and neither religion nor the state has the right to redefine it.

      • bluesuede

        Not true. The Catholic Church is the main religious power in the world standing for the truth of God’s plan for marriage. The homomafia is a real entrenched problem, but the Church has not given into it. Only a few dissident clergy have revealed their beliefs and their involvement.

      • Jacqueleen

        Pope Francis has been quoted as sympathizing with homosexuals in Argentina, off the record of course. This came out right after his almost overnight questionable election.

        I agree with you that the church has been silent on too many issues, but then, the Hierarchy of the Church are very much into compromise…give and take. In other words, the Bishops consented to Obamacare because the Bishops clamored for a universal healthcare package for Americans as if our private plans, Medicare and Medicaid were obsolete. Look what they got for their insistance? The error of their ways created these consequences: Funded abortions, free contraception, rationing of healthcare to those who need it the most, the elderly, the mentally challenged and the disabled (Many are veterans.) and a big slap in the face of the loss of religious freedom. Then, even knowing all this, the Bishops are silent when it comes to overturning this evil so-called affordable healthcare plan that will cost everyone excessive, triple in cost, premiums for inferior heathcare and for the elderly, NO Healthcare but they will pay into the system so that the invaders who have been abusing the free emergency room services will have coverage. How is that fair, Bishops? How is it fair that invaders have the jobs while 30 million Americans are unemployed and falling into despair…but then, we must be humanitarian, right? This acceptance of Obamacare was in lieu of Amnesty for millions of mostly Catholic invaders who will add to the weekly collection. The compromise backfired. Compromise waters down the Eternal Word of Christ. An invasion becomes a humanitarian gesture….??? The elderly will die anyway, so they can do without healthcare???? The truth drowns in the murky water. Lord have mercy on us and on the Shepherds.

        • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

          Pope Francis is on record as supporting homosexual civil unions as a Cardinal in Argentina. But the Catholic press will not report this, and every time I mention this in one of my postings it gets removed.

          • Jacqueleen

            I’m glad to know that others are paying attention. Praise God.

            Our intention is not to condemn nor to judge another’s soul but to warn all Catholics to be watchful and prayerful. On EWTN, Dr. Ray, yesterday spoke about it is okay to judge behavior not the disposition of the soul. Amen?

    • tedseeber

      Funny, this Pope has already mentioned Hell and the Devil in a month more than the previous two Popes mentioned those things in the previous decade (though, JPII made a good showing in 1999 in his three week discussion on the last things, available in text translated to English on EWTN’s website).

    • Jacqueleen

      Yes, indeed. It is aka Illuminati and the Free Masons. This is the last pope and it cannot be determined, yet if he is the one who will take over St. Peter’s seat and convince Catholics to worship by way of the New One World Religion or will he be the False Prophet who will cooperate with Satan. If nothing more, we must remain watchful and prayerful with our focus on Jesus and not on man…Pray, Repent and be Ready!.

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  • Jacqueleen

    The Pope believes in Liberation Theology/Marxist Form (since there are
    various forms of Lib. Theo.) Hence, his preoccupation with the poor.He
    has not gotten over it even though he claims that he is no longer
    professing L.T. I wonder if Obama had his hand in selecting this pope since they are both on the Socialism trail?
    I am being watchful and prayerful. I trust that Our Lord will reveal
    truths and false prophets soon….Wait and see! Be vigilant and
    faithful to Jesus, Our Lord and Savior alone.

    • tedseeber

      Funny, when he was Archbishop, he was well known for censuring Lib Theo priests! Which is it?

      • Jacqueleen

        Deception works in mysterious ways….Fallen Angels lived with God…..????
        Answer: Preparation for the days ahead….Don’t be so naive. Pope Francis is still in weekly contact with one of his Lib Theo. friends, an Argentinian woman who was married to a Bishop? He discusses issues with her! This makes my hair stand up on end!

        • tedseeber

          It makes your hair stand up on end that he is providing spiritual support to a woman who is into liberation theology?

          What must you think of your own priest, offering the Sacrament of Confession to sinners?

          • Jacqueleen

            Not when the discussion is whether or not priests should marry…to a woman who stole a Bishop from his “Yes” to His calling by God. This was the recent discussion….You are on the wrong track..

        • bluesuede

          What is your source for saying the Pope’s in weekly contact with a lib theo friend, married to a bishop, discussing issue with her?

          • Jacqueleen

            The article appeared on http://www.spiritdaily.com on April 23, 2013 with this link:
            http://my.earthlink.net/article/int?guid=20130422/f36f2524-101d-4a72-9578-9a8afd67ab18

            However, the link is barren…..It appears as though the article has been removed. Nor could it be found under the archives at Spiritdaily. The article was sent to about 100 people. If you are able to retrieve the article, kindly advise. Thank you.

            I’m am amazed at your ignorance of the signs of the end times. Rather than condemn and criticize me, you should look up the end times and read the Book of Daniel. My words were not attacks but simply pointing out contradictions on the part of the Pope and the comenters who equate the Pope’s reference with St. Francis as an example of what the Pope means to define Catholic poverty..

            • bluesuede

              Since you responded to what I posted, I’ll say one more thing. If the article in question was removed, then it may have been for the best. That often happens when facts are checked and found wanting.

              I did not attack you or condemn you. I simply pointed out something I hoped would be constructive to someone who has faith and intelligence. As it happens to me too, I get bogged down sometimes with the seriousness of what’s happening today, and with reference to end- time prophesy. Something I am interested in as well.
              But we need to step back sometimes, and give ourselves some breathing room, then go back to it. So that we keep our faith and current events and reading prophesy, in good perspective.
              I think we’re on the same page and I agreed with some of your comments, but I draw the line at others.

              • Jacqueleen

                Here is the article and if the link does not work…Google the subject and you will see several sites with this article.

                http://www.therecord.com/living-story/2627952-argentine-ex-bishop-s-widow-wants-pope-francis-to-make-priestly-celiba/d

                • bluesuede

                  Pope Francis is a people person. He did say that he favors celibacy in priests, but he says it’s a matter of discipline not faith, and that could change. For now, it stands firm. Yes, he does have a friend who was married to a Bishop, who resigned to marry her. He was friends with them. There is no crime in being friends. He wasn’t Pope and he didn’t make any changes or big speeches in favor of married priests. I’ll keep watching and reading what he says, but I’m not going to grab this bit of info and blow it out of proportion.

                  • Jacqueleen

                    The most important observation was left out of your comment and that is the fact that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglia and the ex-Bishop and his wife were all members of a Liberation Theology group and this continues in their conversations. In other comments, I mentioned the discipline/tradition vs the Doctrine of the Church. See below.
                    Priests having the choice of celibacy is like not eating meat on Friday. What is little known is that while we can eat meat on Friday, we must observe a fast of importance on Friday in some other manner of choice…Do we? Do Catholics know this fact?…Eating fish is not the answer when it costs more per lb. than meat. Therefore, if priests would have a choice, they would have to understand the fidelity to Christ comes first and family second….That’s what will be difficult for most if not impossible!

                    Now, perhaps you can understand why I am saying be watchful and prayerful….a Schism in the church is predicted and we want to be on the correct side…Jesus Christ’s side of the schism. Satan will be on the other side, so it behooves us to know the difference..

      • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

        Liberation Theology was “re-packaged” and became Social Justice. They are two sides of the same coin.

        • Jacqueleen

          Amen…..Whenever I hear the term Social Justice, I cringe because it is not Catholic….Roman Catholic! Period!

  • Jacqueleen

    Two things are bothering me….First, the Pope does not speak English…the International Language that is taught in schools all over the world…..Second, Every article, every program it would appear is on the Pope….I feel as though enough is enough. Stop shoving him and his Liberation Theology down our throats…..It is not acceptable.

    • tedseeber

      I suppose you’d rather follow the atheists Ayn Rand and Ludwig Von Mises, right?

      • Jacqueleen

        No. I pray for them as the Blessed Mother has called to do.

      • Alecto

        When it comes to economic theory, yes, I would. Even an atheist is capable of wisdom and a pope can be a fool. If I want my shoes fixed, I don’t take them to my doctor, do I?

        • tedseeber

          Economic theory is based on morality and ethics. I would much rather follow the morality and ethics of the Pope than the morality and ethics of an atheist being paid to come up with a certain conclusion based on cherry picking the data, or worse yet, seeking to eliminate morality and ethics from a system where they belong.

      • tamsin

        Ted, you were quoting Marx’s Theory of Surplus Value the other day, to argue that profit is theft from workers. Do you consider Marx a Christian, Jew, or Atheist? Or something even better?

    • bluesuede

      We must pray for our Pope and clergy. Since you believe that we are near the end times, then you must know that the devil doesn’t have much time. He particularly hates priests, so they should be the object of our prayers. Now is a time of Mercy, later it will be too late, a time of Justice. Faithful Catholics are probably both hopeful and a tad leary of wolves in sheep’s clothing. Since we continue to get burned by the false and lax leadership. I tend to read exactly what the Holy Father says, rather than someone’s interpretation.

      • Jacqueleen

        Look at some of my other responses below. Be Watchful and prayerful in the end times..which we are living. Pray for the country, for our leaders, for atheists, agnostics, conversion of sinners. the salvation of souls. In fact, praying for the SALVATION OF SOULS PRAYS FOR EVERYONE as the Lord is asking us to do as the Church Militant not the church of wimps.

    • Burt

      This Pope loves to belittle the office of Pope. He goes out of his way to make everyone know that he is Bishop of Rome, just one more bishop in the college of bishops. You are right we should pray for him, of course, but my suspicion that those Masonic Modernists have finally got their great hope to end the Catholic Church with an arch enemy and imposter brazenly occupying the seat of Peter is what makes be angry and resentful. As for those who try take comfort that he does tend to talk about the devil a lot, well so do Satanists don’t they? I would like to know more about this Argentinian woman married to a bishop you were talking about, do you have a link?

      • Jacqueleen

        As a good Catholic, my suggestion is for all of us to pray for the Pope, the Church, the Bishops, the Clergy in general, all Religious men and women and all Deacons and Seminarians. As I write this, EWTN is praying the Litany of the Saints for the clergy.

        We must be watchful of what changes this Pope makes that alter the Doctrine of the Catholic Church rather than tradition of the church. Be watchful and prayerful. Repent and Be ready!

        Keep your eyes upon Jesus and not on man and that includes the Pope.

        There is power in prayer and in Scripture…the Blessed Mother reminds us of this in all of her apparitions..

  • Midge

    I do like stressing “humility.” I’ve had a lot of on-line discussions with “liberals” (i.e., Democratic Party partisans) and it seems to me that they are really all for giving away someone else’s money but there they are typing on a computer and sitting in luxury.

    I know that I could have saved lives if I had done something else with the money I spent on luxuries in the past year. Over 1100 people died in the factory collapse in Bangladesh where they were earning $40/month. I think we have to deal with that as individuals, deal with our individual responsibility for suffering and poverty and be humble that will not do all we could as individuals.

    • Alecto

      While I agree with your sentiment, are you trying to connect the fact that these people in Bangladesh earned above the median wage in that country with the failures of the management who leased that factory building? The failures of that government to inspect the building for safety? Without those jobs, the Bangladeshi people would not be able to feed themselves or their families. We need more trade, less aid.

      If anything, what that taught me is how important it is to always, always have integrity and honor in all your dealings, personal and business. Your spending on luxuries, or necessities probably did more good by providing a job for someone, somewhere than contributing it to some corrupt, greedy, politically liberal bishop! For that matter, everyday presents an opportunity to give and receive the essence of charity…love. A gesture as simple as helping an elderly person carry grocery bags is charity. I’ve given up on grand gestures, and now believe in the daily struggle to give and receive love in my community. That’s difficult enough.

      • Midge

        Alecto,

        I probably didn’t say it well. I am thinking of the “humility” of not saying other people should have their taxes raised. That’s the typical thing on-line liberals want. If you don’t agree with them, you are a “terrible person.” If you think a lot of money spent on so-called “poverty” in the US is misspent, that’s just terrible and selfish!
        The lack of humility is just appalling and these folks think they are the goodie-goodies. There is no poverty in the US when you know about those factory workers.
        I agree about doing small things myself. I give blood and I’ll do that for as long as they let me. I don’t think its much of a sacrifice and I know how important it is. I’m too old to register for the bone marrow donation registry; I wish I could. I agree with you about doing simple things in your own community, too.

      • tedseeber

        Integrity and honor are specifically forbidden in Modern American Crony Capitalism. The only value that counts is shareholder profit.

        • Alecto

          Then we need to ask ourselves how we contribute to that attitude, and how we go about changing it?

          • tedseeber

            You need a Supreme Court Case to change it. To reverse Dodge vs Ford Motor Company, 1919, which enshrined this into law. Do you think people abandon their ethics for the fun of it?

            • Jacqueleen

              Unfortunately, Congress is bought and paid for by the elitists who in reality rule this country. There is no such thing as representation anymore….only Taxation.

          • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

            The current institutionalization of corruption in government, laws, the church, and corporations, etc. requires us (those who wish to restore integrity and honor), to lead and organize “civil disobedience” on a massive scale, within the church and the state.

        • Jacqueleen

          Shareholder profit is a concern of the Corporatists who are guilty of sending their manufacturing facilities to China, India, Indonesia, Turkey, etc, in other words, the Globalists.. These are the traitors of the USA who are in bed with the Satanic regime in the Whitehouse that is out to destroy this country. Lord have mercy on us.

    • Jacqueleen

      Remember, what Satan means for evil…..God means for Good. God may allow a catastrophic event but turns it around so that much good will come of it! Know thy faith and trust in the Lord. We live in a Spiritual Warfare….This is Our Lord’s battle for souls with Satan…Give all your concerns, disappointments, stresses, tragedies, etc. to the Lord….

  • Alecto

    There is a disturbing trend taking place on the *pages* of Crisis, an otherwise excellent website for faithful Catholics. It’s the tendency to misrepresent the importance of the pope. The pope is Christ’s representative, not Christ himself. He is not infallible, a saint, the final arbiter of salvation, or the dispenser of graces in this world. While his office entitles him to respect, it does not confer on him divinity, or perfection. At the risk of sounding harsh, I do not care what this pope, this Jesuit traitor, thinks about “poverty”.

    At the same time he lectures us about poverty, Cardinals George, Dolan, Gomez, Chaput, Wuerl and other high-ranking clergy surround themselves with luxury, and falsely collect hard-earned money from parishioners under the pretext of “helping” people to fund pet political ventures. The most egregious of these is the immigration reform bill, S. 744, or what I call the American Suicide Act of 2013. I would rather spend every penny I have buying myself, family and friends a good time, eating, drinking and being merry than contribute a penny to “Catholic” causes. At least I know the money I spend will actually be helping MY fellow American.

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  • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

    A materialistic Catholic church can only see the world and its people in a materialistic way!

  • Joseph

    Gregg seems to want to put Pope Benedict’s teachings behind us: “Economic life … needs just laws and forms of redistribution governed by politics….” Caritas in Varitate, 37 (emphases in original). We have been exhorted to form political systems focused on charity. Individuals reaching out to individuals is not enough.

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  • pendragon05

    Roman Catholicism breeds poverty.

    In other news, water is wet.

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