Bishops: The rising economic inequality of our society is mounting

An interactive video resource:

usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/labor-employment/income-inequality-slideshow.cfm

Bishops: The rising economic inequality of our society is mounting

. . . and they’re not going to fix it.

It is much larger than the Bishops. As the Pope said, “We have created new idols. The worship of the golden calf of old (cf. Ex 32:15-34) has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.”

In circumstances like these, solidarity, which is the treasure of the poor, is often considered counterproductive, opposed to the logic of finance and the economy. While the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling. This imbalance results from ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and thus deny the right of control to States, which are themselves charged with providing for the common good. A new, invisible and at times virtual, tyranny is established, one which unilaterally and irremediably imposes its own laws and rules.

In this sense, I encourage the financial experts and the political leaders of your countries to consider the words of Saint John Chrysostom: “Not to share one’s goods with the poor is to rob them and to deprive them of life. It is not our goods that we possess, but theirs” (Homily on Lazarus, 1:6 – PG 48, 992D).

Dear Ambassadors, there is a need for financial reform along ethical lines that would produce in its turn an economic reform to benefit everyone. This would nevertheless require a courageous change of attitude on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and farsightedness, taking account, naturally, of their particular situations. Money has to serve, not to rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but the Pope has the duty, in Christ’s name, to remind the rich to help the poor, to respect them, to promote them. The Pope appeals for disinterested solidarity and for a return to person-centred ethics in the world of finance and economics.

vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/speeches/2013/may/documents/papa-francesco_20130516_nuovi-ambasciatori_en.html

It is precisely because Jesus warns, through His Church’s teaching, that the principle of subsidiarity is vital, that real Catholics insist on that principle. The state of societies in general has been greatly weakened through governments intervening in spheres and to extents, regardless of such principles, and clearly enunciated by the acknowledged Saint John Paul II, which is why needed aid must be provided by communities so established and not supplanted by the State.

Nowhere does Christ require mankind to give up all their possessions either to be good followers or to be able to enter heaven. If all were poor, how could anyone be helped?

Free enterprise has been developed by the Catholic Late Scholastics. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s affirmation: “Society does not have to protect itself from the market, as if the development of the latter were ipso facto to entail the death of authentically human relations…Therefore it is not the instrument that must be called to account, but individuals, their moral conscience and their personal and social responsibility.” (Caritas et Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI, 2009, #36).

As Fr Shall emphasises, to reduce poverty, a free, governmentally “limited society guided by principles of justice and generosity” having “a productive, expansive, and efficient economy…[can]…actually make the poor rich, if given a chance…. but they must include a juridical system, profit, enterprise, knowledge, exchange, a market, voluntary organisations, a relatively independent economy, private property, and respect for work and excellence.” (Fr James V Schall, S.J., in *Does Catholicism Still Exist?, *Alba House 1994, p 178, 185).

The only teaching He gave in reference to government was to give to Caesar. Christ placed nothing above caring for the poor, least of all government. His monarchy is a choice, and it governs. Christ stated His kingdom was not of this world. Man made governments are of this world. The least of His are of His kingdom.

The Bishops are not teaching against government, but they do speak about the inequality of our society; which is fueled by government. Some arguments to preserve government seem to preserve the way of life government has placed us in as a society, for self interest.

Perhaps what is needed is an economic structure that drastically narrows the huge gap of inequality between the filthy rich and the poor souls living in extreme poverty?

How do you propose we deal with economic inequality? It’s not simply about giving and generosity, and it never will be, again, it’s about inequality!

The filthy rich?
Sounds very condemning to me! So what exactly are you proposing other than A Robin Hood approach?

Just a fair and just economic system that allows the eradication of extreme poverty. Maybe I’m out of line here, but what would you call someone with billions and billions dollars of cash?

What about the clean rich? No problems there?

17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. 19 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’[a]”

20 “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”

21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Mark 10:17-22

Well I certainly wouldn’t be envious, nor would I condemn them to the portals of hell. Maybe they have talents I don’t have - an aptitude for entrepreneurship, an intelligence beyond my own, a business sense capable of ensuring success, or maybe they just have rich relatives and old family money. Who cares? And how would you know what they do (even through hidden means) to comply with the gospel mandate to help the poor?

I’m not asking that they help the poor; my point was that society needs to implement a fair and just economic system where the gross inequality between the rich and the poor is largely eliminated. There will be the poor among us always, but extreme poverty must be eliminated; extreme poverty is a crime against humanity!

The attached photo was originally posted by “gracepoole;” it is not meant to shock, but to educate why extreme poverty is on par with the starvation of Jews in Nazi Germany:

So what are you doing about it?

We could begin to implement a fair and economic system by encouraging people to get rid of the corrupt governments that cause and perpetuate the conditions that your picture portrays. Now let’s see - how could we accomplish that? I’d think a good beginning would be for us to get on our knees and pray that people turn back to the Lord their God and obey the Ten Commandments. That would eliminate theft and greed and selfishness and malice and allow true charity to work.

Oh…and I’d be very careful of your socialist wonderland (I’m only speculating that this is where this thread is going) because the materialism promoted by Marx is one of the things that has gotten us into trouble with the Lord in the first place…just sayin’… :shrug:

I had no intention of bringing socialism into the picture, but now that you have, let be say that the Church infers that only socialism that denies God is evil; it is conceivable that socialism could incorporate religion into its structure and the Church would condone it!

Robert Sock #6
How do you propose we deal with economic inequality? It’s not simply about giving and generosity, and it never will be, again, it’s about inequality!

Inequality in talents and in endeavour is how mankind has been created, so the fetish of inequality is a red herring. Life, as Catholicism teaches, is about application and using our talents to the best of our abilities, while assisting those in need through the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity as from the acknowledged Saint John Paul II in Centesimus Annus, 1991:
“…the principle of subsidiarity must be respected: a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.”

It is precisely because Jesus warns, through His Church’s teaching, that the principle of subsidiarity is vital, that real Catholics insist on that principle. The state of societies in general has been greatly weakened through governments intervening in spheres and to extents, regardless of such principles, and clearly enunciated by the acknowledged Saint John Paul II which is why needed aid must be provided by communities so established and not supplanted by the State.

Just as Jesus did not mollycoddle anyone, and constantly values the domain of work as does St Paul, as the acknowledged St John Paul II points out – so the value of free enterprise in supporting and encouraging work and overcoming poverty, is unsurpassed – hence the massive reduction in the poor over the last 30 years.

TMC #10
Mark 10:17-22

Also recounted in Mt 19:16-21 and refers to the rich young man becoming an Apostle, “come follow Me”. Nowhere does Christ require mankind to give up all their possessions either to be good followers or to be able to enter heaven.

In his outstanding work Christians For Freedom, Ignatius 1986, p 43-47, (with a new edition, since), Dr Alejandro Chafuen has examined carefully the teaching of Christ and wealth. Also, citing the case of the rich young man in Luke 18:18-25, Dr Chafuen remarks that many authors think that Jesus was condemning the possession of riches, but “the Late Scholastics indicated that this was not the correct interpretation. Citing Luke 14:26, where Jesus says, ‘If any man come to Me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, he cannot be My disciple,’ the Scholastics pointed out that this passage does not enjoin Christians to hate their fathers. Such doctrine would contradict the Fourth Commandment. Thomist and Scholastic interpretations of this passage is that the entrance to the kingdom of Heaven is denied to anyone who values things more than God. In Matthew’s Gospel (10:37), the same passage reads: ‘Anyone who prefers father or mother to Me is not worthy of Me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to Me is not worthy of Me.’ It would be a violation of the natural order to value a created thing above its creator, as did the young ruler who pursued riches as his ultimate goal.

“As is indicated in Luke (12:29-31): ‘you must not set your heart on things to eat and things to drink; nor must you worry. It is the pagans of this world who set their hearts on all these things. Your father well knows you need them. No; set your hearts on His kingdom, and these other things will be given you as well.’

Dr Chafuen notes that “many people close to Jesus were quite wealthy for their times. Joseph seems to have had his own business and perhaps a donkey; Peter owned a fishing boat, and Matthew was a tax collector. Jesus praised the rich man Zaccheus. It was the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea who kept faith even when the Apostles were beset by doubt (Mt 27:57). Jesus does not condemn the possession of riches but, rather disordered attachment to them.” Notice also that Jesus did not ask His Apostles to renounce their property.

In our society, it’s not so much talents that causes some people to excel in this unbalanced economy, but unnecessary competition. Certainly, there exist much talent in the lower-class, but they are often unwilling to enter into the dogfight that is very often required of them to succeed financially. What specific talents are you speaking about? Do they have to do with greed and an abnormal need for power and prestige?

Economic inequality certainly does exists, and can be narrowed considerably through a fair and just economy. To say that the inequality is due to God given talents, and that the disparity between the rich and the poor is therefor earned and justifiable, is a lie and an abomination!

Robert Sock #18
To say that the inequality is due to God given talents, and that the disparity between the rich and the poor is therefor earned and justifiable, is a lie and an abomination!

Fancy trying to deny the reality of the inequality in talents and in endeavour which are so obvious, and which are characteristic of people! Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

The “lie and abomination” is the fantasy that the politicians who have encouraged abortion, contraception, homosexual “marriage”, IVF and the other fantasies know more than the Vicars of Christ about what is good and what is evil!

In #48 of Centesimus Annus, the acknowledged St. John Paul II makes sure to qualify that while the State can also exercise a substitute function in social sectors or business systems, “Such supplementary interventions, which are justified by urgent reasons touching the common good, must be as brief as possible, so as to avoid removing permanently from society and business systems the functions which are properly theirs, and so as to avoid enlarging excessively the sphere of State intervention to the detriment of both economic and civil freedom.”

So it is not Sock’s decree for regimenting what individuals must get aid, but the function of those best able to identify those who are in real need because of circumstances or ailments interfering with normal work who need to be helped. The “nanny state” approach of huge taxation and “free” provision, which is not “free” because the taxation is required to provide the “services”, degrades and turns individuals into serfs.

That idea has been expressed ludicrously by Sock as “people refusing to work would be guaranteed a roof over their heads, free food and a computer for self-help classes, but would be denied ‘luxuries.’ ”

Why bring aid into the picture? Where in this thread did I advocate such a thing? And why switch the subject and avoid my key assertions? Again, I ask: What specific talents and endeavors are you speaking about? Do they have to do with greed and an abnormal need for power and prestige?

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