Is the Church doing enough for the Wealthy?


Our Church teaches that is primary mission is the salvation of souls. CCC 758 -780

"Compared with supernatural realities, temporal goods such as wealth, education and fame are insignificant. " The Social Mission of the U.S. Catholic Church: A Theological Perspective By Charles E. Curran (probably one of the few noncontroversial things Fr. Curran ever said and one of the few things he has said with which I agree.)

Yet we live in a society in which, I dare say, the majority of people, are far more concerned with the acquisition of material wealth, possibly by gaining a higher level of education or by attaining some level of fame or notoriety, than with gaining the Kingdom of Heaven. After all, the love of money is the root of all evil. 1 Tim. 6, 10.

On the other hand, our Lord tells us that the poor are blessed and the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. Matt. 5, 3. St. Augustine tells us that “being poor is essential for good spiritual fitness.”

I see several threads on this site dedicated to encouraging people to give more materially to the poor, and asking whether the Church is doing enough to materially help the poor, but I must sincerely ask, if material wealth is such a hindrence to eternal salvation, and the Church’s primary mission is in fact the “salvation of souls” and not social work, shouldn’t we more seriously be asking: “is the Church doing enough for the wealthy.”

Hello Deacon Jeff,

You raise a good point. I don’t think the Parishes are doing enough for the wealthy. I think the Church and the Pope do, but not the Parishes. Perhaps the dioceses don’t either.

If I were to cast unscientific and non-researched stereotypes, I would say that suburban parishes (where most rich people live) are the least orthodox.

Very interesting.

I’ll add, if I may: A great deal of the effort of ministering to the poor is necessarily devoted to meeting their immediate physical needs: food, clothing, shelter, medical care.

The wealthy, presumably, don’t need these things. So do we assume that they’re o.k.?

Huh. :confused:

I’m really glad to see this post, because it is something that I have thought about quite a bit. Not so much with “the wealthy” as a group, but I have had a lot of experiences lately of witnessing the lengths that some people will go to crush others (“the competition”) in pursuit of earthly fame, fortune, status, and power. Mother Teresa was apparently on to some of this, too:

“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty – it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.” -Mother Teresa

If one feels the need to belittle, insult, shame, and destroy others to increase their own influence, the root of the problem may be in what’s mentioned above: a hunger for love.

I agree with the OP- we need to do more for these souls.

Reality Check…

No other group or organization supports the Church and the poor more than the wealthy.

It is said that “it is more blessed to give than to receive,”

But it does not work that way in real life. The givers are never blessed; the more they give, the more is demanded of them; complaints, reproaches and insults are what they get for practicing the virtue of charity…and all the time they are working to push that darn camel through the eye of the needle.


This reminds me of the cartoon adaptation “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” where Scrooge (played by Scrooge McDuck of course) tells the guys collecting money for the poor that, “if I gave money to you for the poor, then they wouldn’t be poor anymore, and then you would be out of a job, and I couldn’t put you out of a job, not on Christmas Eve!”

The point is do our parishes do enough to help the wealthy live holy lives? Do they receive the spirtiual help they need?

And if “wealthy” is the wrong word… what about the sinfully rich? The ones who simply live sinful lives and just don’t know what to do with their money? Those who lives lives similar to the rich Roman citizens of the Roman Republic? Lifes of lust, greed, power, etc? Those who are famous for being famous and seek more fame?

the life style that hollywood is promoting is just simply damaging.

I think that our regular homilies and parish missions do a good job of evangelizing everyone, no matter what their social status is. One doesn’t have to be rich to be lustful, greedy and have a lust for power. And as far as “pushing that dam camel through the eye of the needle” it is not only the rich who must strip down to do it. I’m reminded of the time when I was a child, I used to lie on the floor looking up and pretending the ceiling was the floor and realizing the beauty of simplicity. I would pretend to arrange the furniture and keep to a simple decoration. Our house didn’t look so bad if the ceiling was the floor :). I wished that my mother would part with some of the many boxes of clothing and things that people gave us- she would never part with anything, being afraid that she would need it some day. We all need to trust in God a little more.

Let me rephrase my comment… Should we have more missions to the unChurched rich, trying to bring them to Christ?

How would you do that? lol “We are having a mission for the unchurched rich this week!” Missions tend to be for everyone no matter what their state of life or social status. No matter where one is at in their spiritual life, they can benefit from a homily or parish mission. God speaks to each one in his own state of life.


A clever thread I’d like to follow when I find time!

But how can they hear a homily if they are not coming to Church? My question is what can we do to evangelize the rich?

We often evangelize or teach the poor through our actions. What can we be doing better to bring the Gospel to the non-poor?

What makes you think that rich people aren’t religious? I mean there are some high-profile Hollywood types that aren’t, but I’m sure there are many weathy people who go to church and give to the poor and are very generous sharing their wealth, while they are alive or after death.

If a rich person has a conscience, I’m sure they are just as caring and sharing as a middle class person, and if they are church-goers, I am sure they are receiving the gospel message just as well as everyone else.

As for actions, yes, no matter rich or poor, people will respond to good and right actions. So that is the best type of evangelization, no matter who your audience is.

Some do come to Church. And they can evangelize by their actions and how they live their lives. Just like all of us no matter where we live or work we can evangelize by the example that we set for others, how we live our lives and how we treat others and the generosity that we show to others, not for the sake of making our ourselves look good in the site of others, but doing all for the love of God and the salvation of souls.

I don’t like the way this subject is stated. In my opinion there was a reason Jesus chose to hang out with the poor, the meek, the sinners and not the “wealthy.” The question should be are the Wealthy doing enough for the Church. No they aren’t.

But the biggest truth here is that you can’t take any of that “Wealth” with you. Only love. You take that with you.

I think this title was a spinoff of a previous (now closed) thread with the title “Is the Church doing enough to help the poor” I didn’t like the way that thread was stated either. The problem was the tone of the thread seemed to cast blame on every direction but one’s self. Starting out blaming the church and the rich is not the best way to get attention for helping the poor. The church does a lot to help the poor and there are some very generous wealthy people who assist in work of the church. So let’s not slap the hand that feeds us. I’m sure that many of us could be doing more, not just the wealthy. The first place we should look to is ourselves.

Jesus had wealthy friends too, such as Joseph of Arimathea, Lazarus, Mary and Martha and Nicodemus to name a few. Some say Mary Magdelene was wealthy also.

St. Paul also had wealthy friends who gave generously to the early Church. Wealth doesn’t make you a bad person, not at all.

There are many fantastically wealthy philanthropers today who don’t take it with them, but leave it to the common good, charities and churches.

Naturally poor people deserve our attention when they have nothing, and are utterly dependent on the kindness of those who have much more. But to assume all wealthy people aren’t doing their part is a bit of a stretch, in my opinion.

Actually, Jesus hung out with anyone who would listen. He came to save all and loves all, both the rich and the poor. I was excited when I saw the title of this thread because it appears to me that of late, there is actually an animosity of sorts toward the wealthy as if they are not deserving of the same respect as others. This attitude I find troubling and suspect that perhaps the root of it might be coming from a certain political theory.

I recently went to a bishop’s ordination and the celebrant in his homily said the very worst possible poverty is spiritual. I agree and neither the rich nor the poor are guaranteed exemption from it.

Originally Posted by Zoltan Cobalt View Post
Reality Check…

No other group or organization supports the Church and the poor more than the wealthy.

My checkbook.

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