The Pope is saying is that “Trickle Down” economics doesn’t work. There is no trickle down.
The poor and hungry deserve justice. That doesn’t mean charity and the scraps off our groaning tables. And it doesn’t mean sympathy and our old clothes that are no longer in style.
What God wants, and what the least among us need is for us to love each other as we have first been loved. When we love each other as we claim to love God there will be no need for empty promises.
We are all one global family. We just need to act like it.
Leadership includes speaking up, speaking out and taking action on critical issues impacting those we serve. Pope Francis has humbly and consistently demonstrated this leadership since arriving in Rome.
His ministry focused on the poor and dispossed marks him as a true disciple of Jesus Christ, just as this recent Earth Day quote identifies him as a leader unafraid to acknowledge reality.
It’s a shame and disgrace that more of our United States politicians could do the same.
Here are some of the 150 homeless men, women and children invited to the Sistine Chapel yesterday by Pope Francis. The Pope met privately with them, asked for their prayers and said, “This is your home.” Afterwards they were invited to a special dinner.
This beautiful photo is itself a meditation on many truths: First, we are reminded of St. Lawrence bringing the poor to a third-century Roman emperor and saying, “Here are the true treasures of the church.” Indeed, here they are: the greatest treasures of the church before the greatest artistic treasure. Second, it is a unique meditation on the communion of saints, above and below. The people in this photo, seated below, are part of the great communion of saints, who are included in Michelangelo’s masterpiece, which depicts not only those going to hell but the saved, those being invited into heaven. And what is the litmus test for entrance into heaven? As Jesus says in Matthew’s Gospel, it is how you treat the poor. Third, it is a meditation on humility. The Pope asked that no photos of himself be taken. Fourth, it is a meditation on how the church can treat the poor: the way that the father treats the prodigal son in Jesus’s parable in Luke’s Gospel: lavishly, prodigally, over the top. Why should we stint when it comes to helping the poor? Finally, it is a meditation on joy. Look at the faces of these these men and women when they are treated as human beings, and not simply as objects of charity or as bothersome problems in our cities and towns. The Joy of the Gospel, Evangelium Gaudium, is real, and it can be found here on earth.
(Photo from L’Osservatore Romano.)
I am a fan of Pope Francis. Let me amend that statement. I am a big fan of this Pope.
Since the first moment he became the head of the Roman Catholic Church this man has consistently demonstrated a preferential treatment to the poor. He has an authentic spirituality that reflects the love of Christ, and he is changing the culture of the Church. He is a true leader and his faithfulness to the gospel is worth paying attention to.
This recent article by Sébastien Maillard is a good example of why I admire Pope Francis. We could all take lessons from the treatment of the poor by this Pope.
In Francis’ Vatican, the Homeless Get VIP Treatment
Posted: 03/26/2015 2:00 pm EDT Updated: 03/26/2015 2:00 pm EDT
“Following Francis” is a monthly blog on the latest happenings of Pope Francis. It is prepared exclusively for The WorldPost by Sébastien Maillard, Vatican Correspondent for La Croix, Rome
ROME — Visitors had to leave the Sistine Chapel earlier than usual on the afternoon of March 26 — before 4:00 p.m. — and not because of some exclusive VIP event. A group of around 150 homeless were granted a private visit before being offered supper inside the Vatican Museums’ cafeteria. They were separated into three groups, with a guide showing the masterpiece of Michelangelo as part of a tour of the Vatican’s museums and gardens. The session also included passing close by Santa Marta’s residence, where Pope Francis lives and works.
After the visit, Francis greeted the homeless: “Welcome, this is a house for all. Your house.” He then spent 20 minutes meeting his special guests, one by one.
Homeless people don’t appear as just words in a speech or a prayer for the “pope of the poor.” They have become part of the Vatican’s daily life. On March 22, 400 of them helped deliver pocket Gospels that Francis was offering to the crowd gathered on St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer at noon. One hundred homeless people also did the same a month before, handing out another booklet for Lent.
The Vatican not only attracts tourists worldwide but also beggers standing around Bernini’s colonnade. At night, some homeless find shelter at the doorstep of Vatican offices. In Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio used to walk all by himself, as cardinal, inside the slums surrounding Argentina’s capital. He cannot do this anymore as the bishop of Rome, so he told Monsignor Konrad Krajewski, whom he appointed as almoner, “You can sell your desk. You don’t need it … You need to go out and look for the poor.”
The following piece is an article by Christopher Hale. He is a senior fellow at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and is also the co-founder of Millennial. Ash Wednesday was last week, and marked the beginning of Lent.
Christians around the world mark the beginning of Lent with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. This ancient day and season has a surprising modern appeal. Priests and pastors often tell you that outside of Christmas, more people show up to church on Ash Wednesday than any other day of the year—including Easter. But this mystique isn’t reserved for Christians alone. The customs that surround the season have a quality to them that transcend religion.
Perhaps most notable is the act of fasting. While Catholics fast on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays during the Lenten season, many people—religious or not—take up this increasingly popular discipline during the year.
But Pope Francis has asked us to reconsider the heart of this activity this Lenten season. According to Francis, fasting must never become superficial. He often quotes the early Christian mystic John Chrysostom who said: “No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”
But this isn’t to downplay the role of sacrifice during the Lenten season. Lent is a good time for penance and self-denial. But once again, Francis reminds us that these activities must truly enrich others: “I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.”
So, if we’re going to fast from anything this Lent, Francis suggests that even more than candy or alcohol, we fast from indifference towards others.
In his annual Lenten message, the pope writes, “Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.”
Describing this phenomenon he calls the globalization of indifference, Francis writes that “whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades.” He continues that, “We end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own.”
But when we fast from this indifference, we can began to feast on love. In fact, Lent is the perfect time to learn how to love again. Jesus—the great protagonist of this holy season—certainly showed us the way. In him, God descends all the way down to bring everyone up. In his life and his ministry, no one is excluded.
“What are you giving up for Lent?” It’s a question a lot of people will get these next few days. If you want to change your body, perhaps alcohol and candy is the way to go. But if you want to change your heart, a harder fast is needed. This narrow road is gritty, but it isn’t sterile. It will make room in ourselves to experience a love that can make us whole and set us free.
Now that’s something worth fasting for.
Jesus wasn’t crucified for telling his listeners to consider the lilies and how they grow. He was nailed to the cross for pointing to the thieves and saying look how they steal. And the thieves to which he was pointing were the religious leaders who were most loudly proclaiming their religiosity.
Jesus was crucified because he was threatening the established religious order. The religious leaders in Jerusalem encouraged the Roman government to take care of the growing menace Jesus posed to their control of the faithful. Jesus was drawing far too much attention to the disparity between their sanctimonious proclamations and the ugly reality of their lifestyles. He had to be silenced.
The Romans pulled the trigger. But it was the religious leaders that pointed the gun.
All of that is to say that I am praying daily for Pope Francis. He continues to demonstrate true prophetic courage in addressing the critical issues of our day. And there is true danger in that.
The Pope’s humility is real, but so is his call for change. George Weigel, a conservative Catholic, recently wrote that, “Pope Francis is a revolutionary. The revolution he proposes, however, is not a matter of economic or political prescription, but a revolution in the self-understanding of the Catholic Church.”
I disagree. Pope Francis is definitely working to clean out the thieves from the temple and put the Catholic Church back into order. But, he has also demonstrated he is committed to living out the gospel of Jesus Christ, not just mouthing platitudes.
Pope Francis is addressing the economic inequities of our world and he is doing it in a manner that points a finger at those in positions of power. He is truly showing preferential treatment towards the poor, the weak and the dispossessed. Such prophetic faithfulness is powerful. It is also imminently dangerous. It was in Jerusalem. And it certainly is in Rome.