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One of the cornerstones of Pope Francis' papacy is his advocacy for the poor, as evidenced, amongst other things, by taking his name after St. Francis.  So far, it seems as though his focus has been largely on the financially poor.  I'm not saying that's not important, but I can't help but ask the question: Is enough emphasis being placed on the spiritually poor?  To me, spiritual poverty is a lot more serious than financial poverty, because financial poverty only has temporary effects on your life in this world; whereas spiritual poverty would likely you put in a very hot place for an eternity after death.  A poor man can be much richer spiritually than a rich man.  In today's society, there're so many who are spiritually poor, regardless of their financial situation, and there's such an urgent need to minister to them.  I sincerely hope that the urgency to address this need will not be diminished by this new focus.

Furthermore, when St. Francis was first instructed by God to rebuild His Church, he initially thought it was to rebuild the physical churches, not understanding God's message to rebuilt His spiritual Church on earth.  By the same token, isn't the focus on the financially poor a superficial understanding of God's message?  Shouldn't the real focus be on rebuilding the spiritual Church and minister to those who are in great spiritual need?

Maybe I'm rambling, but it just seems that somewhere the message got lost.  Good works are important, but the real message is Jesus.  Saving souls is much more important than addressing the physical needs of this life.  Am I off the mark here?  Your input would be greatly appreciated.
(06-07-2014, 01:25 AM)AllSeasons Wrote: [ -> ]Shouldn't the real focus be on rebuilding the spiritual Church and minister to those who are in great spiritual need?

one could think that way.  i remember reading about how Mother Teresa came to America and said, "this is the poorest place in the world."

the Church has always taught that Christ is present in:

- the Eucharist
- Sacred Scripture (since He is the Word)
- Priests
- the poor

St. Jeanne Jugan, foundress of the LIttle Sisters of the Poor, used to say "The poor are our Lord."  in helping the poor we are loving Christ.  indeed solid doctrine is important, and there can be a problem with focusing only on helping the poor with their material needs without doing so in the name of Christ, and explicitly sharing the Gospel with them.  You can't have charity without truth, and you can't have truth without charity.

the thing about focusing on the spiritually poor, is they are often materially rich and unaware of how much they need God.  It's easier to accept the Truth when you've already been brought to your knees via poverty, illness, despondency, suffering.  What motivation does a rich person who doesn't endure any hardship have to submit to the radical truth of Christianity?  This is why Christ taught that it is easier to get through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into heaven.

(06-07-2014, 01:25 AM)AllSeasons Wrote: [ -> ]Maybe I'm rambling, but it just seems that somewhere the message got lost.  Good works are important, but the real message is Jesus.  Saving souls is much more important than addressing the physical needs of this life.  Am I off the mark here?

Do you read the Gospels?
There is evidence that Marxists have infiltrated the clergy, twisting the Church's social teaching into a gospel of Marxism. There are other teachings that are ignored such as Christ's social kingship and condemnation of false notions of liberty. What worries me is that the pope called youth unemployment the biggest issue facing modern society.

Edit: the interview is the questionable one. Isn't it sad I believed it could be true?
allseasons Wrote:I'm not saying that's not important, but I can't help but ask the question: Is enough emphasis being placed on the spiritually poor?  To me, spiritual poverty is a lot more serious than financial poverty, because financial poverty only has temporary effects on your life in this world; whereas spiritual poverty would likely you put in a very hot place for an eternity after death.


First, Jesus made no distinction between the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The one who loves God will love his neighbor, made in God’s image. He will want to take care of his physical needs based on his neediness, not on whether or not he converts. The parable of the Good Samaritan is an example of this. On Judgment Day Jesus said that what you do for the needy (clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, etc.) you do for HIM. Jesus identifies with them.

Quote:Furthermore, when St. Francis was first instructed by God to rebuild His Church, he initially thought it was to rebuild the physical churches, not understanding God's message to rebuilt His spiritual Church on earth.  By the same token, isn't the focus on the financially poor a superficial understanding of God's message?  Shouldn't the real focus be on rebuilding the spiritual Church and minister to those who are in great spiritual need?

When St. Francis really understood God’s message he started begging for the poor, kissing lepers, etc. He saw the face of Jesus in the poor. So did all the saints. Once you tend to their physical needs you can better tend to their spiritual needs. Read the Epistle of James
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Quote:Maybe I'm rambling, but it just seems that somewhere the message got lost.  Good works are important, but the real message is Jesus.  Saving souls is much more important than addressing the physical needs of this life.  Am I off the mark here?  Your input would be greatly appreciated.

God in the Old Testament was concerned about our attitude toward the poor, the orphan, the widow, the alien, the downtrodden. He was close to the broken hearted. The poor symbolize in their bodies, in the very lives, a deeper, spiritual reality. We are ALL born naked and poor, in need of God’s grace, totally dependent on Him for our survival. Secondly, by helping those weaker than ourselves, we learn gentleness, patience, compassion, and generosity. We become more like God, more Christlike. And thus more fit for heaven.

ThomastheDoubter Wrote:What worries me is that the pope called youth unemployment the biggest issue facing modern society.

Youth unemployment is a bigger problem in Europe and South America than it is in the US. When the young are out of work all kinds of bad things happen, like they turn to selling drugs or prostitution. Violence and crime goes up. Suicides rise. Also, more abortions. It’s more complex than it sounds.
Matthew 25: 31-46

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

31 And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty.
32 And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.
34 Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35 For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in:
36 Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.
37 Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee?
39 Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee?
40 And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.
41 Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink.
43 I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me.
44 Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee?
45 Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.
46 And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.

I see no mention of Marx here.

I do however see a promise of eternal punishment for those who did not feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, or who did not clothe the naked, or minister to the sick and imprisoned, because in refusing or in merely not doing so they did not minster to Christ Himself.
Francis' focus on the financially poor is completely understandable considering where he comes from and how he was formed. Arrupes Jesuits and the Latin America of the 70's-80's made the issue of financial poverty and destitution almost the only thing that mattered at all. To address the issue of poverty was and is the sine qua non of Christianity as envisaged by Arrupean Jesuitism and Liberation Theologians--everything else was just aesthetics and non esstentials--stuffy dogmas and doctrines for the educated and rich to discuss in their gated communities but bearing no relation to anything real. That being said there's something profoundly Scriptural about trying to help people get out of poverty and there is nothing wrong with it so long as it is balanced. We cannot separate dogma,doctrine, prayer and right belief from our work with the poor, but neither can we drop right belief,prayer.and doctrine at the expense of activism. This has always been.a struggle in Christianity and so it is today. Francis, while not my cup of tea with his style, does attempt to strike that balance,I mean, no high ranking member of the UN or UNICEF publicly offers Mass or talks about the devil or prayer--Francis does.
(06-07-2014, 07:59 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: [ -> ]Francis' focus on the financially poor is completely understandable considering where he comes from and how he was formed. Arrupes Jesuits and the Latin America of the 70's-80's made the issue of financial poverty and destitution almost the only thing that mattered at all. To address the issue of poverty was and is the sine qua non of Christianity as envisaged by Arrupean Jesuitism and Liberation Theologians--everything else was just aesthetics and non esstentials--stuffy dogmas and doctrines for the educated and rich to discuss in their gated communities but bearing no relation to anything real. That being said there's something profoundly Scriptural about trying to help people get out of poverty and there is nothing wrong with it so long as it is balanced. We cannot separate dogma,doctrine, prayer and right belief from our work with the poor, but neither can we drop right belief,prayer.and doctrine at the expense of activism. This has always been.a struggle in Christianity and so it is today. Francis, while not my cup of tea with his style, does attempt to strike that balance,I mean, no high ranking member of the UN or UNICEF publicly offers Mass or talks about the devil or prayer--Francis does.

Excellent post.
Modern ideas of 'helping the poor' involve taking from the rich by taxation, or appropriation, i.e theft.

The Catholic ideal of helping the poor is Charity; giving willingly, through caritas.

A leftist Pope we don't need. Socialism and Communisim have been disastrous wherever they've been tried.

What we need is a Pope who will simply, clearly and fearlessly state Catholic truths.

Love God and you will be moved to love Man. It doesn't work the other way 'round.

I'm sick and tired of leftist clergy. As a class, they suck the life our religion by ignoring its spirtual dimension, from which it draws its power.
(06-07-2014, 08:53 PM)Layman Wrote: [ -> ]Modern ideas of 'helping the poor' involve taking from the rich by taxation, or appropriation, i.e theft.

The Catholic ideal of helping the poor is Charity; giving willingly, through caritas.

A leftist Pope we don't need. Socialism and Communisim have been disastrous wherever they've been tried.

What we need is a Pope who will simply, clearly and fearlessly state Catholic truths.

Love God and you will be moved to love Man. It doesn't work the other way 'round.

I'm sick and tired of leftist clergy. As a class, they suck the life our religion by ignoring its spirtual dimension, from which it draws its power.

I would disagree - modern ideas about helping the poor include trickle down economics, the removal of trade tariffs and barriers, opening markets to multi-nationals, and creating McJobs while destroying the local economy.

The Pope is stating the same Catholic truths as Thomas Aquinas, as restated in Rerum Novarum and on every major anniversary since.
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