Pope Francis’ emotional arguments for economic reforms

Unlike Leo XIII and Pius XI, Francis’ analysis is not rooted in our obligations in justice (although he places a few off hand allusions to justice). The overwhelming thrust of his argument is emotional. Rather than requiring all to fulfill their duties in justice he exhorts those in business to have a sentimental emotional reaction to the plight of the poor. This leads him to plea for mercy and generosity, which are good things to seek, but to neglect claims of justice.

The problem with appeals predominately to mercy and generosity is that such terms suggest that action is optional or discretionary and not required by the moral law. Rather than talking about our sins against justice Francis decries our “being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain” Whereas the prior popes explained the inherent limits on the use of private property as a principle of Natural Law, for Francis this is only a “spontaneous reaction”

Essentially Francis conceives of Catholic social doctrine as an emotional “option for the poor” to avoid inequality. The ultimate source of this reduction of traditional doctrine lies in the conflation of the supernatural with the natural initiated by the “new theology” of Henri de Lubac.

This theologian accused of Modernism before the Council but rehabilitated by John XXIII to become a Council expert, rejected the Thomistic distinction between the natural and the supernatural. Although for St. Thomas grace builds on nature, nature is not grace and our life here is only our natural end. Our ultimate end is greater and distinct. Our pursuit of our natural end must be in light of and oriented toward our ultimate supernatural end.

This blurring of the distinction results in a theology and philosophy centered on man and his natural well-being, which has now been elevated to a supernatural status rather than centered on God.

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No Francis Fone – but it’s close: Pope Francis’ Christmas Gift to Rome’s Poor: Phone Cards and Metro Tickets.

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The “devil” is in the details

ROME (Reuters) – Disused church buildings should be used to house refugees, who must be embraced rather than feared, Pope Francis told asylum seekers in Rome on Tuesday, underlining his papacy’s emphasis on the poor and the plight of immigrants.

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Editor’s note: These “broad strokes” are great, Holy Father. But we need to know more. How do you plan to deal with issues like illegal drugs, gangs and other criminal activity, coupled with rampant sexual immorality and religious conflict?

Pope Francis: Why he took that name.

Vatican City, Mar 16, 2013 / 08:11 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis told thousands of journalists today he loved them and thanked them for their recent work.

The pontiff told the professionals that Jesus is the center of the Church and not himself.

“Without him, Peter and the Church would not exist nor would they have a reason for existing,” he said.

Pope Francis also explained that he chose the name Francis because of what a cardinal told him on the day he became Pope.

“On the election day I had next to me the Archbishop emeritus of Sao Paolo and the prefect emeritus of the Congregation of the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, a great friend,” he said.

“When the voting resulted in the election of the Pope, he hugged me, he kissed me and he told me ‘do not forget the poor,’” said the Pope.

He explained that the words “the poor” remained stuck in his head and he suddenly thought of Saint Francis of Assisi.

“Man of poverty, man of peace, man who loves and guards the Creator,” said Pope Francis.

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The little lady had it right!

“I know I wouldn’t be able to work one week if it were not for the continual force coming from Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. In our society we begin our day with Mass and Holy Communion and we end it with one full hour of Adoration. We have permission from the different bishops to expose the Blessed Sacrament. All of us know that unless we believe and can see Jesus in the appearance of bread on the altar, we will not be able to see Him in the distressing disguise of the poor. Therefore, these two loves are but one in Jesus.” (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta)

Source: http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org

The social gospel and idol worship

“Nothing….absolutely nothing…..not even the service of the poor, takes precedence over the worship, honor and obedience due to God.” Nothing.  If even the service of the poor takes precedence over this, it becomes an idol. An idol in sheep’s clothing to be sure, but an idol nonetheless.

An old Seminary professor (deceased now) told me many years ago” “Beware the poverty of Judas.” What does this mean? Fundamentally it means that the care of the poor can sometimes be used (by some) in an attempt to water down Christian doctrine and the priority of worship. The social gospel, if we are not careful, can demand that we compromise Christian dogma and the priority of proclaiming the Gospel.

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