I profess a vow of poverty and so I've often got money on the mind -- particularly in terms of living with a sense of the common good and care for those who are poor and vulnerable. As I've been reading Pope Francis's words on living in a "cult of money" I found myself agreeing and thinking about the world "out there." After all, with my aforementioned vow of poverty, there's no way I'd be in that cult of money! But is that really the case?

Pope Francis and the doveMany of us are problable in a similar boat where we don't have so many sheckles to rub together that would remotely constitute a cult. If we melted down our proverbial gold we might end up with a golden calf's hoof at best. Many of us would never identify ourselves in a cult of money -- if anything, a cult of no money! Yet I do not believe that we are let off the golden hook so easily. Pope Francis's words are meant for us as well because money, capitalism, consumerism, and power are very much a part of the culture in which we live.

Here are some of the aspects of this cult of money that Pope Francis mentions which give me pause:

  • "We must also acknowledge that the majority of the men and women of our time continue to live daily in situations of insecurity, with dire consequences."
  • "Human beings themselves are nowadays considered as consumer goods which can be used and thrown away. We have started a throw-away culture."
  • "... solidarity, which is the treasure of the poor, is often considered counterproductive, opposed to the logic of finance and the economy."
  • "The will to power and of possession has become limitless."
  • "Ethics, like solidarity, is a nuisance! It is regarded as counterproductive: as something too human, because it relativizes money and power; as a threat, because it rejects manipulation and subjection of people: because ethics leads to God, who is situated outside the categories of the market."
  • "... 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)."
  • "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."
  • "The common good should not be simply an extra, simply a conceptual scheme of inferior quality tacked onto political programmes"

Pope Francis' entire address can be found on the Vatican's website: Address of Pope Francis to the New Non-Resident Ambassadors to the Holy See: Kyrgyzstan, Antigua and Barbuda, Luxembourg and Botswana (May 16, 2013). All I can say is God bless the ambassadors who were at this audience and got a lot more than they may have expected!

What are some ways that the pope's message rings true in your daily life? What do you find challenging or heartening?

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