Rich Guy Threatens to Take Ball and Go Home

cuz Francis makes him jittery.  Simcha Fisher, being sane, offers a sane take.  Odds are high that the conservative voice that have put out hits on him as “the Obama of the Catholic Church” and a “pure Marxist” will all side with the rich guy and completely and totally forget and reject the meaning of Jesus’ encounter with the Rich Young Man.  Weird to be living in a time when the Righteous People are defending the tender wounded feelings of some pampered rich guy and tut tutting because the pope is allowing the poor riff raff into Fortress Katolicus.

Update:

At issue is an effort to raise $180 million for the restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York being spearheaded by billionaire Ken Langone, the investor known for founding Home Depot, among other things.

That would be this Home Depot:

Home Depot Hosts Children’s Workshop at Gay Pride Festival

Boy, if this guy is getting the vapors from Francis, he’s going to wet himself when he reads:

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you. (James 5:1-6)

And, by the way, for those of us who are spending so many tears of sympathy of the tender feelings of the butthurt rich, James has some words of counself for us too:

My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while you say to the poor man, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you, is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme that honorable name which was invoked over you? (James 2:1-7)

Filthy commie.

One of the great mysteries in the universe is why anybody would believe that somebody dedicated to doing whatever they like with one thing in their pants would be interested in letting God interfere with the use of the other thing they keep in their pants, their wallets.

  • Marthe Lépine

    I started – but soon gave up – to read some of the comments following the CNBC story, and they are very depressing, particularly one that states that Francis needs a “road to Damascus” encounter in order to see how righteous American economics are. Those comments more than confirm what you are saying in your post.

  • Tom

    Don’t put too much stock in what Ken Langone has to say. Trust me on this one, fellow Sheavians.

  • Colin Corcoran

    They forget that the early church was a community of total consecration. In todays terms “Filthy Communists” The holy Ghost even smote Annanias and His wife dead for holding back on their consecration to the Christian community. Seems Gods wrath is invoked in the new testament over money a lot – Jesus got mid-evil on the money changers in the temple. It’s a very tangible piece of Christianity glossed over or just plain ignored by the “Gospel of Prosperity” crowd…

    Colin

    http://catholichusband.wordpress.com

    • Marthe Lépine

      It seems to me that Annanias and his wife were smitten because they lied by claiming, and even swearing, that they were giving the entire price of (I think) a piece of property that they had sold. If they had said that they were not comfortable at the moment with the idea of giving all and preferred to keep some, a discussion might have followed (that they maybe did not want because it would make them look bad), and they might have avoided such punishment.

      • Colin Corcoran

        I still maintain that it was love of money that was their sin, their failure to consecrate, and then lying about it. It was the clinging to the material things instead of trusting in the Church that led to directly to their smiting. To be clear though the scripture did not say which sin (maybe both combined to tick God off that badly?) that Annanias and his wife were smitten over. Still it is food for thought when reviewing Catholic Social Justice Doctrine.

        • Dan C

          Those who have lived in community know what is happening in this passage.

          Your insistence on “consecration” suggests a communal requirement and formal commitment like a religious vow that may not have been present. This may have been the functional character of the Christian community and “baptism” was the only consecration.

  • Dave G.

    I wonder if there is anything Francis has said that applies to me?

    • chezami

      You might try reading him and find out. I’m pretty sure you have an obligation to evangelize. Start there.

      • Dave G.

        I have. And yes, evangelizing leaps to mind. So perhaps that could be the focus, rather than ‘those Catholics over there who don’t agree with the Pope the way we do.’ It’s taking on a life of its own Mark, and there’s a diminishing of ‘here’s what the Pope is saying’ and an increase in ‘here’s those Catholics who aren’t as obedient as us.’ Not a healthy trend. When the first comments I see following the Pope’s first publication is a string of ‘bet *this* section will piss off *those* Catholics’, we’ve probably already crossed a line. Not too late to turn back of course. A great way would be to get to just what you said, which is a good thing.

  • Andy

    I think that Francis is hitting a lot of nerves with his blunt assessments. It was easy to consign the writings of Benedict and JPII to the academic realm – you know writing and saying what is the ideal, but not practical. Not because they said anything different than Francis, but because they said it in a more nuanced manner – one that was/is not in our faces. Francis speaks directly to our faces and this seems to scare the hell out of the monied set. Maybe they know they are wrong and damn I am rich and can’t be wrong is their mantra?
    Francis challenges my public face, or what the public sees in ways that make me uncomfortable, while Benedict challenged my interior life – boy they are pain. But a pain I guess I needed.

  • Adolfo

    Among the disturbing things in this article is the access these rich people have to Cardinal Dolan. I dunno, it just seems smarmy to me. Does a poor man have such access to the Cardinal? Does he get a chance to have breakfast with him and have his ear for a time?

    • Dan C

      The wealthy have always had this. And their representatives like Novak and Weigel.

    • Irena

      Would be nice if the answer was yes

  • Rosemarie

    +J.M.J+

    What could possibly be wrong with people returning to the Church? So they may not have all their theological ducks in a row but that’s not what saves us, anyway. They are returning to the bosom of our Mother, the Church, to the fountain of grace and the Sacraments. Much good can come from that.

    Just how cool is the Pope? Wayward millennials flocking to church
    http://www.kaldaya.net/2013/News/12/Dec13_E5_VtcnNews.html

    Bring them in from the highways and byways and then pray that God gives them a true conversion of heart, if they need it.

    • Dave G.

      Who said there is a problem with people returning to the Church?

      • Rosemarie

        +J.M.J+

        I guess that was more from the linked post on Simcha Fisher’s blog.

        • Dave .G

          She said it, but I didn’t find it. I thought you had found the part where someone had said that.

    • Dan C

      Simcha Fischer struggles with the critique of capitalism. She tries to distract from that conversation. She misleads that the trouble is all the dirty sinners returning to the Church. In this case, its not.

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    Langone was not threatening to withhold, but cited a potential donor who was having reservations. The article also points out that the Pope’s exhortation was tendentiously mistranslated into English (from Spanish) and that the giving patterns of the US wealthy is markedly different from those of Argentina, where “capitalism” is really a combination of state socialism and crony capitalism quite contrary to the spirit of Adam Smith. Critics like Limbaugh seem to forget that the Church was criticizing Marxism long before. But see for example Chesterton’s Fr. Brown story, “The Crime of the Communist.”

    • TheodoreSeeber

      I haven’t trusted the “Spirit of Adam Smith” since I found out the invisible hand was a fist in an iron glove. Doesn’t mean I trust the spirit of Marx either.

      • Eve Fisher

        A plague on both their houses.

    • Dan C

      What about Paul the 6th and PP? What about CinV? What internal conservative discussion has permitted the dismissal of these documents and the critique of the current capitalistic economic system?

      One should be warned as Kudlow was warned by Reno against fighting the last war- against communism- unholy as it was with Catholic priests killed and tortured by American client states- and focus on fighting for economic virtues now. Capitalism, with its insistence by necessity of folks excluded from labor and work, fits poorly with Christianity and a properly ordered society.

      Capitalism is what obviously prevails today. Conjuring specters of dead economic systems to note- look Catholicism says Communism is even eviller- is the argument of Weigel and Novak in 1982.

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        Capitalism does not “prevail” today. In every State that matters, the market it hemmed in with government regulations and red tape, often restricting entry into the market to compete with established campaign donors.

        • Dan C

          From your own side of the Catholic Wars, I present a refutation of this by R Reno with his follow-up to a critique by Robert Miller.

          http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/04/the-triumph-of-capitalism/rr-reno

          http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/05/capitalism-and-conservatism/rr-reno

          I liken your complaints to the Marxist who always whined that Marxism was never really tried when faced with its moral and empiric failures.

        • Dan C

          Capitalism prevails. You are so enamored of an ideology of libertarianism, you cannot even admit reality.

          • Stu

            I don’t think Capitalism prevails. Nor does Socialism. We haven’t had either of those for decades. And I defend neither.

            What we have is more insidious as it is a hybrid of sorts. The plutocrats and bureaucrats are working together now.

            • Dan C

              I cannot see how anyone could do anything but predict massive winners skewing a market in any capitalist system. Put one billion “players” into the market, and massive winners will evolve in a highly connected system. This is not “cheating”- this is the expected consequence. Then, in an investment schema which promotes “play the winner” arrangements, capital will gravitate to the big winners more and more. The consequence is that at any one moment a small businessman has to compete with those folks to secure capital to ensure the enterprise proceeds.

              As far as regulation is concerned, small business folks my way who are honest respect and desire regulation so that proper standards are enforced. Regulation is the stabilizing ordered manner in which a society moderates the whipsawing potentials as well as the unscrupulous possibilities that market economies create.

              What folks who are strict libertarians seem to fail to understand is that the consequences they critique in current market economies is exactly the expected consequences of competition in huge connected economies. Winners keep winning and control more and more power and capital.

              Such trajectories are expected in capitalism.

              • Ye Olde Statistician

                Money is not the root of all evil. Love-of-money is. No one is blameworthy for being rich; but may be blameworthy for oppressing the poor. The one is not a prerequisite for the other.

                Your Marxian analysis is a triumph of Theory over Fact, and misses a singular point: the dynamics of the market. It might be a true analysis iff all lines of business remained static. For so long as “Pennsylvania Heavy crude cracked into kerosene” defined the oil business, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil was riding high (and driving whale oil off the market, saving the whales). But when technology shifted — Edison’s electric light bulb pulled the rug from under the demand for kerosene — and “West Texas Light cracked into gasoline” became the product of demand — automobiles replacing kerosene lamps as the major consumers of petroleum fractions — his empire began to crumble and upstart Texas oilmen began to ace him out. Standard Oil’s market share had already dropped from 90% to under 60% before the government decided to break up Standard Oil. Contrary to Theory, Standard Oil never did anything but reduce prices, monopoly or no, and increase workers’ salaries. The key was there were few barriers to upstarts entering the market with better business models, with which Standard Oil would have to deal.

                Only when government-sanctioned and chartered monopolies were involved were prices to customers kept high. Cornelius Vanderbilt (and Daniel Webster) overthrew the early monopoly of government-chartered steamship companies (“utilities” model), started up “alternative lines” and brought steamshipping costs down and down, to the prosperity of towns where he set up stations. Government-chartered Ma Bell and government-chartered cable companies are more recent examples of high prices sustained by government-sanctioned monopolies.

                So are the too-big-to-fail leeches that get bailed out. Under capitalism, Goldman-Sachs would have been allowed to go under, and better run upstarts would have taken its place. But G/S had too many former partners in the government for that to happen.

                Most regulations effectively block the little guy by setting up barriers that raise his cost of doing business. Big businesses, which secured the regulation by dint of handy campaign donations, can swallow the costs and hardly notice, but small businesses oft find their boat swamped.

                Hence, there are regulations, then there are regulations. That some are necessary when the wealthy class is no longer Christian does not mean that all are necessary, nor even that all are useful or accomplish their supposed purpose.

                • Dan C

                  “The little guy” fails due to inadequate start-up capital, a bad marketing plan, and incompetence most of the time. This isn’t Marxist analysis, but empiric data.

                  I have seen plenty of small businesses succeed, but the trouble, as noted in my market-based- not Marxist- analysis, is that attracting the capital requires a promise of return on investment that matches what one would get on an index fund. Most business can promise ROI of 5% after 2 years. While that may suffice for family of the small business owner- the usual investor- larger investors often demand higher ROI.

                  These are the basics of the initial business plan of the entrepreneur. I have seen folks do well. The regulatiory environment many encountered assured that the quality they produced would not be undercut by the unscrupulous.

                  As far as a criticism of wealth that you infer I personally maintain as evil, I again can only suggest that Luke and Matthew are your real opponents in that argument, not I. You have to contend with Dives and the “Woe to the rich” stuff. Wealth brings special pitfalls for the Christian apparently.

                  • Stu

                    Much of life brings pitfalls to a society in denial of Original Sin with disordered appetites. Love of money (not true wealth) is one of them.

                    There are rich men who have made money their idol. But here are poor men who have done the same. And there are righteous men in both groups. Do the rich need to be reminded of their obligations? Of course they do. In fact, depending on how you define “rich”, we all do.

                    But let’s not yet again tribalize this into another us vs them thing that resembles politics more and spiritual warfare.

                  • Ye Olde Statistician

                    Wealth does indeed bring special pitfalls. One may grow to love and worship it at the expense of one’s fellow man. Thus, even though the capitalist system has, more than any other, raised more people out of poverty, it carries a special risk to the capitalist, as he may become ensnared by his success.

                    (And yes, your analysis of what happens in a market in Theory — rather than in Fact — is just how Marx analyzed the market. Like many others, his analysis was static rather than dynamic.)

                    It does no good to cite a beneficial regulation or two. That is stipulated. One must always guard against fraud by sinful entrepreneurs. (Selling shoddy wares under the pretense of being superior ware is fraud.) OTOH, the poor may not be able to afford Fine Corinthian Leather and must settle for Naugahyde. That’s why there are grades of quality. (YOS, as “Ye Olde Quality Engineer”)

                    But even a regulation that claims (e.g.) to enforce quality can be used perniciously by governments to support their favored campaign contributors. One need only define “quality” in some tendentious manner. Mass produced furniture was often inferior to hand-crafted furniture. But the latter could be afforded only by the well-to-do while the former could be purchased by the common man.

                    Woe to the rich, indeed. They are often the casualties of the market system: in the course of producing affordable goods for the masses, they lose their souls. That is why the prayer goes “blessed are the poor in spirit,” not “blessed are the poor.” And what a man does with his wealth matters more than how much wealth he has.

                    A Thomist look at the problem:
                    http://thomism.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/on-a-cause-of-corruption-in-popular-governments/

                    A Liberal look at the problem:
                    http://www.amazon.com/The-Death-Common-Sense-Suffocating/dp/0812982746

              • Stu

                But again, we haven’t had Capitalism in this country since the stock market crashed. Capitalistic trends? Sure, but not capitalism. And that’s because it doesn’t work. Nor does Socialism. Instead it is a bastardized Keynesianism. Regulation nowadays is used to keep the small business man out of the market.

                I think this points to one of the first things that needs to be discussed is what exactly are capitalism and socialism and what exactly do we have now. And then what is the alternative to these things which have all failed?

                • Andy

                  As long as there is the mammon-driven market in America the discussion you call for and the one that is needed will not occur. I recall reading that Greenspan said something to this end when the recession hit – “I couldn’t believe that these folks would act against their own best interests.” And I paraphrased. As long as there is no long term vision there will be no change, much to the detriment of the US.

                  • Stu

                    Sadly, I think you may be right. We are probably going to have to fall down hard before we start asking some serious questions.

        • HornOrSilk

          “Market” is not the same thing as “capitalism,” Such equivocation is the type of sleight of hand capitalists use to justify evil.

          Whenever people talk about the evils of capitalism, the response is about “free markets.” Capitalism ends up anti-free markets, and those who use this equivocation, are undermining those very markets by defending capitalism.

    • Paxton Reis

      “Langone was not threatening to withhold, but cited a potential donor who was having reservations.”

      I don’t get the immediate, often “concerned”, reaction some Catholics have with what Pope Francis has communicated.

      Jesus’ teachings are ultimately challenging and revolutionary–and ever more so in our fast pace age deep in consumerism and experiencing the moment.
      One would assume most wealthy (and most of us) have the means to dig deeper into what Francis is saying to us, and what previous popes have communicated to use through various encyclicals. It takes effort and time, but seems a sure fire better response to the Pope then the seemingly knee-jerk response of some critics.

  • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

    In the new year I hope you give up this tendency to try to stir up fights. People who misunderstand the Pope should become educated as to his actual message. That’s not helped along by your approach. Jesus didn’t point out the young rich man and say odds are high he’s going to foul this up. He gave the guy a chance to do the right thing and then when he said he wanted to take a further step but rejected actually taking that step when he was given the opportunity only then did the lecture proceed.

    We are all likely to fall short of the glory of God at some point. That’s not much of a surprise. How are we to pick ourselves up and get back on track is much more interesting, as you yourself are when you address that subject.

  • ChGPe

    Did you even read the CNBC link in the article that you linked to? What this potential donor objected to was the Pope’s apparent generalization of rich people as being insensitive to the poor. There was no quote by the man in the article that suggested that he was bringing up concerns out of some sense of greed. That was a sentiment that YOU injected into this story out of your own preconceived notions (or you just took CNBC’s preconceived notions and ran with them). You’re calumniating this man without any basis for arriving at your conclusion of his intentions. Shame on you, Mark.

    • jaybird1951

      Thank you for writing this. I was going to make a similar point. Mark made an assumption about these wealthy men based on his own biases and not on what they actually said. He then ran with it in his own inimitable fashion. As I read it, Mr. Langone is not the man who had the concern but was passing along the other man’s concern.

      • Dave G.

        I wonder about how Simcha Fisher reflected on people being jittery about converts, or the wrong type of converts or the validity of their conversion while linking to the article in question. Was there something in the CNBC article I missed?

  • Andy

    Mr. Langone wants to make sure that he knows “American donors are some of the biggest donors in the world.” In this article from CNBC they attribute the comments about economics being based on the Argetinian experince of Francis. Damn, The fact that Francis comes from a country with economic upheaval is not the reason for his statements. He, like his predecessors see the commodification of people as the result of this current economic culture. The autonomy of the market, financial speculation, avoidance of taxes are according to Francis the issue. Look at the US, nobody doubts the “generosity” of Mr. Langone and others, however numerous studies have shown that it is the poor who are more open to giving. The poor give to social relief agencies and religious organizations at about 3.2% of their income while the wealthy gave to museums, universities and the like at 1.2% of their income, and the rich can take advantage of the tax breaks associated with their generosity.
    I find it difficult to feel sorry for Mr. Langone’s hurt feelings or the hurt feelings of the other wealthy donor. As Kennedy said “to whom much is given, much is expected.” I would also suggest that Mr. Langone and his rich friends also read Matthew 6 1-4, it might help.

    • Adolfo

      “American donors are some of the biggest donors in the world.” Exactly! Look at those sacks and sacks of money they deposit into the temple treasury! Surely God is impressed, right?

      • Dave G.

        It helps the objectivity meter to give credit where it is due. I’m not some bold defender of Wall Street Billionaires. Nonetheless, if someone does good, then so be it. Credit counted.

        • Andy

          But the doer of good should not bra about it. That was the intent of Matthew.

          • Dave G.

            They weren’t. It appeared that they were trying to point out that not all the wealthy are default bad. Some, including Americans in general, can be a giving brood. Something fair to emphasize, especially if the discussion is often on the failings and faults.

            • Andy

              As I read the article Mr. Langone seemed to be saying that the fact that people from America donate that the pope must understand how his words impact them. He seemed to be putting the possible donations in doubt because of the Pope’s words – that is not why s a person should give.

              • Dave G.

                Based on the article, he Langone said he knew of an anonymous donor who was worried and considering his donations in light of what he believed to be inaccurate generalizations made by the Pope singling out American style Capitalism. Whether the Pope was or not was discussed as well in the article. The idea that anyone was bothered by people converting, FWIW, doesn’t appear to have been mentioned. But in the context of someone thinking that American Capitalism has been too negatively portrayed, it would be fair to say ‘by the way, Americans on average are pretty giving when you set up rates compared to other places.’ That’s just trying to show all sides, which everyone should be interested in seeing.

                • Andy

                  In America we do not have capitalism – we have some bastardization of capitalism, :monied nobility”, and cronyism. This set of people seem to believe that they must receive adulation for what they do, they also seem to believe that without the adulation should I’ve them a special pass and acceptance of their behaviors. Mr. Langone’s portrayal of the donor and what he would say to t Pope point out that this set of people believe that money by access and acceptance. By the sway American style Captialism for me has become a blight on our country because of the extreme disparities it creates.
                  I realize that out will disagree with me on this, but it is the interpretation of events that leads to conversation and growth.

                  • HornOrSilk

                    Why is it “bastardized capitalism” that those who are capitalists with the most success use it for their advantages? That is what happens with capitalism, it is not bastard capitalism, it is capitalism.

                    • Andy

                      Because it is not “pure” capitalism it is an amalgamation of many beliefs, trends and behaviors. That amalgamation makes it a bastardization, for me.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      I don’t think you know what capitalism is, to discuss what is “pure” or not “pure.” The behaviors you discuss come directly out of capitalism. Capitalism does not lead to moral people making the most money, but the immoral using the money they get to displace the rest.

                    • Andy

                      Capitalism by definition is “an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state”. given the state of the current American economic system it is not capitalism, pure or impure. I am not speaking to the results of capitalism, I am speaking to the structure of capitalism. By the way anyone can discuss pure or not pure – it does not take a degree in economics, it takes common sense and a knowledge of what words mean.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      Given that the economic system is controlled by private owners for profit — well, you figure out the rest

                    • Andy

                      Look again – the government bails out industries at an obscene rate – what we have is crony capitalism – a combination of government for the businesses, by the businesses and of the businesses – hidden under the guise of a democratic structure. I would love to spend time discussing this with you but it will be to no avail – we see things differently and nothing will change that.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      “Crony capitalism” is capitalism. Nothing in capitalism which says government can’t give money to private industry. Seriously, you are defending the whole system which is behind the breakdown, and you don’t get it yet.

                    • Andy

                      The system we have today is corrupt – it is broken. Defending it is not my intent nor what I have written. Please read carefully all I have written. Have a nice day.

                  • Dave G,

                    Perhaps. I’m not an economist. I just feel it was OK for him to point out that Americans who are wealthy can be known to give. I’m sure that can be parsed, too. But it was OK to point out.

  • Stu

    Where have you all been?

    I could have used some help over at the CNBC article sorting some people out.

  • Barbara Fryman

    Francis has really disturbed my spirit as well, thank God. Every cup of coffee I buy has been accompanied with the thought that I ought to be giving that money to the homeless. I put to prayer my own resistance to becoming more interactive with the poor, but I struggle mightily with selfishness and bigotry. Am I one of the butthurt rich? absolutely. God help me. Do I deserve more mercy because my selfishness runs in the hundreds rather than millions? Nope. This donor needs our prayers, not our disgust. His sin is disgusting, but his heart is being unsettled for his salvation, and we shouldn’t attack him during this critical time.

    • Dave G.

      Thank you. I’ve been waiting for more talk about ‘How Francis challenges [Me]‘ I’m about tired of these parlor games. I think Francis is coming from a different world than many of us are used to. And he’s not talking so we can call each other out for not being as awesome as we are. I don’t have much experience working with folks from S. America. But I spent years working with, and getting to know, people from Africa and SE Asia. When I think of what some of my friends from those regions used to say, I wonder if I get where Francis is coming from. I get a feeling that he’s not a liberal savior ready to redeem Catholicism from the blasphemy of non-liberalism. Nor is he some closet Marxist itching to take out America. He’s coming from a world where people died for their stances, poverty led to starvation and death as often as not, and people didn’t always have time for the issues that should divide sheep from the goats (the great Women’s Pants crisis of 2013 leaps to mind). I haven’t gotten over his statement about throwing away food. I know that’s a common sentiment. I have a friend from Nigeria who used to say that Americans throw away enough food in a week to feed a village for a month. I think that’s where Francis is coming from. I don’t know how he will be in the future. That’s for the future to tell. At this point, I’m struggling with what I get him saying now.

      • Paxton Reis

        “I think Francis is coming from a different world than many of us are used to.”

        There is a notion to think we, the US, are the center of the world. Yes, we are blessed with many material comforts and opportunities (though consumerism and materialism have distorted how we respond to those blessings) but that is not the experience across most of the globe.

        Your comment about your Nigerian remind me of an experience several years ago. Our Knight’s council holds a pancake breakfast once in a while to raise funds for the parish, CYO, etc. We cover the tables in a plastic cloth from a roll, and at the end of the breakfast the plastic gets trashed. A brother Knight who was originally from Nigeria commented that people back in Nigeria would want to have the plastic we are trashing as they could put it to good use. We are too at ease in trashing items.

        My wife is from east Asia and was born into a tough period economically for her home country, when compared to the middle class life in the US, and her grandma made her eat every grain of rice on her plate at meal-time. My wife’s home country is quite well off economically now, but with her generation there is remains a strong sense of frugality. Over the past seven years, she has worked as a lunchroom monitor at our local elementary school and she is appalled by the amount of food trashed each day.

        • Dave G.

          I’m afraid your wife would have been appalled at us, at least until recent years. Hard economic times and growing teenage boys have cut down on our waste, and I feel the better for it. Still can’t help but think Francis is a tip of the iceberg. And not just for showing how bad those rascally conservatives are. I think we’re all going to be challenged in the not too distant future to make some radical changes in our thinking, if not our actual living.

          • Paxton Reis

            She’s changed my ways, and we have “down-sized” our living standards in many ways. Financially, we are doing well though avoiding the rat race of consumerism has simplified life in many ways.

            There was a study not too long ago that estimated that $150B to $200B of food went to waste each year in the US. Add to that what happens in other developed nations…

  • kirthigdon

    Other than the thuggish quasi-fascist populism of Peronism, capitalism as practiced in Argentina or the US is not that different. Same goes for just about any capitalist country. It might be called corporate capitalism, state capitalism, crony capitalism or even social democracy. There is no major difference. I prefer the ancient Greek term oligarchy. Free enterprise exists only in the underground economy. I’m not talking just about illegal enterprises like prostitution and drug dealing, but also things such a child care and small scale contracting which are often carried out without regard to government regulations and paid for with unreported cash under the table. Bit coin is enabling an expansion of the underground economy, but time will tell if it proves a long range threat to the central banks of the oligarchs.
    Kirt Higdon

  • Stu

    Now to those out there who routinely talk about others who “don’t get Francis” this would be a good opportunity for them to drink from the same medicine bottle. If we are going to say that the progressives among us misunderstanding the Pope is an opportunity for dialogue then surely this sort of thing we have here is likewise an opportunity for dialogue for the conservatives. If the Church is indeed a spiritual “field hospital”, I don’t think shooting the wounded in the head does much for healing.

  • Elmwood

    nothing worse than whiny billionaires/millionaires overly sensitive about being rich. as if these guys are being persecuted.

    just like with legalized abortion being nearly impossible to overturn, so is self-righteous greedy capitalism. the rich have successfully brainwashed many “conservatives” that trickle down wealth is the best way to go, even when the rich elites blatantly take money from the poor and middle class to get themselves richer.


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