Joel Osteen and Pope Francis

Joel Osteen the prosperity preacher from Houston has just moved up from his $2m mansion to a $10m mansion. Here’s the news.

This is one of the things that tickle me about American Protestantism. These are the folks who have traditionally beat the Catholics with a big stick about the Pope living in a palace surrounded by rich art works.

The other thing is the way Protestants will beat up on Catholics for having a highly exalted infallible leader who is treated like a celebrity. Duh. The problem with them is not that they don’t have a Pope, but that they have 30,000 popes. Every pastor a pope, and Pope Osteen is just one among many.

So Pope Francis lives in a modest suite in a functional hostel while Pope Joel lives in a palace in Houston. Even when the popes lived in the apostolic palace they only lived in a comparatively modest apartment in the palace, and all that art? It’s history and heritage. He doesn’t own it. It belongs to the world–witness the crowds who come and go talking of Michelangelo.

But who am I to judge? They say Joel Osteen makes all his loot from sale of his books and calendars and self help T-shirts. He’s welcome to it I guess, and who knows, he might live like a prince of the Church on a fraction of his takings. He might give 90% of his wealth to the poor. So live and let live and let God be the judge.

But when it comes to appearances, when it comes to the one who seems to live the life of apostolic simplicity– Pope Francis wins.

For that matter, he wins with the gospel he’s preaching too. The American prosperity gospel is a false gospel. It’s no surprise that Osteen’s church doesn’t have a cross in it. Neither does the gospel he’s preaching.

Just thought…are there any photoshoppers out there who can send me a pic of Osteen being carried around in the sedia gestatoria?

  • cowhide3006

    Go you YouTube and look for Martyrs Read Joel Osteen Tweets! It is a video put out by Lutheran Satire. They do some really good stuff. Occasionally anti-Catholic but more often right on the mark. Anyway they are showing how that prosperity theology would have (not) gone over with the martyrs.

  • Ian Powell

    Great article – except that ugly bit of good old fashioned propaganda against our protestant brothers The problem with them is not that they don’t have a Pope, but that they have 30,000 popes – I know lots of pastors and it is to “bear false witness” to pretend they are like Popes – best to argue best V best – nit our best V their worst – love as you want to be loved. But the exposure of Joel etc seems fair

    • Alphonsus_Jr

      “Protestant brothers”? Protestantism is among the most wretched, soul destroying heresies yet invented. Rather than affirm them in their error, they should be called to convert. And if not for the Judas Council, they would be.

  • Gail Finke

    I just watched that Lutheran video. HA HA HA HA HA HA

  • Ed

    This is the most immature story I have read following the Pope. This is not speaking to the souls of readers. It speaks to the ego’s of competition as separation. It sounds like a political ad. I’ll pray for your inspiration from God to read note worth stories.

    • jacobum

      Lighten up! I am sure Fr D appreciates and needs all prayers even from the invincibly self-righteous.

  • Christopher Range

    I don’t know much about Osteen but I’m definitely not a fan of “prosperity” gospel. It basically turns God into Santa Claus. If Jesus brings bikes to good little boys then surely he takes away bikes from bad little boys, right? Have these cats ever read Job? Prosperity gospel cherry picks the Bible to promote worldly gain. But money wisdom in the Bible is supposed to be about responsible stewardship. It is not a big numbers math hedge with Vegas Jesus. You have to do what is right because it is right, not for prestige, public regard, or power. And for goodness’ sake not because you think it will make Jesus so happy he throws candy at you. It’s one of the most bone headed and idiotic heresies around.

    Like most heresies, there’s a teensy grain of truth. In a balanced economy if you make responsible decisions you’ll make some money. If you make stupid decisions you’ll lose it. Proverbs does have a lot to say about that. But it hardly requires divine intervention to go broke because of irresponsibility. Divine love is about willing the good of the other. Stewardship is about conforming to the spirit of divine love and willing the good of the other. Stewardship provides for self and others to enable the pursuit of our common God given vocation of theosis. A lack of stewardship hurts others, perverting God’s purpose.

    Money is a thing. You can do stuff with it for good or evil. Other than basic irresponsibility the chief risk with money is idolatry. God never asks for anything slipshod. Yet likewise we must always bear in mind the due credit and purpose of things. If that sounds like a demanding tightrope it’s only because it is. Divinization is bound to be a complex and difficult process. It isn’t supposed to be easy. So we should not be surprised that handing money will be a tough balancing act for a Christian.

    I’ve lived this one from different angles. I’ve made money through both sin and virtue. I’ve been both a good steward and an idiot with money. One thing that came with conversion was the realization that my relationship with money was about to become more complicated. It’s actually not hard to get money. It’s hard to get it for the right reason in the right way, and then use it for the right purposes. After conversion this was one of the big things I knew was about to get harder and not easier.

    “The Lord says, In your patience you shall possess your souls: He says not, your farms, your praises, your luxuries; but, your souls.” and “It is indeed a greater fight of patience, when it is not a visible enemy…but the devil himself…” – Attributed to St. Augustine

    My Protestant roots instruct me to tell anybody to “Get right with God”. But if you think God is a sky fairy who will shower you with presents – steady yourself for further instruction.

    Whew…. (I have kind of a strong opinion on this one.)

    • kag1982

      It seems to me that Protestants are always arguing that Catholics worship Mary and the saints while worshipping money.

    • SusanL

      Excellent commentary, Christopher Range. Thank you.

    • jacobum

      Don’t denigrate Santa Claus. Not nice. After all He’s more real and does more good than the prosperity hucksters and their crapola. No, not like Santa Claus. More like turning God into a private butler and their own personal ATM machine.

      • Dale

        Emo Philips once recalled an incident from his childhood:
        “I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.”

        I don’t think God works that way, either. But, yes, the prosperity turns God into a personal servant, or maybe a vending machine (just donate some money to the ministry, and you will collect your reward)

  • Sigroli

    And Osteen’s mullet is so 80s …

  • rwarnell

    Longenecker – STOP FIGHTING THE BATTLES OF THE REFORMATION! IT’S OVER! EVERYBODY LOST!

    While you and people like Osteen are looking back over your shoulders at the Earthquake that happened 500 years ago, you are about to be swept up into a Tsunami breaking over your heads!!

    By getting down in the gutter with him, you’re lowering yourself to his level. Arguing with these kind of folks is like wrestling with a pig in the mud – eventually you realize you’re all dirty and the pig is enjoying himself.

    I expect a whole lot better from an intelligent guy like you.

    • http://codephined.com Daniel Brooks

      Yes, yes, indeed. The militants of the Church on earth should not point out the damnable errors of Protestantism and certainly never criticize or try to convert them! It doesn’t matter that Jesus established One Church–that was soo two-thousand years ago. We’ve evolved past the “one flock and one shepherd” deal, heck, ever since 1054AD.

      /end sarcasm

    • jacobum

      What a load of pretentious, disingenuous, invincibly ignorant, self-righteous, bovine scatology you just unloaded. It’s not the battle of reformation. It’s the battle of deformation. It’s evil and Satan at work. This is a spiritual war that is/has been continuous.

      • rwarnell

        From the tone of many of these responses, I would be well advised to follow my own advice about who to wrestle with.

    • Andrew J. Abalahin

      The Reformation is indeed over, and it was the Catholic Church that WON. It is still here, after all, with a larger proportion of humankind as its members than was the case in 1517. It is important to be direct, even a bit aggressive, in our critiques of the separated brethren, for so many of our own people and those of other or no religion are susceptible to the Gospel of Prosperity and all the other heresies. Pope Osteen is just a scheister, the only saving grace being that his first victim was himself and whatever true Christianity his ProTESTant tradition had left him.

      • BalancedReactionary

        Agree Osteen is shyster. However, your eagerness to make him the representative sample of “the separated bretheren” shows your fixation to make a singular person to be the focal point. Very well……if you must, make it Jesus. Otherwise, the claim that Rome won the Reformation battle is ludicrous. Its theology is a crumbling edifice of scholastic yogic contortions unmoored from scriptures and a meaningful hermeneutic but laced with generous doses of hocus pocus.

    • JefZeph

      It’s not over until all the separated brethren have found their way home. So many are drawn into this nonsense because it sounds good to them. How do they know better unless someone tells them? Do we just leave them on the wrong path and wave bye-bye?

  • AMoniqueOcampo

    As someone who lives in Houston and used to visit Joel Osteen’s “church,” I approve of this article. Pope Francis FTW!

  • Donna G

    Very disappointing article, both superficial and immature. You can do better than this, Father L. We shouldn’t feel the need to defend or promote the Pope by comparing him to some evangelical in this cheap way – is there something not quite right, then? And the reference to this person making money from his books made me think of the rampant and shameless commercialism of some Catholic bloggers on Patheos. Must not visit Patheos again – makes me very grumpy.

  • http://lostreef.blogspot.com/ Virgil T. Morant

    I thought the Lutheran Satire martyrs reading Joel Osteen video (referenced in a prior comment) was kind of lame, and more than a bit gross. Pastor Fiene has made better videos. For instance:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPg0wBP5k6M

    which features right in the middle a nice little criticism of Mr. Osteen. It’s a funny video overall. Stay when the credits start to roll for a last joke (maybe the funniest in the vid).

  • P64090

    This is a silly article. Why compare and contrast Olsteen with anyone, especially a Catholic Pope? …Catholicism’s hands are in no way clean. (Have you ever heard of “The Banquet of the Chestnuts?”) ….Olsteen is insignificant. Olsteen is pop culture. He is Michael Jackson in a pulpit. …Finally, Catholicism created Protestantism. The two strands of the Christian Faith can co-exist.

    • Andrew J. Abalahin

      Pop culture is VERY significant, particularly to the populus.

    • Larry

      Seriously? “The Banquet of the Chestnuts”?? You had to go back 500 years and choose a Borgia to come with something. Classic.

      Catholicism didn’t create Protestantism. Martin Luther and Henry VIII did.

  • P64090

    What happened to my previous post? Are you censoring your readers?

  • tracymoschelspenst

    As a convert, I would disagree with your numbers. There are not 30,000 popes, there are millions. As my then-pastor husband and I looked at our books lining the shelves of his office, he asked the question, “On what basis did these books get here? Because we read them and decided that they were true. We have been our own pope.” That’s the reality of anyone who picks up the Scriptures and decides for themselves what they mean. Each one is their own pope. Although he misses his ministry, neither one of us would ever give up following the successor of the ONE pope Jesus Christ Himself appointed.

    • deaconjohnny

      As an ex-penticostal protestant pasor-evangelist fire-brand turned Catholic, your message encourages me!

    • Gordis85

      Well said! Apostolic succession is a very beautiful and very solid foundation and truth. To know that our popes are successors to the great Fisherman of Galilee personally called by our Lord Jesus Christ is a truth I find great hope and joy in. “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail over it.”

      Thank you Lord Jesus! Thank you St. Peter! Pray for us and our Holy Father and our beloved Church! Amen!

    • NewCatholic08

      You stole my response. You are so correct. It is not just pastor-popes, it is every individual member popes. All 800,000,000 of them. How blind I was for more than fifty years. Thank God for the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

  • P64090

    People…..I mentioned “The Ballet of the Chestnuts” in a post and the website refused to post it…….”The Ballet of the Chestnuts” was a mass orgy held at the Papal Palace. Many clergy were in attendance. (Do your research)

    • D.Nadine

      I got it I looked it up, it’s real disgusting, is there anyway to move forward?
      People are dying in Syria by the thousands for God’s sake, let’s use this time to do good not shovel shit from the 1500″s!

    • larry

      Yeah, it was also held 500 years ago under the Borgias.

      Osteen is current.

  • God Save America

    At least Osteen said outright that Homosexuality is a Sin instead of “Who am I to judge”.

    • D.Nadine

      That is not what the Pope said, research the statement first, it was taken out of context !

  • Andrea Whitmer

    My church must have missed the memo – our pastor isn’t treated like an infallible leader OR a celebrity. And most people I know see Joel Osteen for the “feel good” preacher he is; he does NOT represent me or my beliefs.

    • CoralDuck

      Nail on head. Not wishing to attack Osteen, but using my head and knowledge of scripture, I have….significant disagreements on certain issues.

      Also, the current pope, insomuch as we can look at someone’s actions and public attitude, seems pretty great, as much as we should judge such things :) Does that make me believe that he’ll never be wrong about scripture? Yeah… I don’t see any evidence that popes are somehow immune from being wrong about such issues or never revise their stances later on.

    • Dale

      Televangelists, such as Joel Osteen, are targets of much criticism. The same is true for high-profile pastors at well-known megachurches. They may have an adoring fanbase, but these same individuals draw a quite a bit of negative attention from those outside their following.

  • stark61555

    Hey Fr., you kicked the big one here. Nice job.

  • LastManStanding

    Osteen has always spoken highly of Catholics and holds the Pope in high regard. Why do you attack him when has honored and respected your beliefs? You should take a lesson from Osteen: when people criticize you or your beliefs, just ignore them and continue doing what you know God has called you to do. When you stoop to this level, you lose your dignity. Just sayin.

    • Andrew J. Abalahin

      I am glad to hear it, but perhaps it could just be that he doesn’t want to alienate potential Catholic customers. Anyway, it’s becoming cool now, G-d help us, to like the Pope. That was already true under JPII and is again – after a short hiatus of vilifying BXVI, because he was an intellectual and a Hitler Jugend conscript (like every other frightened boy in the Germany of the time.)

    • Al Bergstrazer

      He is also hesitant to call homosexuality a sin or to even say that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation. He talks like a politician running for office not a pastor and theologian. His mealy mouthed approbation is just protecting his money tree, as to say anything else would offend all of those wayward thoroughly deceived Catholics, (as well as Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists and others) who sit in his stadium every week looking for approval from the Joel the great.

  • Adam

    Fr. Longenecker, your blatant over generalization of Protestantism and adding Joel as a Protestant pastor is joke. The best part of this article is the fact that you identify that the prosperity gospel is a joke. As for where the Pope lives, mundane minds will use that as rhetoric because they can’t point out the massive theological issues that stem from poor hermeneutics and papacy made laws. I’m sure that this article would read very different if I wrote something to the effect of, “All priests have been sexually immoral with their alter boys, because some are.” As for the ridiculous statement about 30,000 popes, if you open up your Bible you will find that we have one “pope.” His name is Jesus. Jesus is the lead Shepard, the Bible is special revelation from God and the Holy Spirit manifests in the Spiritual Gifts and Offices and indwells in us. Joel is a bust and so is this article.

    • larry

      Quick….name a papacy made law

    • NewCatholic08

      Why are there more than 30,000 contradictory Protestant denominations if the Bible is self interpreting? Maybe the Holy Spirit is sleeping, or maybe there is one true Church. If the one true church is one of the thousands of Protestant denominations that no longer teach what their original founders taught, then God is playing roulette with us. Or maybe there is a church that teaches the same doctrine today as it taught two thousand years ago.

  • Grace

    I dont care where Joel Osteen lives as long as he preaches the Gospel of Christ. Jesus dined with the rich. He didnt say we should live a life of poverty but if I may deduce from one of His many parables if your riches cause you to sin get rid of them. He said it is difficult for the rich to get to heaven but added it is possible with God. When Christians stop justifying their sinfulness in this case jelousy and judgement with out of context quotes from the Bible we will evangelize the world. My modest home is a mansion to a child living in a bunker in Southern Sudan but I havent sold it yet to get him a tent so I will not attack Joel Osteen. I am a Catholic and disappointed in this priest.

    • Allison Grace

      But he does not preach the gospel of Christ. And I am not jealous.

    • Al Bergstrazer

      Allison is correct, Joel Osteen does not preach Christ, he preaches ‘you can have your best life now.’ That is not what the Lord taught his disciples, he taught them ‘anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.’ (Luke 14:25-27). Remember John the Baptist in Herod’s jail? Was he having his best life now? Or was he suffering for the sake of the Gospel? What about St. Peter as he was crucified up side down? Or Paul as he was beheaded? (‘to live is Christ, to die is gain.’) Polycarp standing in the Coliseum? All of the saints martyred for their confession of Christ are mocked by this absurd notion that faith equals financial prosperity, safety and health. There are indeed people whom God has blessed with talent, skill and hence wealth, I know many who are also humble generous servants of God. That is not what Joel preaches, and I do not envy him, rather I see him as a fraud who is deceiving a massive amount of people, I see him as a charlatan who needs to repent, and recant the deceptions he has taught in God’s name.

  • Grace

    Do you good people think that God created the good things of this world for satan and his cronnies? Are you all better than David and Solomon who were adorned in Gold. Are you better than Jacob whom God blessed with a lot of wealth? Are you envious because God has been generous to him? Man will always look for prosperity if Joel can offer an alternative path that goes through Christ I am Ok with it. There are other ways which you should be preaching about and you chose not to but attack him whom God has blessed. Just dont drag the pope into this pettiness.

    • Chesire11

      There is nothing intrinsically evil about possessing wealth (though it can certainly be perilous). When you measure God’s favor in terms of material wealth, however, you run into a couple very nasty problems.

      First, if wealth is a sign of divine favor, then poverty must be a sign of divine displeasure; Donald Trump becomes a saint, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta becomes a spiritual failure, and all of the souls born into poverty, and children suffering from disease must be well on the road to perdition, by that theology.

      Second, if you use Christ as “an alternate path” to prosperity, then you are trying to reduce God to a tool, and elevate the tool to a god.

  • Tiff

    Though Father Longenecker does mention the “30,000 popes” I took this article more as a response to mega-church-prosperity-gospel churches rather than all of Protestantism. I get the irony that one of many complaints against Catholicism was the opulence of the Pope and the Church, and now it’s come back in a Protestant form. The problems, sins, and temptations of humanity hasn’t changed, even if the denomination has.

    The prosperity gospel is a dangerous one; especially since it’s so enticing to us, and we should speak out against it when appropriate. Or at least point out that there MIGHT be something wrong with this picture. One of my friend’s told me a story from when she lived in Houston and there was a huge tropical storm and flood so people we’re being picked up by helicopters and dropped off at the Lakewood Church parking lot*. Instead of helping the victims of the flood the church officials complained to the media that they weren’t a shelter and they wished somebody would come get these people out of their facility. Apparently the Red Cross eventually got there and opened a shelter in a nearby school, but you’d think a CHURCH of all places would want to open their facility to help those in need after a natural disaster.

    *Disclaimer: This was the former Lakewood Church building before it moved to its current location.

    • Al Bergstrazer

      That’s because it isn’t a ‘church’ per se but a business, and so charity, i.e., serving one’s neighbor in love is not their modus operandi. The irony is that there are plenty of Corporations who see it as good PR to support their local community and build good will, but the cult of Joel encourages sugar coated selfishness. Joel Osteen is no pastor, he’s a motivation speaker who misuses God’s name for his own purposes, and is no better than Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:9-24) may his money perish with him as well.

  • David Thomas

    I have a family member that believes the prosperity gospel stuff (he’s also anti-Catholic). He said that mega-churches and millionaire pastors are evidence of God’s favor on those ministries.
    Me: “So having tons of money and nice things is a sign that God is blessing your church?”
    Him: “That’s right”
    Me: “So then God must REALLY be blessing the Catholic Church. People complain about how much wealth the Church possesses–that must mean that we are God’s favorite.
    **cue crickets

    • KalaNila

      Awesome!

    • Nordog6561

      >>I have a family member that believes the prosperity gospel stuff (he’s also anti-Catholic). <<
      But you repeat yourself.

  • Allison Grace

    My husband was a pastor with the Assemblies of God (We converted together 9 years ago, thank God), which teaches divine health and wealth as one of its 16 Fundamental Truths. When our firstborn son was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and not healed, I couldn’t decide if I should commit suicide or divorce my husband. The Church’s teachings on redemptive suffering saved my life and marriage (We celebrated our 23rd anniversary in June and have 7 children, 2 of whom have CF.).
    Thanks for the news and insight for my morning chuckle, Father!

    • Jean

      Why in the world would you go on to have more children after you firstborn was diagnosed with CF? Isn’t that selfish and using poor judgment?

      • Allison Grace

        Well, why would anyone ever have children, with the hundreds of bad things that could happen in utero and the hundreds of bad things that could happen once born? Selfish and poor judgement? Nice question. No, it is not selfish and using poor judgement. Why would you think it is?

        • LongIslandMichael

          Thanks Allison for being wonderful witness to Christ and His Love.

      • wowboy

        I’m just going to say this because it’s about the most honest thing I will ever say. You are a freaking idiot. Not judging you, just stating a fact. I-D-I-O-T!

    • Caroline Moreschi

      I hope Jean is being sarcastic, but in case she’s not: you are a hero. Thank you for loving and caring for children with CF (otherwise known as people).

      • Allison Grace

        How wonderful to read your words ~ thank you! Really, my family is awesome, especially the kids with CF (think Tiny Tim making the world a better place). God bless!

  • J

    Yeah the article used the wrong guy I can see them attacking hagee or some other crazy “pastor” but Joel Osteen is actually a good guy. He makes the major majority of his money from his books and everything else but this is a gentleman who donates money from his pocket and from Lakewood to charities one being the american cancer and were on my list of donors to pay my medical bills and when my own catholic faith wouldnt help with any kind of help when i asked, and is out there for the right reasons. I’ve met the guy he may seem like a pompous guy but he’s a very genuine stand up individual. I don’t disagree with the article just disagree with who they attacked when they could have used hagee who lives in a much more expensive home and takes a lot of money from the church and patrons there and some of these other so called pastors whose just in it to make a buck. If you’re gonna make something like this go after a group not just an individual it kinda comes off childish like there’s a vendetta against him and that’s not what we as catholics need to be about. Its kind of unsettling.

    • BTP

      Good guy? ok, maybe so. But Osteen’s gospel is a substitute one, and his gospel is very popular within Evangelicalism, in my experience. Consider: the first imge I saw upon walking into a Catholic church was that of a dead man, nailed to a cross. That’s something of a challenge, I thought.

      But to Osteen and plenty of others like him, the cross is too challenging, and needs to be removed: it isn’t on Osteen’s stage, it makes disguised appearances in most other Evangelical churches where I have attended services. Can I suggest that the cross is a scandal to Osteen? If so, then why?

  • Guest

    Ask and you shall receive:

  • Mark Nemecek

    Ask and you shall receive

  • Alice Seidel

    Very well said, Father! I actually found Osteen interesting back about 10 yrs ago; but all that glitter never gets beyond the sheen. The deep moral, piety that people crave in this base world is not found in his version of the Gospel. Neither is it found in any Protestant “theology”. Every week, to hear that I shouldn’t worry because lots of money is coming to me, is not only false but deceptive.

    The Catholic Church has many problems right now and my belief is that will get a lot worse before it gets better. I only hope I live long enough to see the “new”.

  • Kimberly

    I
    understand the point being made; I just think as Christians our time is
    better spent not criticizing other Christians. Joel Osteen doesn’t
    answer to us, and publicly attacking him and other Christian leaders
    helps no one. It doesn’t feel very Christ-like.Many non-believers and
    atheists love to see Christians squabbling. (This is said in love–no
    offense intended.)

  • dpharisee2010

    I heard a convert who said that he has 200 dedicated congregants and by dedicated, it means the 10% or more tithing so he was able to support his family, have a nice house, nice car, children sent to the best schools with a decent shopping spree. In fact when he realized the truth that it is not what he preach, it is not in his church, it was hard for him to leave to go to the one true church because of those attachments. He was afraid he will loss it all together which he did at last but now he is truly home and totally free at last and very happy. He was sent to all conferences, gone to places, seen places he never been to all states and outside as far as Africa which he would have not visited even if he did not leave his ministry.

  • Vladyk

    Can you provide examples, Father, of people who love Osteen, but are down on the pope for the church’s perceived opulence?

  • dpharisee2010

    It is all about TAX WRITE OFF. All the other denomination that are saturating other countries are not about another JESUS that they are selling. They have their main branch in the USA and come time to file income tax, there they are mentioning ministry outside the USA they are supporting even it was just a handful of them..

  • DeaconJohnMBresnahan

    It is interesting to hear some people (Protestant or Catholic) blather about how all the art in Italian churches and the Vatican should be sold and the proceeds given to the poor. But wait a minute. Italian churches and the Vatican are the custodians of works of art which are Italy’s national heritage as well as religious icons.
    As Americans shouldn’t we FIRST be advocating selling the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, to the highest
    bidders so the money can go to the poor????
    Then we can travel to Japan or the Arabian Peninsula to view our national heritage that went to these likely high bidders.

  • Grace

    The culture of jelous is well rooted in the new American society. That is why the redistribution of wealth earns votes from “devout” Christians regardless of immoral/ un Christian policies involved!! Jesus told about the 5, 3 and 1 talents and did not heap praises on the one with 1, instead he said it was given to the one with 5. Let ua stop misquoting the Bible to suit our purposes. Everyone loves the poor and wants to help the poor with somebody else’s resources!! You will be surprised to see Joel Osteen seated with Araham and you the “Holy ones” seated with the Father of hypocrisy. Handle your logs before you handle the splinters! When is the last time you shared your wealth with the poor, Many Christians put change in the collection basket even though they earn so much. Many priests do not even think they have to tithe from their income. It has taken the Pope to remind them buy modest cars. Christians can do better spreading the Gospel other than attacking each other. What spiritual purpose does this post serve! This is so ironical considering the Catholic Church is the wealthiest instituition on earth.

    • Julia B

      “the Catholic Church is the wealthiest instituition on earth”.

      What??? Where is your source for this?

  • Grace

    Fr. I would like to hear about the things you are afraid of teaching about and yet getting us into damnation; gay marriages, euthanasia, abortion, corruption, adultery, apathy, rising suicide rates. There is so much you can give guidance on. None of us your congregation are in danger of living in 10 million mansions! Encourage us to recieve communion in a state of grace; encourage us to share the little we have with the less fortunate in our communities. Talk about an end to child abuse (by all people not only priests) and violence to women. Teach us about and end to judging others and an end to violence. Teach us to see Christ in everyone even those we do not agree with; to be happy for those who are more blessed than us, and work hard to attain our destiny. Not all of us will live in million dollar houses but hoping to atleast live off the streets is prosperity for some of us. Attaining a Highschool diploma is prosperity for some people. Those of us against prosperity are living in the wrong country. Instead of sitting and whining let us look unto God the author and finisher of all good gifts

  • Warlord02

    A general critique of Pope Francis’ disposition relating to wealth may be drawn from Gilder’s Wealth and Poverty. Within reasonable bounds, the Holy Father disposition is admirable as an example. A thoughtless general application of Francis’ approach is a problem, however, to the extent that it inhibits economic development. What is distributed must first be produced, and production is something that the feudal forms of the Church’s social teaching don’t deal with well.

    Besides, even on the grounds that seem to be preferred on this blog, is it fair to criticize Osteen’s arrangements (e.g., his $10MM mansion, etc.), where Francis has command of a good sized piece of Rome? Those who call out acquisitiveness in other usually have their own issues with envy.

  • SolaChristo

    Fr when did God give to you the ministry of Accusation of the Brethren?

  • Andrew J. Abalahin

    Some are saying we should not be wasting our time and energy on criticizing other Christians. I respectfully disagree. Who do have more right to be criticizing, nay, correcting, than our separately brethren? We know exactly what they are doing wrong, whereas what do we really understand about Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism other than caricatures, misrepresentations, and misrepresentations? There is a reason after all that many Asian governments (like Indonesia’s) consider Catholicism and Protestantism to be different religions. Their Jesus is often but an idol, whereas we truly worship Him as Lord, The Lord who did not shrink from taking on the form of a slave and let himself be put on a cross – the separated brethren have abolished the crucifix and bow down only to an empty cross – empty crosses indeed were fetishes in pagan religions, weren’t they?

  • BalancedReactionary

    Osteen is a clown but Pope Francis is an anomaly as far as the general thrust of grandiosity and tiara wearing tradition of the papacy.

  • Roberta Lavin

    Since I converted to Catholicism my experience has been that Catholics beat up on each other far more than Protestants do. Most of the complaints I heard from Protestants was a misunderstanding of the Virgin Mary and a disagreement on the need for a Priest.

  • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

    It seems as if when the bitchin’ about ‘FFI thing’ blew up, so did the blogsphere.
    (Actually I think the ‘FFI thing’ was probably the ‘final straw’ for what appear to be the Crypto-Sedevacantists who, when they thought they were in ascendancy against ‘Clown Masses’ (the OF) with Benedict, they then got a ‘Clown Pope’ instead!)

    Now we’ve got fights over Bottum…
    Crisis Magazine has done it’s own spoof on the issue, a-la SOMH, by ‘Foggy Bottom’
    http://www.crisismagazine.com/2013/what-i-meant-to-say-a-case-for-same-sex-marriage

    …and Fr L gets a post by a ‘woman’ (who knows who anyone is in comboxes?) who claims to have abortions for cosmetic purposes.

    Then, ‘Pope Benedict Has a Mystical Experience, Says Reliable Source’ – then he hasn’t had anything of the sort – from another reliable source.

    Then Eye of the Tiber does a spoof on Pope Francis ringing Zack Snyder, making a complaint about casting Ben Affleck as Batman, while other reports are saying Pope Francis is randomly ringing people who write to him.

    And now ‘Pope Osteen’. I love it. The point made is spot on, and seems to epitomise the whole bl**dy mess.

    Whilst every congregation in Protestantism has it’s own Pope, clamouring for recognition, so too, many of the ‘big name’ Catholic Blogs/Bloggers in the Blogsphere now seem to behave as if they are official outposts of the CDF (selling books, calendars, and T-Shirts). No doubt because, if they can get people to believe in their own hype, their ratings will go up, and their coffers filled?

    Or is it simply that the Catholic Blogsphere is just rapidly becoming toxic and a complete farce, and I’m sure nothing like what Bl. JPII envisioned for the ‘New Media’?

    Or maybe I’m just losing it and making a storm in a teacup…

  • Slocum Moe

    Joel Osteen isn’t religious in the least. If you were religious, you would know that and needn’t have made comparism between Joel and the pope, who is a religious individual.

    You might profitably instead consider similarities between yourself and Joel.,,,and be rightly chastined

  • tryagain11

    We are told that the love of money is the root of all evil. Certainly materialism is at the heart of much of what is wrong in the world today. But pointing out the speck in our brother’s eye is what Jesus taught us to avoid, and I am confident that Pope Francis would tell us the same. As a life-long Catholic, I had lost hope that we would ever see a Pope focused on living the gospel the way Pope Francis is. All people should celebrate the fact that God has heard the prayers of many and answered in such a rich manner. But when it comes to looking for fault and failure, I only have to take a good hard look in the mirror.

  • MaryRoseM

    Excellent!

  • HermitTalker

    I wrote a 20-smethig RC recently who speaks of Joel Osteen on FB and told her I never heard Joel preach the death and rising of Jesus, all I ever saw was positive thinking

  • Pammie

    I do not think it is fair to lump all us Protestants in with “prosperity” preachers. I am a moderately conservative Southern Baptist (many of my friends are Catholic and my sister is a convert), and I do not ascribe to the mega-church philosophy, and that includes First Baptist Church – Dallas, Prestonwood Baptist Church, The Potter’s House, IBOC and others here in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex. I live my life using Christ as my role model as all Christians should do.

  • Sherry Jordon

    Although this article makes a good point about Joel Osteen and the prosperity gospel, it identifies this with “American Protestantism”. Most American Protestants do not regard their pastor as the pope and do not agree with the prosperity gospel. This distinction should have been made in the article out of respect for the many hard-working Protestant ministers and their thoughtful parishioners.

  • ken

    and how long will it be before you are a former Catholic priest…how sad you are a lost wanderer when God is all around us. All good things come from the Father, such as my modest home that is more than I ever imagined owning. It is to God I give Glory for ALL the things in my life.

  • EricaR

    This article suffers from lazy generalizations. For example, American Protestantism isn’t something you can group into a lumpy whole. The believers who critique the wealth of the pope aren’t the same ones who buy into the prosperity gospel.

    “But when it comes to appearances, Pope Francis wins”? It will take more than the year-long appearances one humble pope to begin to change the image of the Catholic church as too remote, glitzy, and effete.

    Osteen here functions as your straw person. But there is a critical difference between Osteen’s mansion and the palaces of the Catholic church. What Osteen has he has because of sales. The property the Church has historically owned has come by way of political dealings, no??

    i have no love for Osteen or his message, by the way. But I have no love for your article either.

  • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

    Each of these men have their own positive and negative sides. Two negative sides of Pope Francis that I am sad about are: 1) as Archbishop in Argentina, he protected at least one sexual predator priest and did not talk with the victim and he has not made any predator priest or complicit bishop accountable to civil nor even church law, 2) Pope Francis is allowing the nuns to be harassed by Archbishop Sartain, whose poor judgement has been the reason why at least one little boy was sexually abused shortly after Sartain ordained the abuser to the priesthood, even though the man had known sexual problems. Maybe it is true that the Pope is supporting the American hierarchy, so that he can seize the assets of the nuns after the next US election. The American hierarchy are still spending money on lawyers to protect the predator priests in court and to block statute of limitation reform, so that the predators will never have to be accountable for their crimes. For now, the hierarchy are soft-pedaling the nuns, so that the nuns don’t go on the bus again before the election. The American hierarchy want more Republicans in Congress, since Republican lawyers and judges have been protecting the predator priests and complicit bishops from jail, in my view. There have been more than 19 American bishops who have been sexual abusers, according to the website: http://www.bishopaccountability.org.
    Sincerely, Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, Chicago

    • Carolyn Schuster

      Archbishop Sartain is not “harassing” nuns, He is confronting a rebellious spirit that is not of God.You have made a lot of serious accusations in your response that need to show documentation. There are abusers in the positions of leadership and good men LIKE Sartain are rooting them out just as they are exposing the perversion of truth in other areas of service to Christ and His Church.

      • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

        No one is more blind than one who refuses to see the truth. Do some research and you will find out that as soon as the newly ordained priest by Bishop Sartain was jailed as a pedophile, Sartain was removed from Joliet, Illinois and elevated to become Archbishop of Seattle, Washington. To my knowledge, there has been no apology to the child who was sexually abused, not to his mother and family. As a member of the Joliet diocese, I have heard no apology from Sartain to the people of the diocese. What kind of church elevates a person to Archbishop after his poor judgement has caused a child to be sexually abused? Then to allow him to be the critic of the nuns is mind-boggling.

    • LongIslandMichael

      Really? I mean REALLY? Why am I not surprised by your comment or comments similar to it from people like you and those rebellious nuns who are angry because God’s ways are not your ways? Why am I not surprised that so many people will sink to the level of lies that you put forth about Pope Francis and Archbishop Sartain because you and the rebellious nuns have an agenda that is contrary to that of Christ and the Truth?

      Best thing that I can do in response to the fabrications you put is to pray for you and the rebellious nuns that each of you will have the humility to to realize the ways of man are not the ways of Our Lord.

      • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

        No one is more blind that he who refuses to do some research in order to get to the truth.

        • LongIslandMichael

          Research is fine when one researches truthful sources who do not have an agenda that undermines the Truth. Arrogance and selfishness cause humans to remain blind to the Truth of Christ.

  • LongIslandMichael

    Excellent article Father. Thanks for posting it.

  • LongIslandMichael

    Thanks Father. Great article and spot on.

  • Tina Fisher

    “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. -1 Timothy 2:5-6 The Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth. Trust Jesus and pray for wisdom (find more in the first chapter of the book of James) God bless each of you and seal you with His Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ crucified & raised again conquering death to give us life!


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