Prepare yourself . . .

Prepare yourself . . . December 31, 2013

for a lot of baleful head shaking over this story from Franciscophobes:  Pope’s Sharp Words Make a Wealthy Donor Hesitate.

Because when people say, “Francis has made me interested in the Church again, and I’m thinking of going to Mass for the first time in twenty years!” then that’s proof that his kind of evangelization is shallow and meaningless.  How do we know they’re the real deal?  (After all, when Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes, and over 3,000 people were baptized that day, we know for sure that every last one those converts understood and were fully prepared to accept every tiny iota of the Gospel with no reservations and with complete and thorough fervor and sincerity.)

People returning to the sacraments? Pff. That’s the last thing we want.  But we’re talking about losing money here, folks.  MONEY. You see?  You see how the corrosive influence of this hateful man is beginning to play out? Francis the Destroyer strikes again!!!!1!!


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  • Cari Donaldson

    This is interesting to me. Home Depot is known as extremely gay friendly, yet it’s not the Pope’s upholding of Catholic teaching on the sinful nature of homosexual acts that’s got a hitch in Langone’s giddiup- it’s the Holy Father’s cautioning of soulless capitalism.
    Guess when it’s all said and done, it’s reallly the almighty dollar that trumps it all.

    • Within the past year, people were waving signs on the streets of america saying “eat the rich”. Get wealthy enough and you become a target. As Cardinal Dolan noted, that’s not the Pope’s critique and he (the cardinal) seems to be handling the matter appropriately. It’s not unreasonable to be worried about the media mischaracterization of the Pope’s words as an ‘eat the rich’ sort of argument, especially if you’ve only experienced it through a distorted mass media lens.

      The soullessness of capitalism is a feature, not a bug. Capitalism is a neutral tool, like a hammer is a neutral tool. So long as we all remember that we need to fill our lives with Christ as we use this tool of capitalism to build a material life appropriate for ourselves, there is no problem with capitalism.

      It is when the totality of our philosophy is capitalism, without a political component, without a social component, without a spiritual component, that you get a mutant, totalitarian capitalism because there’s nothing else there. It is this that Pope Francis is criticizing and I agree. Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II used different words in adopting the same critique.

      It is very strange to have a non-totalitarian philosophical framework, mutate into a totalitarian one without there being a change in the thing itself but these are the strange times that we live in. I am not surprised that this oddball phenomenon will take much explanation before the meme that the Pope is pushing is properly understood and internalized into the culture.

  • bob cratchit

    My thoughts on this are: when a poor person gives, it is always greater in proportion to what the wealthy give as in the widows mite. The very rich and powerful always give enormously greater amounts but the proportion to their income is vast. The widows mite may not be as useful but it caries greater supernatural providence. The other thought is why do the extremely rich and powerful suddenly become so sensitive and defensive when the subject of capitalism or massive personal fortune are called into question? The only thing the Holy Father is warning of here is the endless pursuit of wealth and conspicious consumption at the expense of the poor and working class. Another thing, many of those commenters sound more like a petty bourgeoise, who presume to have some semblence of a middle class…mere cheerleaders.

  • AnsonEddy

    And we’re back to peremptorily snarking at people about Pope Francis. Fun.

  • Tom

    And people disagree about what he says, which is clearly his fault and would never happen to a real Catholic leader!

  • Wealthy donors should hesitate and think twice before donating. It’s a real question whether the same money should fund the St. Patrick’s restoration fund or a soup kitchen. Here’s the project that the donor was hesitant about:

    Given the problem of unemployment, homelessness, and hunger, I would think that Cathedral restoration would be more of a ‘boom’ time project when the demands of the poor are less because there simply are fewer of them. That’s the right time, in my view, to spruce up the infrastructure and restore the metalwork.

    Now at third hand, it’s pretty hard to make definitive statements about motivation and whether this anonymous donor is deploying the right sort of hesitation or not. If he passes on the Cathedral rebuild and chooses a different project, it is not even clear to me that Pope Francis would disagree.

    So let’s be charitable and not make assumptions as to what the potential donor did. If we make clear that the only wrong choice is to not give at all and that soup kitchens, support for the poor to gain dignity through work, etc are all worthy projects and it’s not a bad thing to turn down one worthy project in favor of another, then I think that the donors will settle down over time.

    • Of course you could, gasp, hire the poor at a living wage to restore the cathedral….nah, can’t do that, we’re too busy worshiping capitalists that promote homosexuality.

      • Actually you can’t hire the poor to restore the cathedral because those who are poor don’t have the skills and those who have the skills are not poor. If there is actually a set of poor skilled tradesmen that I am not aware of, certainly they should go to the head of the line but fantasizing about the existence of a class of people does not serve the poor who actually do exist.

        We have about plenty of open positions in the skilled trades at any one time because we are in shortage on a lot of these trades. Mike Rowe (the Dirty Jobs star) kind of opened my eyes about this.

        Ignoring the reality of poverty in favor of some fantasy that is convenient to your world view is very much a part of what Pope Francis is talking about and I wholeheartedly support.

        As for Mr. Langone, I don’t know the guy and understand he no longer serves on the board of Home Depot. Certainly he is profiting from investment in a company that has made questionable moral decisions. That is unfortunate. I haven’t found any evidence that he specifically promotes homosexuality and would ask you provide evidence that he does. People do get outvoted at board meetings. It is a prudential decision whether increased engagement or resignation is an appropriate response when that happens on a matter of Catholic faith.

        • Dan C

          Walker Percy predicted the AmChurch emergence, a Catholic Church that celebrates “Property Rights Sunday.”

          I agree, the wealthhy should always have suspicions with any religion in which the heart of its proclamation of the Kingdom is “Blessed are the poor….woe to the rich.”

          Wealth must feel discomfort in the Church.

          • Sorry but I have to disagree that wealth must feel discomfort in the Church. Managing wealth appropriately and in a godly manner is very hard to do. When someone does it the right way, it is inappropriate to beat them up for doing so merely because they retain the grub stake necessary to continue the work.

            Perhaps you need to reread the beatitudes with a concentration on unjust persecution.

            Any discomfort that the wealthy feel from the Church should be because they have said no to God. There is no other legitimate reason.

        • It is called On the Job Training, as far as hiring the poor for tasks they have not done before. Costs a bit more, and I realize recognizing human dignity is entirely foreign to your way of thinking, but there it is.

          And if he had been a faithful Catholic, he would have closed the business before letting a bunch of homosexuals take over the board.

          • I’m reasonably certain you didn’t click on the Mike Rowe project I linked to. If you had, you would realize that the problem is that trade school education slots are going begging. If you want to get the skills to do this sort of work, people will finance it for you. The applicants are not showing up in sufficient numbers to fill the slots.

            Again, you are fantasizing about a class of poor people we don’t actually have. Pope Francis speaks out against this sort of impersonalized advocacy for the poor. I suggest you think on that.

            I also suggest you get educated as to how public companies actually are run. It is unlikely that Mr. Langone ever had the power to shut down Home Depot on a whim, no matter how important that non-economic consideration is from a moral standpoint. The life savings of a lot of retired people would have been tanked if he had that sort of power and the capitalist system doesn’t allow for that kind of concentration of power in a public company. His role in the creation of the firm (investment banker) was to disperse ownership concentration so that no one person would ever be able to do what you say he should have done.

            I’m reasonably certain that you didn’t intend to be advocating for the impoverishment of a large number of elderly so they are thrown out on the street but that’s what you’re doing. Please reconsider and speak more carefully in future before you advocate such vile things. Again, as Pope Francis has pointed out, the fight against homosexual sin is not the only Catholic value.

            I know from previous conversation that you are a distributist and are opposed to large corporations such as Home Depot a priori. No need to pretty up the fact with alternate reasoning that you’d like the company to die whether or not they’re pro-homosexual. This is just a convenient cudgel.

  • IRVCath

    The Church comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. Nihil novum sub sole.

  • Dan C

    Ms. Fischer distracts and avoids the key trouble this man has with Francis. Its about money, not dirty parishioners. This donor is not critiquing envangelization, he is critiqung that message that capitalism is morally defective.

    I find it odd Ms. fischer seems to avoid this discussion.

    Let me help with some words from Luke: Woe to the rich.

    • Mr. X

      I find it odd you would go to the trouble of leaving a comment without checking your spelling.

      • Dan C

        Eh…proof reading takes the fun out of it. Besides, I like to strain the functionality of autocorrect.

        By the way, any substantive comments in mind, or are you just morally offended by poor grammar and spelling?

        • Mr. X

          You seem to lack the reading skills, as demonstrated by your comment, to be worth engaging with any further.

  • John Leavy

    Despite my misgivings about the doctrinal leanings of Pope Francis, it’s extremely hard not to like the guy. IF he really is drawing people back to the Church via his personal warmth and charm, that’s wonderful.

    On the other hand, I haven’t seen ANYTHING like a resurgence in Mass attendance, nor have I seen the slightest evidence (be it statistical or just my own eyeball test) that any fallen away Catholics are now lining up for Confession or to receive Communion.

    It seems far more likely that Pope Francis’ only effects are:

    1) To reassure elderly liberal Catholics that they were right all along and that the long-deferred reforms they’ve been dreaming of (women’s ordination, married clergy, watering down of traditional sexual morality) are imminent.

    2) To make lapsed Catholics feel good about themselves (“See, now, IF I were ever to start going back to Mass twice a year- which I’m probably not- HE’S the type of Pope that would draw me back).

    3) To reassure the secular Left that the Church isn’t really serious about all those sexual rules, and will henceforth be an ally on all the economic issuees they care about.

    • George.a.da.Jungle

      I have seen your numbers (1) and (3) in real life. An elderly, spirit-of-V-II-woooo-ooooooo-eeeeeee-oooooo sort of sort-of-catholic woman of my acquaintance who believes that Francis is finally talking about things that his predecessors ignored (didn’t she ever read anything JPII or Papa Bene ever wrote? Gues not.) and who believes that women’s ordination and run-of-th-mill married men’s ordination will come inevitably because of the lack of priestly vocations … in other words, she is stuck in 1970 and can’t get up … well, let’s just say that all I had to say was that I stand with the pope and that he will not be advocating the ordination of women. But the 1970-babe chose not to hear it, sigh …

  • LeaH

    I’m surprised that no one has commented on the point by Arthur Brooks that was cited in the article – the Pope’s message makes a lot more sense in the Argentine (and perhaps more generally, a second- or third-world nation) context than it does in the American one. What a lot of people mean by “unrestrained free market” isn’t free market at all, it’s crony capitalism. I appreciate the Pope’s appeal to the rich to give and not to make money their idol. I also think it would be helpful if his comments were more educated on economics, so as to avoid unjustly offending people who have means and use them to support the Church (whether or not the St. Patrick project is the best way of doing so). “Flog the rich” is a nasty and un-Christian message, and there’s really no reason the Pope should be taking the risk of having his comments come across that way.