Greed is the deadly sin that demands more and more even when we already have enough. Greed demands more and more at the expense of others, and it is salient to remember that greed is not only the sin of the rich. Poor people can be greedy too.
Idolatry is the lie that money and material possessions will satisfy and provide all our needs. This is to treat money and possessions as a false god. Only God can satisfy and to pretend that money will solve the human problem is a form of idolatry.
Furthermore, I’m shocked by the greed and idolatry within the Catholic Church. As a convert from Evangelicalism I was brought up on the idea of tithing. My Dad was a Christian businessman with his own retail clothes store. He had a wife and five kids and gave 15%. That’s right a whopping 15% of his income to the church before taxes!
Even mention the word “tithing” to the average American Catholic and the go pale. The idea that they should give 10% of their income is, for most of them, unthinkable.
And yet one of the reasons socialism grows in a society is because it is needed and it is needed because the rich Christians are abnegating their own responsibility of helping the poor and needy.
Think for a moment what it would be like if every Catholic in America tithed ten percent of their income to the church. Think of the social welfare programs we could put in place. Think of the schools we would run, think of the hospitals we would fund. Think of the work training programs we would initiate. We would not only address the problems in our own country, but we could address the problems of income inequality around the world. Think of the missionary efforts we would fund. Think of the people who would be helped. Imagine the number of converts who would see our faith in action and want to know the Lord who inspired and empowered such generosity and grace.
Instead the poor languish and we increasingly expect the government to step in and solve the problem while we look for every loophole, quick cheat and sly way to avoid the taxes which we are forced to pay because we have not taken our responsibility to help our needy brother on our own.
The answer is simple, but not easy: income inequality would be solved if every individual took seriously his responsibility for his neighbor and did so where he lives, where he votes, where he works and where he worships, and government programs should exist to help us do that.