Friday, August 30, 2013

Jesus was not a social worker or revolutionary

and as Pope Francis said the Catholic Church is NOT an NGO. It's amazing to me how often someone who is a self described liberal(or even atheist)will sling a scripture verse at me to justify some liberal social agenda. Yes,Jesus said to take care of the poor. He said if often. Jesus gave that challenge to ALL of us. He didn't mention anything to Pilate about a state program. "[I] came into the bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to [my] voice", to which Pilate replied, "What is truth?" ("Quid est veritas?") (John 18:38)...what Pilate missed is that THE truth was standing right in front of him. Jesus Himself.There is His mission!

Regarding the care of the poor,The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

2208 The family should live in such a way that its members learn to care and take responsibility for the young, the old, the sick, the handicapped, and the poor. There are many families who are at times incapable of providing this help. It devolves then on other persons, other families, and, in a subsidiary way, society to provide for their needs: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”12

The Catechism also states in re to the Seventh Commandment, 2401

The seventh commandment forbids unjustly taking or keeping the goods of one’s neighbor and wronging him in any way with respect to his goods. It commands justice and charity in the care of earthly goods and the fruits of men’s labor. For the sake of the common good, it requires respect for the universal destination of goods and respect for the right to private property. Christian life strives to order this world’s goods to God and to fraternal charity.
(1807, 952)

The Catechism points out as well the 10th commandment because of its relation to the 7th,

Paragraph 2534 - ARTICLE 10 THE TENTH COMMANDMENT It forbids coveting the goods of another, as the root of theft, robbery, and fraud, which the seventh commandment forbids.

So we see that Jesus not only preached against the deadly sin of greed;He also preached against covetousness. The Catholic Church rightly points out that we respect the property of others and care for our family. Nowhere does Jesus nor the Church command the state to take the place of the charity and justice when we are ALL called to do so. The Catechism further teaches in re to the 7th commandment other ways one can commit theft we probably don't even consider:

2409 Even if it does not contradict the provisions of civil law, any form of unjustly taking and keeping the property of others is against the seventh commandment: thus, deliberate retention of goods lent or of objects lost; business fraud; paying unjust wages; forcing up prices by taking advantage of the ignorance or hardship of another.192 (1867)

The question could be, what is the responsibility(if any)of the government/state to take care of the poor?

The Church is clear,

Socialization also presents dangers. Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which "a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good." - Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1883

Another Catholic blogger summed up Catholic teaching on the matter,
Our governments gradually (and sometimes not so gradually) take away our earnings and property to "re-distribute" them as they see fit, replacing the work of charity within the Church and setting themselves up as God. Along with our resources and property, these same governments deprive us of our freedoms. Make no mistake about it "re-distributism" (a.k.a. "Socialism") is THEFT! It is a violation of the Ten Commandments and an act of lawlessness. Those who advocate it are toying with their souls and placing their salvation in jeopardy. Socialism is a moral evil which the Catholic Church has always stood squarely against in it's doctrinal teaching.

We all know this painting and Jesus teaching about the rich young man. There are 2 truths to take away from Jesus teaching. He was calling on the individual to practice charity;but it's even more than that. The young man wanted to follow Jesus but Jesus asked him to give up his riches(sacrifice);all he had TO follow Him. Jesus asks that all of us. Would we be willing to give up what we are most attached to in order to follow Him? Is there something in our lives we would let stand in the way? Further, Jesus didn't even mention the state or government here. I reiterate.Jesus issues a call to ALL of us to help those in need. Continued;the next entry will be about Jesus supposedly being a 'revolutionary' of sorts.

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