Pope Francis: Riches and Properties Are Good When They Help Others
Feb. 19, 2014
Pope Francis has written a preface for the book “Povera per i poveri. La missione della Chiesa” (“Poor for the poor” The Mission of the Church), which was written by Cardinal-designate Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.
In the prologue, the Holy Father speaks on poverty, not only economic but also social and moral. He invited readers to use their goods not only for their own necessities, but so that by offering to others, they may produce fruit. The Pope states that poverty can be understood as a resource if it leads to solidarity, to the point that Jesus converts it into a blessing.
“Money is an instrument that in some way - like property - prolongs and increases the capacity of human freedom” and through which allows one “to work in the world, to act and bear fruit.” But it is clearly a means that distances man from man that leads him to have a selfish horizon. The preface to Cardinal Müller’s book was published today in the Italian newspaper, “Il Corriere della Sera”.
The Holy Father noted in his preface the Aramaic word that Jesus uses in the Gospel: ‘mammona’, meaning hidden treasure, and reminds readers those goods “that are owned solely hidden for oneself, produces iniquity”. He also cites the Greek term used by Saint Paul, ‘arpagmos’, as a good “that is had zealously for oneself, or worse, as a fruit of what has been robbed from others.”
The Pope also indicated that the word ‘poverty’ in the Western world is simply reduced to a synonym for ‘discomfort’, because it is related to the lack of economic power, which means irrelevance of political, social and human power. It arrives at a point that “whoever doesn’t possess money is considered only in the measure in which they can serve for other ends.” Hence, he emphasized the negative aspect of this status.
When man ‘loses hope of the transcendent”, he also “loses the pleasure of gratitude” in “doing good for the simple beauty of doing it."
In the preface of the book written by the prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, Pope Francis indicated that “the task of the Christian is to rediscover, live and announce to all this precious and original unity between profit and solidarity” and he underlines that the more the contemporary world discovers this truth, the many current economic problems will be resolved.
In this frame, the Pope states that “there not only exist problems relating to economy. Jesus Himself reminds us, warns us that our life does not solely depend on our goods.” The Holy Father also wrote on the need for solidarity that we all have since childhood. First the attentions and care from parents, then in each step of life, the help from someone becomes a need, because no one “will achieve to set aside from themselves the limit of helplessness in the face of something or someone.”
In this light, authentic poverty should not be seen as a limitation but rather a resource, since what is given is transformed into a gift that is an advantage to all. “This is the positive light in which the Gospel invites us to look at poverty and through which Jesus transforms it into a blessing.”
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