Wealth And Greed

Pope: Attachment to Money Destroys People, Families and Relationships
Reflects on the Effects of Greed During Morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY, October 21, 2013 (Zenit.org) – In his homily this morning in the chapel of Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis warned of destruction of people, families and relationships brought on by the attachment to money and greed.

The Holy Father reflected on today’s Gospel which recalls the moment when Jesus is asked to resolve a problem between two brothers arguing over their inheritance.

“How many families have we seen destroyed by the problem of money?,” the Holy Father asked. “Brother against brother, father against son. This is the first result that this attitude of being attached to money does: it destroys!”

“When a person is attached to money, he destroys himself, he destroys the family. Money destroys! It does, doesn’t it? It binds you.”

The Pope observed that while money can serve to bring good things to others, especially in works of human development, an attachment can only bring about the destruction of one’s self.

Referring to Christ’s parables of the rich man who lives to accumulate treasures for himself, the Holy Father said that such greed leads to an idolatry that destroys one’s relationship with others.

“It’s not money, but the attitude, what we call greed. Then too this greed makes you sick, because it makes you think of everything in terms of money,” the Holy Father said.

“It destroys you, it makes you sick. And in the end – this is the most important thing – greed is an instrument of idolatry because it goes along a way contrary to what God has done for us.”

“Saint Paul,” Pope Francis continued, “tells us that Jesus Christ, who was rich, made Himself poor to enrich us. That is the path of God: humility, to lower oneself in order to serve. Greed, on the other hand, takes us on a contrary path: You, who are a poor human, make yourself God for vanity’s sake. It is idolatry!”

The 76 year old pontiff went on to say that for this reason, Christ speaks strongly in the Gospel’s against this attachment to money, which can impede one from trusting in God in moments of need. The path of greed is contrary to the path of God and “destroys all human fraternity.

Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful that the path taught by Christ is “not the path of poverty for poverty’s sake” but rather to use “the way of poverty as an instrument, so that God may be God, so that He will be the only Lord.”

“All the goods that we have, the Lord gives them to us to advance the world, to advance humanity, to help, to help others. Today may the Word of the Lord remain in our hearts: ‘Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not depend on that which they possess.’”

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19 Responses to Wealth And Greed

  1. Brother Burrito says:

    I am reminded of this tale from “One Minute Wisdom” by Fr Anthony De Mello SJ:

    It intrigued the disciples that the Master who lived so simply would not condemn his wealthy followers.
    “It is rare but not impossible for someone to be rich and holy.” he said one day.
    “When money has the effect on his heart that the shadow of that bamboo has on the courtyard.”
    The disciples turned to watch the bamboo’s shadow sweep the courtyard without stirring a single particle of dust.


  2. Gargantua says:

    Well, I would condemn the excessively wealthy. Success in being wealthy at some point means appropriating the labour and resources of others. Success should not be a blank cheque to plunder the resources of society.

    That’s one reason why Christ threw the moneylenders out of the temple.


  3. johnhenrycn says:

    Who, pray, are the “excessively wealthy”, and who are you to say they have “appropriated” the labour of others or that they “plunder” our resources? If you wish to cite some specific examples, go ahead, because there undoubtedly are many “excessively wealthy” (again, what does that really mean and who gets to decide?) people who deserve your indictment; but there will be other “excessively wealthy” people who do not. You have no call to condemn all of them.

    Among the people I respect are the hugely rich who consider their weath a trust. They do exist.


  4. johnhenrycn says:

    …not that I’m a fan of all the philanthropic projects being advanced by the likes of Warren Buffet, George Soros, Bill Gates & Co., but I’m more comfortable with the idea of leaving individuals like them to decide how to distribute their wealth than with the idea of it being expropriated by Big Government for it’s dubious agendas.


  5. Gargantua says:

    I thought someone would leap on detailed definitions.

    I condemn the excessively wealthy. All wealth comes from labour and the wealthy are skilled in appropriating it. This view is a Christian kind of thing. Maybe you don’t understand.


  6. Toadspitttle says:

    Curious how often very costly things – like the watches and bracelet in the illustration, and Rolls Royces, and Hummers and “McMansions,” are hideously ugly.


  7. Gargantua says:

    ‘Conspicuous consumption’ or as we now say more succinctly, ‘bling’

    An interesting book for Johnny to peruse is Thorstein Veblen’s ‘Theory of the Leisure Class’. Of course he could always read Vatican 2..


  8. Gargantua says:

    Just heard the news, topically, about Pope Francis ordering the so-called ” Bishop of Bling” out of the Diocese. I hope the Toad was not responsible for this unfortunate yet catchy name.

    750,000 euros on his garden,(the Bishop’s, not the Toad’s) 15,000 on his bathtub. Pope Francis and I are in full agreement on this and other issues and I am pleased to see the right action being taken here, and swiftly. JH may not agree, but he has the right to disagree.

    Trust is being rebuilt after crisis. This is so important.


  9. Gargantua says:

    Sorry to add yet another post. I could find nowhere else to post this.
    It is an extract from a site which is involved in Christian/Catholic living history.


    “When you click “Like” on any internet site, Facebook collects the data, and adds it to its database. At the moment, it seems to be just for targeted advertising and marketing, but they can/do capture computer IP address, location, and perhaps cookie information from your computer, which will include all the sites that are still in your history.

    So you give up a lot of privacy to Like something. ”

    I don’t involve myself in, or pay any heed to Like/Dislike for another reason. But I leave this quotation with you.


  10. Toadspitttle says:

    The Duchess of Windsor – as detestable a harridan as ever despoiled a Bermuda beach – once opined that, “One cannot be too thin, or too rich.”
    Toad is not in the remotest danger of being either.

    Bishops living indecently high on the hog – literally in palaces – are the rule, rather than the exception.
    Or certainly used to be.
    Maybe the times are changing. though.


  11. Gargantua says:

    BBC 23/10/13

    “Bishop Tebartz-van Elst – and his spending habits – had become infamous in Germany, where many people pay Church tax to the state. The tax raised 5.2bn euros for Catholics and 4.6bn euros for Protestants in 2012.

    Calls were made for the bishop to resign after he was accused of lying under oath about his spending.

    He was criticised for a first-class flight to India to visit the poor.

    But his official residence is at the heart of the criticism, after renovations were originally costed at 5.5m euros.

    German media are reporting that the residence was fitted with a bath that cost 15,000 euros, a conference table for 25,000 euros and a private chapel that cost 2.9m euros.

    The story has attracted heavy coverage and has stoked controversy among Catholics.”

    On Sunday, the pope said that;

    “When a person is attached to money, he destroys himself, he destroys the family. Money destroys! It does, doesn’t it? It binds you. Money serves to bring about many good things, so many works for human development, but when your heart is attached in this way, it destroys you.”

    Pope Francis lives modestly in Rome, so this Bishop’s actions would not go down well. I am very relieved to see this kind of behaviour dealt with. No-one I hope would defend this use of wealth by this bishop. He appropriated the wealth of the church which came from the people..

    I am very encouraged by this Pope.


  12. Roger says:

    Just a minute this reminds of the excuses of the Reformers that demolished Christendom. All this talk of Money and Wealth. Our Lord was blessed with wealthy patrons that sponsored his public life. St Joseph of Arimathea. Poverty isn’t about being penniless nor destitute! there is nothing to praise in that. Actually I am very alarmed at this precedence that is being set in Rome.
    Holy Poverty is self-abnegation. Our Lord’s poverty was the supression of His human nature (Self) to the Divine. Poverty is placing God first before neighbour and self last.
    The greatest Poverty is accepting the Holy Will of God and if this means living in a Palace so be it! Great and Holy Kings and Queens have lived this Holy Poverty.
    Our Lord wasn’t a Socialist nor a Capitalist and neither is His Church. We must not judge Our Neighbour nor covet His belongings.
    No I am alarmed with what I am seeing and hearing from Rome. Rome has to put God first before man. There is a false Charity that places the human on a level with God and that God has a duty to consider Man. A Charity that ignores God and worships Man.
    The service of St Peter and also St Paul was to defend the Divine Rights.
    Our Lord dealt with money “Render until Caesar etc.. this covers money! Caesar’s image was on the coin!
    But what about the Creature (man) rendering unto God what is God’s.
    All this PR of modest living coming out of Rome is pandering to the world’s view of Charity.


  13. johnhenrycn says:

    ““One cannot be too thin, or too rich.”

    Toadspitttttttttle, her correct title was Dachshund of Windsor, according to Princess Lilibet (as she then was) and Burke’s Peerage – as in short-legged, long-bodied, graspy-fingered, etc. I was only a few miles away from her birthplace a couple of weeks ago. Would have taken the trouble to drop by and purchase a gewgaw or two for you if I’d known you were an admirer.

    But you’re mistaken in attributing that quote to her. It was actually said by the one who said:

    “I would like it to be known that I have decided not to marry Group Capt. Peter Townsend. Mindful of the church’s teaching that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth, I have resolved to put these considerations before any others.”

    ..and she didn’t say it on a beach in Bermuda, but rather on a beach in Mustique.


  14. johnhenrycn says:

    Can someone please tell TerryC, an R.C.I.A leader (or candidate) no less, that according to HRH the Princess Margaret, who was once heir apparent to the heir presumptive (for the 4+ years before Prince Charles was born) that she agreed (^) with me that Christian marriage is indissoluble? At least she did so until she and the Earl of Snowden were divorced?

    Need I say more?


  15. Toadspitttle says:

    “Render until Caesar etc.. this covers money! Caesar’s image was on the coin!”
    Darwin’s image is in on one of ours.
    There’s a bit of luck.

    “A woman can’t be too rich or too thin.”
    Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor

    From Thinkexist quotes. But who knows? Or cares?
    Not poor fat Toad.


  16. johnhenrycn says:

    “A woman can’t be too rich or too thin.”

    That’s not true, Toad, as your wife and mine will both attest; but I don’t deny you got the source of your quote right. It’s just that I killed Lady Gaga and TerryC yesterday and wondered if provoking you with a false quote might give me some fresh meat, and so it has…

    Your weak, tired Dachshund of Windsor reference has, for many years now, been overshadowed by the “I have an extravagance that knows no bounds” one by Lady Black of Crossharbour, a classic beauty of the ages – British, formerly Canadian – and still a practicing (unlike you) hack, who has only been divorced two more times than you, once to a still practicing (unlike you) hack whose latest volume of verse in translation has a special place on my bookshelf:



  17. johnhenrycn says:

    Hard to believe that the cheapest paperback first edition, first printing copy (like mine) is being offered for sale by a second hand bookseller for $340 CDN. The other first edition copy on offer (again paperback, since there never was a hardback one) is listed for $506 CDN.

    Gaga will be aghast at my “excessive” wealth ‘appropriated’ by ‘plundering’ the labour and resources of the poets translated by Mr Jonas.

    No such thing as “excessive” wealth, but there is such a thing as a sucker born every minute, according to P.T. Barnum.


  18. johnhenrycn says:

    Well, there you go. We never did rely on Toad, ex-hack, to get his attributions right. Next, he’ll be telling you that another NYC socialite Leona Helmsley once said: “I pay taxes just like you little people pay taxes.”
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