Laity Speaks of Difference, SILENT VOICE has made to his Parish: Pope Francis and Economy.

 

INPUT FROM A SILENT VOICE READER.

Hi Greg,

The article below was published in the Business Standard and Reuters during the last week.

Besides, I have to express my gratitude to you and your work for a great transformation of the ‘Our Lady of Egypt Parish’ Kalina. The team is lead by Fr Harry Vas, a person deeply rooted in scripture (I once complimented him that he preaches like a protestant preacher – so good is his knowledge of the Word). His old friend Fr Andrew on the staff and especially the younger clergy has brought life and a strong sense of ethics to the working of the parish. I do not believe that the Lord can be effectively preached in an atmosphere of compromised ethics – it is clear His work is done at Kalina.

The pews and collection box are proof of the good work. I pray that this remains as a permanent testimony to what can and should be done in evangelising our own. And i pray for your work, family and self. Do keep up your good work.

Warm regards and the Lord’s blessings,

Naveen

OUR LADY OF EGYPT CHURCH, KALINA

OUR LADY OF EGYPT CHURCH, KALINA.

*****************************

Article in Business Standard and Reuters:

Wall Street bigwigs often lean economically right and socially left. In what looks like a manifesto for his papacy, Pope Francis takes the opposite stance. He might not, however, object to the relatively uncommercialized American Thanksgiving holiday. And over their turkey on Thursday, the rich might ponder a financial system that the pope says “rules rather than serves.”

Francis’ skepticism of free markets and concern about the absence of ethics in finance and economics were shared by his predecessor, Benedict XVI. But Francis’ simple style and consistent rejection of the traditional trappings of office lend his words particular weight. He rails against inequality and “the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose.” Though Francis is guided by his Christianity, no particular religion is needed to agree that pure capitalism, whatever its big-picture merits, leaves many people marginalized.

There are some unarguable remedies mentioned in Francis’ so-called apostolic exhortation, including the rich helping the poor and initiatives to improve healthcare and education. The Catholic Church already does some of this. The Economist estimated in 2010 that the church and related entities like hospitals and schools spent around $170 billion a year in the United States, and that America accounted for as much as 60 percent of the church’s global wealth.

Francis probably expects more from his church. End-2012 cash deposits of 4.1 billion euros and portfolios under management worth 6.3 billion euros at the Istituto per le Opere di Religione, the Vatican bank which recently released an annual report for the first time, must represent only a fraction of the church’s worldwide assets. It’s easy to imagine the Holy See could rival the efforts of, say, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with its $40 billion endowment if it corralled its resources.

The pontiff certainly wants more from governments and ordinary people. As well-fed American families give thanks, debate over the political implications of his advocacy of solidarity and shared responsibility may be best avoided. But recalling that the Thanksgiving holiday’s origins relate to collective effort meeting the basic needs of a human community, not to financial success, would at least be a nod in Francis’ direction.

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. December 1, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Reblogged this on The Iniquitous: Church Crimes.

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  2. Isaac Gomes said,

    December 20, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    In his Apostolic Exhortation, ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ (224 pages) dated 24 November 2013 to all bishops, clergy, consecrated persons and the lay faithful on the proclamation of the gospel, Pope Francis begins: “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus, with Christ Joy is constantly born anew”.

    He exhorts all parish priests to ‘smell their sheep’ and ‘be sensitive to their needs’. However his expectation looks simplistic in the absence of a system which monitors pastors most of whom consider their parishes their fiefdom at the expense of the Laity, its “Co-partner” which in spite of being 80% stakeholder, remains a sleeping giant.

    Being sensitive to the needs of the poor means addressing (1) Education – basic and higher (2) Health care particularly the mother, child and the aged (3) Low-cost eco-friendly housing, safe drinking water and proper sanitation (4) Teaching the art of fishing to all able-bodied Christians through vocational training to ensure no Christian rots unemployed.

    Evangelisation and work for social justice according to the Pope are two sides of the same coin. For social justice the crying needs of poor Christians mentioned above cannot be solved just with prayers, exhortations, occasional visits and doles. It calls for concrete Church action with lay leadership including approach to government for housing for all Christians on the lines of the strong plea of Mar Thoma Bishop last month to Kerala’s Chief Minister to make Kerala a ‘Zero Homeless’ state. Only after social justice, evangelisation envisaged by the Pope is possible.

    The Pope says “today missionary activity still represents the greatest challenge for the Church”. “Mere administration” can no longer be enough. Throughout the world, let us be permanently in a state of mission”. For the Church to be a missionary it has to empty itself by delegation of responsibilities to Laity including management of institutes. The church today is busier in administration of “temporal goods of the church” than touching lives through people to people contact.

    Regarding the Pope’s particular mention of the Islam in his exhortation, the spread of Islam in Europe, the US and Africa backed by petro dollars is a matter of concern. The manner Christians are being tortured, their women including nuns taken by force, churches and properties destroyed in Islamic countries, with the powerful West looking the way, is too much for the Pope to handle alone.

    Regarding the present economic system in which the few winners get richer and richer and the millions of losers get poorer and poorer, such a system is unworthy of a Christian understanding of justice. The Pope says: “Today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly home¬less person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has devel¬oped. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own.” To counter this exclusion, the Pope has to devise an alternative economic system with his advisers.

    The Pope’s concern for the poor was reflected by Ela Bhatt – prominent Social Activist when during NDTV Channel’s Award Ceremony of 25 Living Legends of India on 14th December 2013, she said in the presence of our President : “We need to recognize that poverty is violence. It is violence perpetuated with the consent of the society – a society that is silent and looks the other way, is giving consent to exploitation, injustice and war. Poverty strips away a person’s dignity, humanity, it corrodes the human spirit. There is no justification for poverty in India.” Her utterances have a correlation with what Jesus said to Peter: “Look after my sheep” which means no Christian should be without food and shelter.

    Isaac Gomes
    Kolkata

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