2, July 2016
His Eminence Cardinal Sarah recently opined that Poverty is a Christian value. In his book God or Nothing, the Cardinal stressed that ambiguities on doctrine can lead to dangerous opinions. The book as reviewed by Lifesitenews contains excellent teachings for our times. It is indeed a MUST READ!!
Clearly Cardinal Sarah’s comments here address the very misguided, heavily politicized and ideological efforts of many Catholic international aid agencies as well as government and other agencies that tend to emphasis elimination of the poor through contraception and destroying family cultures.
p.140 I remember being disgusted when I heard the advertising slogan of a Catholic charitable organization, which was almost insulting to the poor: ”Let us fight for zero poverty” .… not one saint – and God alone knows the tremendous number of saints of charity the church has brought forth in two thousand years – ever dared to speak that way about poverty and poor people.
– Jesus himself had no pretension of the sort. The slogan respects neither the gospel nor Christ. Ever since the Old Testament, God has been with the poor; and Sacred Scripture unceasingly claims “the poor of Yahweh”. A poor person feels dependent on God; this bond is the foundation of spirituality.
– Yes, poverty is a Christian value. The poor person is someone who knows that, by himself, he cannot live. He needs God and other people in order to be, flourish, and grow. On the contrary, rich people expect nothing of anyone. They can provide for their needs without calling either on their neighbors or on God. In this sense, wealth can lead to great sadness and true human loneliness or just terrible spiritual poverty. If in order to eat and care for himself, a man must turn to someone else, this necessarily results in a great enlargement of his heart. This is why the poor are closest to God and live great solidarity with one another;
p.141 The church must not fight against poverty but, rather, wage a battle against destitution, especially material and spiritual destitution. It is critical to make a commitment so that all men might have the minimum they require in order to live. “The spirit of poverty and charity is the glory and witness of the Church of Christ”
– But we do not have the right to confuse destitution and poverty, because in doing so we would seriously be going against the gospel. Recall what Christ told us: “The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me” (Jn 12:8) Those who want to eradicate poverty make the son of God a liar. They are mistaken and lying.
p.142 The language of the UN and of its agencies, who want to suppress poverty, which they confuse with destitution, is not that of the church of Christ. The Son of God did not come to speak to the poor in ideological slogans! The Church must banish these slogans from our language. For they stupefied and destroyed peoples who were trying to remain free in conscience
Truth is charity
Below he addresses the many influential or small-minded critics who insist that we must just pray and remain silent about the damaging programs and statements we see and hear and not speak out in order to protect life, family, faith and truth.
p.143 It is a lack of charity to shut one’s eyes. It is a lack of charity to remain silent in the face of confusing words and slogans!
The atheistic West is endangering the whole world
Cardinal Sarah is aware of the great dangers to the entire world of today’s situation in especially the European Union, the United States and Canada.
p.146 I think that the immense economic, military, technological, and media influence of a godless West could be a disaster for the world. If the West does not convert to Christ, it could end up making the whole world pagan; the philosophy of unbelief feverishly seeks followers in new parts of the globe. In this sense, we are facing an atheism that is proselytizing more and more. The pagan culture is determined to extend the domain of its struggle against God. In order to bring about their rebirth, the former countries of the old Christian tradition need to re-energize by embarking on a new evangelization.
P.148 Following Benedict XVI, I am convinced that one of the most important tasks of the church is to make the West rediscover the radiant face of Jesus. If the Old Continent cuts itself off from its roots definitively, I fear that it will cause a major crisis for all mankind, and I see some beginnings of it here and there.
The absolute need to defend the traditions and doctrines of Catholicism
p.147 we have an urgent obligation, says St. Athanasius, to study “the ancient tradition, teaching and faith of the Catholic Church, which was revealed by the Lord, proclaimed by the apostles, and guarded by the Fathers. For upon this faith the church is built, and if anyone were to lapse from it, he would no longer be a Christian either in fact or name.”
Prayer is the tool to reform the world
p.150 Prayer is the greatest need of the contemporary world; it remains the tool with which to reform the world.
p.153 The start of the reform must concentrate on Catholic schools and seminaries.