Sunday, 20 September 2015

Religious News: When Francis Met Fidel

'Greetings, your holiness...' 'Hi, Frank.'
If I repeated some passages from the homilies of the Church Fathers, in the second or third century, about how we must treat the poor, some would accuse me of giving a Marxist homily. ‘You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. You have been appropriating things that are meant to be for the common use of everyone. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich.’ These were St. Ambrose’s words, which Pope Paul VI used to state, in Populorum Progressio, that private property does not constitute an absolute and unconditional right for anyone, and that no one is allowed to keep for their exclusive use things superfluous to their needs, when others lack basic necessities. St. John Chrysostom stated that ‘not sharing your goods with the poor means robbing them and taking away their life. The goods we own are not ours but theirs’ ...

As we can see, this concern for the poor is in the Gospel, it is within the tradition of the Church, it is not an invention of communism and it must not be turned into an ideology, as has sometimes happened before in the course of history. The Church, when it invites us to overcome what I have called ‘the globalisation of indifference’, is free from any political interest and any ideology. It is moved only by Jesus’ words, and wants to offer its contribution to build a world where we look after one another and care for each other.’ 

Pope Francis, La Stampa, January 2015.

PS I do wish the media would stop saying comrade Francis 'leads 1.25 billion Catholics worldwide'. A ridiculously hyper-inflated figure. (Fagburn works on the assumption that if you see a SPECTACULARLY HUGE NUMBER! in a news story, you can probably move the decimal point one place to the right and it'll be closer to the truth).


  1. "... move the decimal point one place to the right."

    So it's actually 12.5 billion Catholics?

  2. Richard Smith, I love you! You make me laugh. You make me think.