Outsourcing the Poor

Pope Francis offers cause for both liberals and conservatives -- especially in secular politics -- to claim him as their own yet also to worry that the Vatican may stray in the 'wrong' direction under his leadership. The accession of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as spiritual head of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics has resurrected questions over Christianity's attitude toward the poor as well as government policies.

His Holiness is a deep Catholic scholar and a strict adherent to the Bible and Catholic teaching. Francis strongly opposes abortion, adoption by homosexual couples, and homosexual marriage. Yet, liberals find it shocking that Pope Francis also actually cares about the poor and 'social justice.' How can anyone be a follower of traditional, Bible-based Catholic teaching yet also want to respond with compassion to the poor? Hmmm. Perhaps someone has not really been paying attention.

It all comes down to this: Liberal Christians want to out-source their Christian duty to the government. That is, the Church must decrease so that the government can increase (with apologies to John the Baptist). Conservative Christians believe that each and every individual Christian is responsible to live out Christ's teachings, up-front and personal. And the church is paramount.

So the real controversy is whether the Catholic Church should subcontract Christianity to the government. Should Christians depend on the government to please God for us, so we don't have to please God for ourselves? The liberal approach is to hire bureaucrats to take their place in the sight of God. Then the proud liberal can go about his or her business while bureaucrats get their hands dirty.

Pope Francis believes -- like 119% of all Christian leaders in history -- that it is every Christian's duty to help the poor as much as to help ourselves. But apparently Pope Francis also believes you should do it yourself personally. Secular and Christian liberals believe that the government should take over the duties -- and the authority -- of the Church.

Liberal secular opinion-makers hoped to try out their "the Church must modernize" chorus on a new Pope, hoping to fool a sucker. They see the Catholic Church as only a political power center and not as an enterprise to please God. Naturally, what God wants or thinks about it all plays no role in their debates.

As a Jesuit Cardinal, Bergoglio condemned the moral failings of unbridled capitalism. His Jesuit order has often been considered Left-leaning. Some who know him personally have suggested that his politics tilt Left. Others not so much. He has decried the unequal distribution of wealth in South America -- but that does not necessarily suggest government intervention. In fact, the previous Pope Benedict recently decried, just before he retired, in his New Years' message, the "growing inequality between the rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated capitalism."

Yet Pope Francis is said to openly reject 'liberation theology' prevalent in Latin America -- which is socialism dressed up in Christian lingo. Liberation theology was originally invented by the KGB during the Khrushchev era and widely promoted by the World Council of Churches throughout Latin America's churches.  For Cardinal Bergoglio to publicly reject it where it was strongest, among South America Catholics, is saying something.

This controversy is surprising given that Jesus Christ so clearly distinguished between the government and the church: "And Jesus said to them, 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.'" Mark 12:17. Every teaching by Jesus on the poor clearly involved personal charity, one-on-one. Jesus condemned avoiding personal responsibility for caring for one's parents by gimmicks in Matthew 15:1-10. Jesus never asked the Roman or Jewish governments to carry out His goals.

Unfortunately, the Christian Church of all stripes has done a poor job of teaching and demonstrating charity for the poor. For one thing, Jesus taught Christians to give charity in secret, not to seek applause from men but to receive reward privately from God. Therefore, massive Christian charity efforts are not widely known. Yet the instructional value of teaching Christian doctrine to the world cannot be ignored, either.

So we don't seek applause from people. But we must also teach to the world what Jesus tells us. Therefore, Christians may need to trumpet to the world their charity for its teaching value even at the cost of being rewarded by God. For another thing, too many Christians nod their heads and say 'Amen!' on Sunday morning but don't actually do what Christianity teaches during the week. We believe the right things. But we need to do the right things, too. Thirdly, churches have retreated into their shells like tortoises and have abdicated their powerful role in society. Churches suffer from an insecurity and identity crisis.

Meanwhile, secular liberals, opinion leaders, and the news media want to remove the Catholic Church as a moral obstacle to abortion, homosexual marriage, and other liberal goals. They embrace Islam, although Muslims also oppose abortion, homosexuality and homosexual marriage. They oppose the Catholic Church because Catholics oppose abortion, homosexuality, and homosexual marriage. Thinking things through has never been a liberal strength. Fortunately, the Catholic Church rolls on, unimpressed and unmoved by all those who have nothing more than a ready opinion.

Pope Francis offers cause for both liberals and conservatives -- especially in secular politics -- to claim him as their own yet also to worry that the Vatican may stray in the 'wrong' direction under his leadership. The accession of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as spiritual head of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics has resurrected questions over Christianity's attitude toward the poor as well as government policies.

His Holiness is a deep Catholic scholar and a strict adherent to the Bible and Catholic teaching. Francis strongly opposes abortion, adoption by homosexual couples, and homosexual marriage. Yet, liberals find it shocking that Pope Francis also actually cares about the poor and 'social justice.' How can anyone be a follower of traditional, Bible-based Catholic teaching yet also want to respond with compassion to the poor? Hmmm. Perhaps someone has not really been paying attention.

It all comes down to this: Liberal Christians want to out-source their Christian duty to the government. That is, the Church must decrease so that the government can increase (with apologies to John the Baptist). Conservative Christians believe that each and every individual Christian is responsible to live out Christ's teachings, up-front and personal. And the church is paramount.

So the real controversy is whether the Catholic Church should subcontract Christianity to the government. Should Christians depend on the government to please God for us, so we don't have to please God for ourselves? The liberal approach is to hire bureaucrats to take their place in the sight of God. Then the proud liberal can go about his or her business while bureaucrats get their hands dirty.

Pope Francis believes -- like 119% of all Christian leaders in history -- that it is every Christian's duty to help the poor as much as to help ourselves. But apparently Pope Francis also believes you should do it yourself personally. Secular and Christian liberals believe that the government should take over the duties -- and the authority -- of the Church.

Liberal secular opinion-makers hoped to try out their "the Church must modernize" chorus on a new Pope, hoping to fool a sucker. They see the Catholic Church as only a political power center and not as an enterprise to please God. Naturally, what God wants or thinks about it all plays no role in their debates.

As a Jesuit Cardinal, Bergoglio condemned the moral failings of unbridled capitalism. His Jesuit order has often been considered Left-leaning. Some who know him personally have suggested that his politics tilt Left. Others not so much. He has decried the unequal distribution of wealth in South America -- but that does not necessarily suggest government intervention. In fact, the previous Pope Benedict recently decried, just before he retired, in his New Years' message, the "growing inequality between the rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated capitalism."

Yet Pope Francis is said to openly reject 'liberation theology' prevalent in Latin America -- which is socialism dressed up in Christian lingo. Liberation theology was originally invented by the KGB during the Khrushchev era and widely promoted by the World Council of Churches throughout Latin America's churches.  For Cardinal Bergoglio to publicly reject it where it was strongest, among South America Catholics, is saying something.

This controversy is surprising given that Jesus Christ so clearly distinguished between the government and the church: "And Jesus said to them, 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.'" Mark 12:17. Every teaching by Jesus on the poor clearly involved personal charity, one-on-one. Jesus condemned avoiding personal responsibility for caring for one's parents by gimmicks in Matthew 15:1-10. Jesus never asked the Roman or Jewish governments to carry out His goals.

Unfortunately, the Christian Church of all stripes has done a poor job of teaching and demonstrating charity for the poor. For one thing, Jesus taught Christians to give charity in secret, not to seek applause from men but to receive reward privately from God. Therefore, massive Christian charity efforts are not widely known. Yet the instructional value of teaching Christian doctrine to the world cannot be ignored, either.

So we don't seek applause from people. But we must also teach to the world what Jesus tells us. Therefore, Christians may need to trumpet to the world their charity for its teaching value even at the cost of being rewarded by God. For another thing, too many Christians nod their heads and say 'Amen!' on Sunday morning but don't actually do what Christianity teaches during the week. We believe the right things. But we need to do the right things, too. Thirdly, churches have retreated into their shells like tortoises and have abdicated their powerful role in society. Churches suffer from an insecurity and identity crisis.

Meanwhile, secular liberals, opinion leaders, and the news media want to remove the Catholic Church as a moral obstacle to abortion, homosexual marriage, and other liberal goals. They embrace Islam, although Muslims also oppose abortion, homosexuality and homosexual marriage. They oppose the Catholic Church because Catholics oppose abortion, homosexuality, and homosexual marriage. Thinking things through has never been a liberal strength. Fortunately, the Catholic Church rolls on, unimpressed and unmoved by all those who have nothing more than a ready opinion.