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Just read a bit of the Pope's nutritious exhortation! Gosh but he knows how to exhort. Has a lively style and is disarmingly honest.
He writes of how sweet a God is who says in Scripture (Sirach):
“My child, treat yourself well, according to your means… Do not deprive yourself of the day’s enjoyment.” (Sir 14:11, 14)Of course the downside of Bible commentaries is they often throw cold water. The NABRE mention “three realities govern Ben Sira's advice on wealth”, one being the lack of post-earthly life reward or punishment. The Collegeville chips in similarity, pointing out that Ben had a traditional Jewish view of death as the end and thus of the “enjoy it while you've got it” philosophy:
In his teaching on the good use of wealth (vv. 11–19), Ben Sira is no Christian ascetic, practicing evangelical poverty. Rather, he acknowledges the wealth and position of his disciples and counsels them on the best way to live in their conditions. First of all, enjoy wealth (v. 11, the theme). The motive, surprisingly, is the approach of death.*
On the Pope and economics, I'm completely confused by all the cross-talk and chatter, some folks saying the Pope didn't even use the word capitalism and thus this was all about consumerism, and others calling him a Marxist and still others defending the Pope by saying he's not a Marxist but isn't a fan of unfettered capitalism and then someone else saying there is NO SUCH THING as unfettered capitalism given the government beast and that seems true and so I'm more confused than ever, and it hasn't been helped by my not reading the Exhortation yet, nor by my not reading it in the original Latin where supposedly the term “trickle-down” doesn't appear.
I's so confuzed!
But one thing's for sure: I'm not so much bothered by the pope's view of economics as the seeming lack of humility around the issue. I think it'd been grand if he said something to the effect that he wasn't an economist and that many people differ on these questions. Somebody wrote that the Church, for all her incredible works, has done less to lift people out of poverty than the free market. Perhaps one should feel a smidgeon of gratitude for something that has benefited so many, it seems like. The Church in general seems skimping in its praise of science, especially in advances in economics and medicine. On the other hand science is as nothing compared to religion given that the comfort of our earthly lives are as nothing compared to the importance of our eternal fate. Pretty hard to get worked up over a cure for polio when more and more souls are potentially damned.
But.... when Heather King expounded on the minimum wage, there wasn't even the slightest nod that it could possibly cost jobs. (Although perhaps more likely the increase in wages will get passed on to the consumer, which is certainly much preferable to lost jobs.) But to have not even mentioned that that is a possibility seems to show a lack of nuance and ignorance at best, or a lack of charity towards ideological opponents at worst. Either way it's needlessly off-putting but could be addressed simply by admitting you're not an expert and that there these things are debated among people of good will on both sides.
In the end, I suppose everyone thinks they can play economist, much like everyone feels they could be a opinion columnist. And certainly there's tremendous disagreement within the profession given the likes of the Austrian school versus a Paul Krugman.
So there was Adoration, where I prayed for poor a Therese, a blogger/writer suffering from a depression intense and enduring. She says in an interview with OSV:
People who told me to find meaning in suffering meant well, but it contributes to self-hatred because I thought they were right, that it was a blessing to hurt and that I should want to hurt for Jesus.It was nice though to be reminded by God that He loves her far more than I do, knows her far more than I do. And providentially I came upon some beautiful Scripture in the Morning Prayer: “I will turn their mourning into joy…never again shall they languish…Then the virgins shall be merry and dance.” And the depressives as well!
Also liked this, from Isaiah (the book of the season of Advent):
He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor.I like this because it says in the first part the savior, the righteous one, will not judge by the senses. It's the polar opposite of my one-time lament, some 20 years ago, daring God to be as real to me as the raging of my hormones.
I wrote something for Mrs. D's blog on her annual “I remember Mrs. Darwin…” theme but, as always, I find what Elizabeth Duffy writes so witty:
You reached out your thin wrinkled and freckled hand and said, “Sometimes I wish I'd spent less time with my kids and more time building my personal brand. The kids are a thankless bunch, but the internet was always appreciative.”She's a laugh riot!
UPDATE: Peggy Noonan rules! She writes of Pope Francis: