Monday, December 26, 2022


By Tim Rohr

Per an AP news story, Pope Francis, in his Christmas Eve sermon, reminds us that: 

“Jesus was born poor, lived poor and died poor." 

The pope went on to attack the usual suspects: 

" and their hunger for wealth and power;" "human greed" at the expense of "the weak and the vulnerable;" "a world ravenous for money, power and pleasure;" "war, poverty and injustice;" "so much consumerism;" and "the greedy rush to possess and consume."

The AP story, however, rather than slavishly reporting the words of a pope the Media once adored for his "humility" (or rather his socialist-liberal views), appears to take pop shots at their once papal hero. 

You will need to read the full story with a careful eye to catch all of the "pop shots," but the key one is near the beginning:

"In the splendor of St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis presided over the evening Mass attended by about 7,000 faithful, including tourists and pilgrims, who flocked to the church on a warm evening and took their place behind rows of white-robed pontiffs."

The AP, against the backdrop of the pope's attack on consumerism and embrace of poverty, craftily inserted references to "the splendor of St. Peter's Basilica...a warm evening...(and) rows of white-robed pontiffs," all obviously in stark, but still subtle contrast to the pope's painting of the poverty of the manger. 

The "poverty" of Jesus has been a popular theme since Vatican II and was particularly advanced by certain powers in the Church who sought to push "Liberation Theology," which was really a not-so masked form of communism, and to which the current pontiff appears to have been particularly attached as a cleric in South America.

Without going down that road - which is above my head - the real question is: 

"Was Jesus really poor?"

From this layman's perspective, the answer is "no," and for several reasons. Here are a few:

1. Jesus was born in a stable, not because his parents did not have money (or else they wouldn't have tried to stay at several inns), but because the inns were full. (And also of course by Divine Design.)

2. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, was, at least from the little we know about him from Scripture, was a successful craftsman, a "carpenter," in effect - one of those "dreaded" entrepreneurs who made their own way and did not rely on government or charitable handouts.

3. It appears that Jesus took up his foster father's trade upon the death of Joseph and was also successful (i.e. financially successful) as a carpenter, and upon embarking on his ministry at age 30, left his mother in a financially secure situation. Otherwise, leaving his mother in begging poverty would have been a scandal not becoming of the Savior.

4. There is also the fact that Jesus did not "attack" nor turn away the "One Percent," that is The Magi, the "successful," the "wealthy," who brought Jesus expensive gifts. 

Nor is there any scriptural record that Joseph and Mary, nor Jesus, later in life, demanded that the Magi's gold be given to the less fortunate. 

From all we know, Joseph and Mary gratefully received these expensive gifts, and we could easily assume, that - at least the gold - was used by Joseph to secure his family's future. 

I wrote more about this for the newspaper for the Archdiocese of Agana in the following:




BTW: If I could, I would remind the pope (who never has to worry about where he will lay his head or where he will get his next meal), that relative to his attack on "the greedy rush to possess and consume" at Christmas, that said "rush" is the only time of year that people actually "rush" to GIVE to others and NOT "to possess and consume" for themselves. 

Merry Christmas anyway. 

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