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Pope Francis's Collision with Hypocrisy

Updated on May 9, 2014

Churches that rival nature in splendor and beauty.

There is a church in this city for every day of the year. There is a church built on a pyramid. And there is a church with cold ceilings.
There is a church in this city for every day of the year. There is a church built on a pyramid. And there is a church with cold ceilings. | Source

Pope Francis's domain

The Vatican is called the Holy See. But most know it as the Vatican. Its land mass and population is small. But the Vatican is extremely wealthy. Let us look at the United States State Departments fact sheet figures in general.

The ethnic groups are Italians, Swiss and others too small to mention. The languages are Italian, Latin, French, various other languages. Only one religion, Roman Catholic. They only have 842 residents/citizens. Their population growth rate is 0%. The are 100% urban. They raise no substantial crops. The produce no substantial products. They spend nothing on education. The entire populace is literate.

Their real name is La Santa Sede (Stato della Citta del Vaticano).

There is no female suffrage. Over 80 you cannot vote and you must be a Cardinal. It is a Pope who leads and a parliamentary (religious style) "cabinet". The have no GDP statistics, no GNP statistics and no per capita income statistics. While the Pope may eat different food on different wares, it would appear to be a communist dictator style government. And basically run in a compassionate and fair way. Their judiciary is a canon law system (religious).

Do not get me wrong. I think the opulence shown here is beautiful and should remain. This art and beauty gives hope to many and most assuredly is worthy.

So much good is being done.

The Pope is beating a communistic drum of redistribution of the wealth to poor people. That actually makes some sense but I am a capitalist and the notion is foreign to our philosophy and should be that way. “the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society.” That is a quote from today.

By "The Economist estimates that annual spending by the church and entities owned by the church was around $170 billion in 2010 (the church does not release such figures)." Now do not go crazy over that figure except in awe because this is what it is estimated it is spent 57% of this goes on health-care networks, followed by 28% on colleges. Note that the estimated "Vatican City budget is only around 320 million annually.

So clearly the Roman Catholic Church under the governance of the Pope is in fact trying to redistribute, kind of.

“idolatry of money” .... “a new tyranny.”

Both reaching for and obtaining the sky.

Built on a pyramid and covered in gold leaf decor inside.
Built on a pyramid and covered in gold leaf decor inside. | Source

Now a lay, non-Catholic explanation of a Pope.

A bunch of old men who are extremely experienced and extremely bright and extremely spiritual, gather around and huddle together and somehow decide who is a real descendant of St. Peter. St. Peter was appointed by Christ to head the first Christian church. And Roman Catholics believe that in some kind of Holy Mystery that each Pope is some kind of (at least) spiritual lineal connection with St. Peter. He is believed to be infallible in his doctrinal and liturgical life. (I am sure he can stub his toe like the rest of us in day to day)

Now that is very cool indeed. Even if you do not enjoy their faith we must respect the wonderful Roman Catholic traditions.

We are not dealing with "issues" like bad priests and the crusades and inquisitions here.

So now the Pope comes along and says rich should spread the wealth to the poor. Well there are two types of wealth basically. Assets and Income or return on investment or payment for services or talent. The Pope seems to be targeting anyone but his church. And on the other hand their expenditures from income, donations, seems to be admirable. But it is just too hard to get the picture out of one's head of gold leafed ceilings in a huge church and golden chalices throughout the world.

What do you think of the Pope?

Do you think this "crusade" is good?

See results

Now here is the scriptural problem.

This is straight up accepted by Christians. It is not a metaphor and it is not a parable. If you want to get to heaven here is the straight and narrow road.

Mark 10:17-22

New Living Translation

The Rich Man

17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. 19 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’[a]”

20 “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”

21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Now I think a blind man can see the problem clearly.

How can the actual owner and inheritor of so much wealth keep it and go to heaven? The opulence of the Church is well known and huge. How can they follow all earthly rules but deny Christ requires them to sell it and give to the poor. It is not even a dichotomy or mystery or quandary. It is straight forward hypocritical. Sorry Francis but it is.

Perhaps we should leave opulence and majesty and beauty and adornment to God.

Then again we must leave judgment up to God also.
Then again we must leave judgment up to God also. | Source

Further Hypocrisy

“An important part of humanity does not share in the benefits of progress and is, in fact, relegated to the status of second-class citizens,”

I am sorry but the group that "elects" the Pontiff are all men. Does not that make the women of the Vatican second class citizens. And what of the age restrictions, doesn't that make octogenarians second class citizens. None of this is found in scripture.

“the structural causes of poverty and hunger, attain more substantial results in protecting the environment, ensure dignified and productive labour for all and provide appropriate protection for the family, which is an essential element in sustainable human and social development.”

While it is hard to argue with this -- here is the rub, /ensure dignified and productive labour for all/ is most notably speaking of equality among sexes and race and the like and equality means labour that is open to all. Now there is a real problem with the church and gays and women and what is the name of that blind Cardinal.

Well we are not at all all perfect but we should strive to be it would seem. It is really hard to fix little quirks we all have and sometimes even harder to fix our big glaring mistakes and character defects. But when we are infallible and yet deny in totality the teaching of Jesus in the story of the "Rich Man" we are not repentant and we are not trying to do better we are wallowing in a state of less than humility. And this is a bad thing indeed.


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    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Theresa I may be powerless over these things but I can pray for the wisdom that we seek. Not only for us but for him. Thank you for your wonderful words of truth. e

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Eric - Good hub and you raise interesting issues. I am not Catholic and disagree with some of their beliefs and many of their practices, in particular wealth and hypocrisy. I am not wedded to either a capitalist or socialist system and no such "pure system" exists (except on paper).

      But so far I have been impressed with Francis and I hope that in time he will take the Biblical exhortation to "sell and give to the poor" seriously. Blessings. Theresa

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Me too Bill, I like them all. But they do seem to have a hard time just keeping their side of the street clean,

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hypocrisy? The Church? Surely you jest. :) I like the new Pope, but he has some serious work ahead of him.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John it is very interesting to watch. To be honest I like raw wood. I even like wooden chalices better. I do not even cushions in pews. So I am a bit insincere because I do not care for the glitz. Do not tell anyone.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      That Catholic Church is far from perfèct and has always been hypocritical to a fault, however I applaud the new pope Francis for his genuine attempt to turn it around. He has already proved to be an innovator and more attune with Jesus' teachings then previous Popes. No one man, Pope or otherwise could change the Church completely and make them sell all their valuables and give the money to the poor. I am sure if he tried he would soon die of some unexpected illness or somehow be replaced. (I'm not saying the church would do anything untoward in this manner). Interesting hub Eric. Voted up.


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