.- Archbishop Hector Aguer of La Plata, Argentina, said this week the Lenten fast understood in its spiritual sense is an effective combatant against consumerism, which values having over being.
In his program “Keys to a Better World,” the archbishop explained that the material things we do not need are superfluous and could be used for the common good and to help those in need.
He said the spirit of Lent does not consist of meaningless practices, but rather of actions that transform the heart towards service to others, “especially to those most in need.”
Archbishop Aguer said consumption was part of the economic process, but consumerism is “a pathological behavior” that creates “a fictional need to have certain things.” He added that a person with such a problem is usually unaware of it, “and this then begins to become a way of life.”
Such impulses, he went on, “can lead one to fall into debt, and this happens at all levels of society.” The fault for this problem does not lie with the public in general, but often the problem is taken advantage of “by the pushing of certain products.”
In his weekly message, the archbishop explained that one can understand that those with much money “have the luxury of owning exquisite things or of spending superfluously,” but he warned that consumerism affects even the poorest among us, who desire for things that are not “of common use in society” and are not consistent “with human dignity.”
Archbishop Aguer said that this “consumerist pathology,” which exists at the individual and societal level, unleashes “a host of feelings,” such as selfishness, envy, the desire for power, with no regard for “that dreadful contrast” between those who have much and those who are immersed in poverty.
Therefore he proposed “the Lenten practice of fasting” in its spiritual sense, as not only a way to deny oneself of food but also of whatever is “superfluous.” In this way, he said, fasting “can be an effective remedy” against consumerism