From Castelgandolfo today, the Holy Father encouraged Christians to look out for the needy and homeless, to use worldly goods wisely, and to guard against an improper use of money that leads to a “blind selfishness”.
“Dear brothers and sisters!” the Holy Father began, “this morning I visited the diocese of Velletri…during the Eucharistic Celebration I had the chance to reflect on the correct use of worldly goods, which Luke the Evanglist has proposed for us.”
“It is Christ who teaches us the right use of money and worldly riches”, the Pope affirmed, “and that is to share them with the poor, thus obtaining their friendship, in sight of the Kingdom of heaven.”
Benedict was careful to point out that money is not dishonest in itself, “but more than anything else it is capable of closing man in a blind selfishness.”
Thus, the Holy Father noted that we need a kind of conversion with respect to money: “We must effect a type of ‘conversion’ of economic goods: instead of using them solely for our own interest, we must think also of the needs of the poor, imitating Christ himself.”
Christ’s gift of himself to man is a paradox: “as St. Paul writes—‘rich though he was, he became poor to enrich us with his poverty’(2 Cor 8:9). It seems a paradox: Christ has not enriched us with his richness, but with his poverty, that is with his love that has impelled him to give himself completely to us.”
Benedict affirmed that in the world we find two economic mentalities: “the logic of profit and that of the just distribution of goods, which are not in contradiction with one another, as long as their relationship is ordered correctly.”
This correct relationship consists in giving priority to the equitable distribution of goods: “The Catholic social doctrine has always sustained that the equitable distribution of goods has priority. Profit is naturally legitimate, and, in the right measure, necessary for economic development.”
Benedict cited his predecessor John Paul II’s Encyclical Centesimus Annus: “the emergency of famine and the ecological emergency denounce, with growing evidence, that the logic of profit, if it prevails, increases the disproportion between rich and poor in a a ruinous misuse of the planet. When, instead, the logic of sharing and of solidarity prevails, it is possible to correct our course and orient it towards an equitable and sustainable development.”
Lastly the Holy Father invoked the help of Most Holy Mary, “who in the Magnificat proclaims: the Lord “has filled the hungry with good things and has sent the rich away empty-handed”(Lk 1:53).
“May she help Christians to use with evangelic wisdom, that is with generous solidarity, their worldly goods, and inspire leaders and economists with far-seeing strategies that favor the authentic progress of all peoples.”