|Towards a Poor Church|
More and more Americans are pushed into or are kept in poverty every year. The American poverty rate is a scandal -- or it would be if anybody was paying attention.
So we now have a Pope in Rome waxing lyrical about a "poor Church" and "service to the poor."
It's a good thing in a way, because no world leader has given a good gott-damb about or for The Poor for many a long year, not since the expiration of the Soviet Union, and the marginal leaders like Hugo Chavez and a handful of others who actually did something to lift the poor from the depths are excoriated and denounced as some kind of evil.
A Pope in Rome making these noises about the Poor, after all these years of focusing on papal piousness and saintliness (well, and Prada) is a breath of fresh air.
But take it with something like a barrel of salt. What we have is a situation in which government policy throughout the west and much of the rest of the world is making more poor people every day. And let's face it, the creation and perpetuation of Teh Poors is good for the God Business. Oh, very good indeed!
Over at dKos, Betty Clermont has penned a devastating take down of the Papal Show we've been treated to the past few days. It is not, she assures us, what it appears to be. A Pope like Francis who appears to be too good to be true probably is. And we'll be in for even more duplicity, deception and despair, no doubt, as the rituals of the Church, the acts of the Pope, and the realities of living in the material-world-as-it-is gain an even tighter grip on our collective throats than ever before.
Nothing, fundamentally, will change for the better. Much may well change for the worse -- at least for the many millions whose toil and travail continues to boost the wealth of the diminishing few. We've been down this road before...
Ask any of our Third World neighbors; most will tell you they've never left this road, and it would seem that it is the intent of our neo-Fascist rulers to ensure that there will be many more poor and far fewer (but much wealthier) rich in perpetuity.
The Church may serve its solace on Earth and hope for reward in Heaven to the masses once again, with the benign Francis dispensing alms, serenity and beauty.
St. Francis was a young man when he was called by the Divine. He died at the age of 44 or so. His ministry on Earth had lasted less than 20 years. Pope Francis is old and most likely will not survive anything close to 20 years on the Papal throne. His work will have to be quick, therefore, and the changes he is expected to make in the Church will by necessity be superficial.
Matters of style, not dogma.