|Saint John Chrysostom, whose 4th-century commentary about the proper distribution of wealth in a Christian society, which helped inspire Pope Francis in his recent "papal exhortation", has upset some 21st-century capitalists, like Rush Limbaugh.|
Rush Limbaugh finally got around to reading Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on the evils of capitalism (actually on the Gospel of Jesus Christ), and naturally the Arch-Hateful Limbaugh offered his usual fare of feigned outrage and bumptious stupidity (his main selling points to his dimwitted audience):
LIMBAUGH: “This pope makes it very clear [Pope Francis] doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to capitalism and socialism and so forth.”
Whatever the Pope knows about capitalism and socialism and so forth, the subject of Francis' papal paper was precisely the meaning of its title—Evangelii Gaudium—or The Joy of the Gospel, as is referenced in the very first sentence:
"The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus."
Oh, that Jesus guy, who is sort of important in Christianity.
But, in Limbaugh’s rant about how the Pope has gone totally commie-rat-red, the name of Jesus and the religion founded upon Jesus’ life, Christianity, are not mentioned at all.
Of course not, because, as any conservative will point out: Christianity doesn’t really have anything to do with Jesus, and also, in conservative Christianity (which is a political, not a spiritual movement), Jesus is more like Wolverine or Thor than the man who preached turn the other cheek and love your enemies.
What has shocked the world about Pope Francis is that he has been willing to go back to the book, to the Gospels, to the words and commandments of Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ was not exactly a Wall Street capitalist. Or a Rush Limbaugh listener either.
Jesus Christ was a working man, a carpenter, who gave up that life to wander the countryside, homeless and dependent upon the charity of strangers, in order to bring a revolutionary message of a spiritual Kingdom of God that resides, unknown and untouched for most people, in the hearts of every human. And this Kingdom implied a certain ethics, which Jesus taught a great deal about, and fundamental to that ethics was the idea that the richest people owe EVERYTHING to the poorest and most vulnerable people.
You don’t even have to be a Christian to understand and acknowledge the truth and the social benefit of this way of thinking. You could be an atheist and get it—if the religious brand of atheism currently in fashion were not so antagonistic to the idea of there being anything worthwhile or true in religion.
In that respect, Limbaugh’s comments, abrasively immune to any Christian teaching, sound as if they are coming from the Devil himself:
LIMBAUGH: “What is capitalism? The value of anything is established in the private sector. That's where the value of money is established.”
But, that isn’t where the value of God is established—and that is actually what the Pope was discussing: divine values versus the values of what the Pope labeled the “deified market”, the god of Limbaugh and no small number of Americans who march to an allegedly Christian church every Sunday to give thanks to the horned beneficence of their own greed.
As the Pope said:
“In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.”
The Pope also had a bit of direct advice to “financial experts and political leaders”, borrowed as the Pope said from “one of the sages of antiquity” (Saint John Chrysostom):
“Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs”.So, the Pope is alluding to this idea already mentioned as being a basic tenet of Jesus' own teaching, that "one's wealth" is not one's own, but belongs to God, and in that view, God's will is that the poor must be cared for first and foremost, even to the total impoverishing of the person of wealth.
Chrysostom also raises an issue about "accountability" and the poor, which should have considerable resonance for those who think "means testing", is a proper approach to determining who deserves assistance. Chrysostom explains the proper Christian attitude:
"Need alone is the poor man's worthiness...We do not provide for the manners but for the man. We show mercy on him not because of his virtue but because of his misfortune, in order that we ourselves, unworthy as we are, may enjoy His philanthropy. For if we were going to investigate the worthiness of our fellow servants, and inquire exactly, God will do the same for us. If we seek to require an accounting from our fellow servants, we ourselves will lose the philanthropy from above."Chrysostom tells us that our "door [of generosity] should be unlocked for everyone."
Now, considering all this, and if you’ve wondered about how stupid, or ruthlessly dishonest, Rush Limbaugh really is, then just read the following:
LIMBAUGH: "I am receiving e-mails from people who are telling me that the pope, his economic writing, has been mistranslated. Now, my first reaction was, "Come on, this document is too big and massive for it to be mistranslated." But then I caught myself, and this is exactly what the left does. If they had a chance to take somebody as influential and revered and beloved as the pope and put their words in his mouth, they would do it in a minute…it sounds exactly like what your average, run-of-the-mill leftist would say each and every day…I mean the worldwide left—they are entirely capable of this, and they wouldn't hesitate to do it, if they thought they could get away with it. Hell, they wouldn't hesitate to do it even if they do get caught doing it because they know that the original phony translation they put out will be the one that survives.”
Just so you know, the “original phony translation” was put out by that worldwide leftist organization known as The Vatican.
That is where I got my copy. And there isn’t any mistranslation or misstatement. Because the Pope is just giving the plain words and meaning of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. That likely sounds completely alien to the ears of Rush Limbaugh, and devils like him, but it doesn’t mean the global leftists (many of whom are atheists) are trying to twist the Pope’s words.