In an impassioned sermon delivered Monday at the Vatican, Pope Francis compared modern humanity’s insatiable thirst for money to the idol-worship forbidden by the God of the Old Testament.
Speaking in the chapel of the Vatican's Saint Martha guesthouse, the pope, who has already stirred controversy since assuming the leadership of the world’s 1.1. billion Catholics in March, with statements expressing empathy for the poor and unemployed as well as tolerance for homosexuality — as well as saying the the church focuses too much on the abortion issue — recalled what Jesus had to say about people who collect material wealth but are not “rich in what matters to God.”
He said that Jesus was warning against the dangers of greed, which turns “brother against brother, father against son,” the pope preached.
“That’s what does harm: greed in my relationship with money,” the pope said. “It leads you to idolatry, it destroys your relationship with others. It destroys you, it makes you sick.”
Greedy people, he said, put themselves on the level of God “for vanity’s sake,” though a rich person is, like everyone else, “a poor human.”
Wealth should be used only to benefit all of humanity, not individuals, he said.
“All the goods that we have, the Lord gives them to us to advance the world,” the Pope declared. “To advance humanity, to help, to help others. Today may the Word of the Lord remain in our hearts: 'Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.'”
Today, the pope put his money where his mouth is, so to speak. He suspended German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg when he found out that the cleric spent more than $40 million to remodel his official residence, earning himself the nickname, “The Bishop of Bling.”
In a terse statement, the Vatican said that the German “"could not follow his duties as bishop.”
Watch the Pope make his remarks on greed and money in the video below.
SOURCES: Catholic News Agency, The Guardian, YouTube