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Pope contrasts 'poverty as an ideology' with true Christian charity

May 14, 2013

Pope Francis spoke of “poverty as an ideology,” and contrasted that ideology with genuine Christian charity, during his homily at daily Mass on May 14.

The Holy Father cited the Gospel account of how Mary Magdalene washed the feet of Jesus with expensive aromatic nard, and Judas complained that the cost “could have been used for the poor.” Pope Francis remarked: “This is the first reference that I personally found in the Gospel of poverty as an ideology. The ideologue does not know what love is because they do not know how to gift themselves.”

Because of his selfish attitude, the Pope said, Judas isolated himself from Jesus and the apostles, and that isolation eventually led to his betrayal. The selfish apostle, the Pope said, “safeguards his life, grows in this selfishness and becomes a traitor, but is always alone." True followers of Christ, on the other hand, “give their life for love, and are never alone.”

The fate of Judas shows “the tragedy of the isolated conscience,” the Pope said. He explained: “When a Christian begins to isolate himself, he also insulates his conscience from the sense of community, the sense of the Church, from that love that Jesus gives us. Instead, the Christian who gifts his or her life, who loses it, as Jesus says, finds it again, finds it in its fullness.”

In the end, Pope Francis remarked, St. John reports that “Satan entered into Judas’ heart.” The Pope observed: “With Satan the payback is rotten. He always rips us off—always!”


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  • Posted by: Cornelius - May. 14, 2013 3:25 PM ET USA

    I'm convinced that, in the West, spiritual poverty is a far worse danger, and far more prevalent, than material poverty. And in the West that spiritual poverty is most defintiely an ideology. - in fact it has become THE ideology of the West.