Archive for the ‘*Sustainable/Millennium Development Goals’ Category

My personal preface:
It is honor for me to have been denigrated before a gathering of the priests of the Archdiocese of San Francisco by Bishop McElroy for my effort to expose the truth about the Millennium Development Goals in an article published in the archdiocese’s newspaper, Catholic San Francisco. I guess he saw my article as an attempt to disrupt his and the UN’s agenda. Sadly, now that the MDGs have been replaced with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we have Pope Francis in full support of the UN’s agenda.

The following column first appeared on the website The Catholic Thing (www.thecatholicthing.org). Copyright 2016. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. (Source)

The Disruptive Church Now Has a Spokesman

By

March 7, 2017

In 1970, I took part in an early anti-abortion protest in Washington D.C. at George Washington University Hospital. It was intended to be a sit-in at the offices where hospital employees interviewed women seeking abortions. The hospital was violating the laws of the District of Columbia, which back then still prohibited abortion. But abortions were being performed at the hospital nonetheless.

Our purpose was simply to demand that the hospital comply with the laws of the District of Columbia. Protesters never got beyond the entrance to the office building and were hit with pepper spray to force them from the entrance. Several of us were arrested (I was not) for trying to prevent ourselves from being sprayed, another example of the victims being arrested while the perpetrators went free. The case against the protesters was extremely weak and eventually was dropped.

What was notable about this incident was the way the Catholic bishops responded at the time. Most took no notice at all, but the bishops who did respond were obviously embarrassed that Catholics would be involved in such disruptive behavior. It was one thing to resist abortion by words, but quite another to actually engage in actions that disrupted public order.

Since this was a peaceful protest, they were not criticizing violent attacks, but nonviolent actions that would shut down a public institution, even if that institution was engaging in taking the lives of the unborn. Not only did we get no financial help with fines and legal fees resulting from the arrests, but we were clearly designated the black sheep of the Catholic Church.

How things have changed. Now we have San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy advocating “disruptive” actions to accomplish his favored political goals. So far as I know, he has never suggested we should take disruptive action to end the slaughter of the unborn in places like Planned Parenthood, nor to check a government that supports this mass murder. But in his address to the U.S. regional gathering for the World Meeting of Popular Movements in California, this activist bishop said that with the election of President Trump, “Well now, we must all become disruptors.”

He then went on to give a series of misleading accusations against the new administration, which included the following, “We must disrupt those who would seek to send troops into our streets to deport the undocumented, to rip mothers and fathers from their families. . . .who portray refugees as enemies rather than our brothers and sisters in terrible need. . . .who train us to see Muslim men, women and children as forces of fear rather than as children of God. . . .who seek to rob our medical care, especially from the poor, who would take even food stamps and nutrition assistance from the mouths of children.”

These are the kinds of “fake” accusations that we have seen from leftist activists and their media supporters who quite literally want to overthrow a validly elected government.

Words often take their meanings from context, and the word “disrupt” in today’s political context means “bring down’ and “overthrow.” It’s a buzzword widely used by people like Michael Moore and other left-wing revolutionaries, Saul Alinsky types who want to see the present government overthrown. Bishop McElroy may argue that this is not his intention. But when he adopts the language of revolution, he cannot avoid the implication that he approves of such aims.

If we had used such language back in 1970, it would have been clear that we were implicit revolutionaries. And it would’ve been quite appropriate for the bishops to call us out and warn Catholics that overthrowing the government was not the position of the Church. I’m waiting for some such rebuff to Bishop McElroy, but I won’t hold my breath.

The Modesto meeting was co-sponsored by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Integral Human Development and the U.S. Bishops’ Conference. Indeed, the annual World Meeting of Popular Movements is the result of an initiative of Pope Francis himself according to their web site. But such movements, though well-intentioned and professing noble goals, have sometimes been turned into a movement that co-opts the Church.

For instance, Don Luigi Giussani, who had worked closely with the Italian movement Gioventù Studentesca for years, was faced with a problem in 1968. The majority of this student organization had taken what the Italians call a “volta alla sinistra” (“turn to the left”), and joined the Italian Student Movement, a Marxist group in Italian universities and schools. His solution was to lead the minority in a new undertaking, Communion and Liberation, which would be faithful to the Christian ideals and practices that he had set forth in his writings over his years.

The problem we face today is that we cannot replace the Church with a new movement. If Church leaders embrace this kind of politically driven radicalism, distorting the truth while calling for disrupting a legitimate government, we are in deep trouble.

Truth makes strict demands, and distorting the truth by distorting the facts is equivalent to lying. Politicians and the press do it all the time, but it cannot be tolerated in the Church, especially not among Church leaders. Trump may not be your ideal president, but it’s simply calumny to suggest that he is in favor of, or has a plan to “send troops into our streets to deport the undocumented, to rip mothers and fathers from their families. . . .portray refugees as enemies. . . .train us to see Muslim men, women and children as forces of fear rather than as children of God. . . .rob our medical care, especially from the poor. . . .take even food stamps and nutrition assistance from the mouths of children.”

This is raw, dishonest, political rhetoric – the most dangerous disruption of all, the suppression of truth for political ends, which can easily lead to violence, regardless of the intentions of those who use such language.

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Read about the Sustainable Development Goals and the Church’s errors here. Then you can lament with me and other concerned and informed Catholics.

All I can do is repeat what I had written in ‘The Millennium Development Goals and the Critical Next Step for the Catholic Church‘.

More on this topic on this site here.

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If you read this post on Msgr. Pope’s blog, you will find many of his other outstanding reflections. For your convenience it is copied below with his kind permission.

Eradicating Poverty Is Not a Gospel Value – A Reflection on a Teaching by Cardinal Sarah

By: Msgr. Charles Pope (posted with permission – source)

The eradication of poverty is an oft-stated goal of the modern, liberal West. President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s pronouncement of a “war on poverty” so imprinted this notion in the Western mind that it has become almost axiomatic. It is now a fundamental pillar in the thinking of almost every person (and organization) in the Western world, from the religious pew-sitter concerned for the poor to the most secular humanist bent on a utopian vision. Poverty is a great enemy that must be stamped out!

The only problem is that this is contrary to the Gospel! It is no surprise, therefore, that even after decades of Western “do-goodism,” barely a dent has been made in the percentage of people living in poverty. In fact, some statistics show that the percentage in poverty has increased. But why should we expect great fruitfulness in something that opposes God?

I can see the look of shock on your face right now; you may even be embarrassed that I have written this. I’d like to share a quote with you from Robert Cardinal Sarah, which makes an important distinction that we need to recover. While what he says may also shock you, I encourage you to read it carefully and thoughtfully; the distinction he makes is critical. Not only does the Gospel depend on it, but cultures and individual lives do as well. For indeed, in the name of eradicating poverty some of the worst of Western arrogance has been displayed. It is an arrogance that does not even recognize that it can become willing to the destroy the poor themselves as well as what and whom they love all in the name of this “noble” goal.

Cardinal Robert Sarah is no neophyte in this discussion. He grew up in an impoverished region of Africa and later headed the Roman dicastery, Cor unum, a charitable arm of the Holy See. The extensive passage below is an abbreviated version of the Cardinal’s response to the following questions posed by his interviewer, Nicholas Diat:

How would you describe the nature of Cor unum, the dicastery to which you devoted several years of your life, in its fight against all sorts of poverty? Furthermore, why do you speak so often about the close relation between God and the poor?

In his reply, the Cardinal is reacting somewhat to Mr. Diat’s description of Cor unum’s work as “fight[ing] against all sorts of poverty.” The Cardinal’s response is nothing short of stunning. Please read it carefully and consider obtaining the book so as to able to read the unabridged remarks as well.

The Gospel is not a slogan. The same goes for our activity to relieve people’s suffering … [it is a matter] of working humbly and having a deep respect for the poor. For example, I remember being disgusted when I heard the advertising slogan of a Catholic charitable organization, which was almost insulting to the poor: “Let us fight for zero poverty” … Not one saint … ever dared to speak that way about poverty and poor people.

Jesus himself had no pretention of this sort. This slogan respects neither the Gospel nor Christ. Ever since the Old Testament, God has been with the poor; and Sacred Scripture unceasingly acclaims “the poor of Yahweh.” …

Poverty is a biblical value confirmed by Christ, who emphatically exclaims, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3). … The poor person is someone who knows that, by himself, he cannot live. He needs God and other people in order to be, flourish and grow. On the contrary, rich people expect nothing of anyone. They can provide for their needs without calling either on their neighbors or on God. In this sense wealth can lead to great sadness and true human loneliness or to terrible spiritual poverty. If in order to eat and care for himself, a man must turn to someone else, this necessarily results in a great enlargement of his heart. This is why the poor are closest to God and live in great solidarity with one another; they draw from this divine source the ability to be attentive to others.

The Church must not fight against poverty but, rather, wage a battle against destitution, especially material and spiritual destitution. … [so that all] might have the minimum they require in order to live. …

But we do not have the right to confuse destitution and poverty, because in so doing we would seriously be going against the Gospel. Recall what Christ told us: “The poor you will have always with you …” (Jn 12:8). Those who want to eradicate poverty make the Son of God a liar. …

[In his yearly Lenten message in 2014, Pope Francis] espoused what St. Francis [of Assisi] called “Lady Poverty.” … St. Francis of Assisi wanted to be poor because Christ chose poverty. If he calls poverty a royal virtue, it is because it shone brilliantly in the life of Jesus … and in the life of his mother, Mary of Nazareth. …

Similarly, I often think about the vow of poverty taken by religious … [they] do so in order to be as close as possible to Christ. The Son [of God] wanted us to be poor in order to show us the best path by which we can return to God. …

The Son of God loves the poor; others intend to eradicate them. What a lying, unrealistic, almost tyrannical utopia! I always marvel when Gaudium et Spes declares, “The spirit of poverty and charity is the glory and witness of the Church of Christ” (GS 88).

We must be precise in our choice of words. The language of the UN and its agencies, who want to suppress poverty, which they confuse with destitution, is not that of the Church of Christ. The Son of God did not come to speak to the poor in ideological slogans! The Church must banish these slogans from her language. For they have stupefied and destroyed peoples who were trying to remain free in conscience (Cardinal Sarah, God or Nothing: A Conversation in Faith with Nicholas Diat, pp. 140-142).

Perhaps stunned himself, Mr. Diat follows up with the following question: “Are you not afraid of being misunderstood in employing this sort of distinction?”

The Cardinal replies,

It is a lack of charity to shut one’s eyes. It is a lack of charity to remain silent in the face of confusing words and slogans! … If you read the Latin text of Gaudium et Spes carefully you will immediately notice this distinction (Ibid, p. 143).

This is a powerful insight and it reveals the deep flaw in Western “anti-poverty” programs. Christ asks us to love the poor and imitate the best of what they are, not eliminate them and disregard the simplicity and trust that they can often exemplify. But we in the West, imbued with our materialistic notions and mesmerized by the comfort and control that wealth can temporarily buy, denigrate what the Gospels praises and seek to eradicate it.

So unreflective are we in this matter that some will even justify the most awful things in the name of eradicating poverty. Many programs (U.S.-sponsored and U.N.-sponsored) with this goal advocate for contraception, abortion, and/or euthanasia. Some have even sought to compel these sorts of things as a precondition for receiving aid. Some seek to impose certain aspects of Western thinking, something that has been labeled an attempt at “ideological colonization.” Many of us in the “First World” often speak of the “Third World” in a way that at best is patronizing and at worst exhibits a thinly veiled contempt.

While it is true that certain economic and political systems best support Western lifestyles, there is more to life than material abundance. With our own culture, families, and common sense collapsing around us, it seems odd that we so easily consider our way of life superior; that we see our relationship to the poor and to poorer countries as one in which we have all the answers and they should just listen to us.

The word “arrogance” comes to mind. We too easily assume, without even asking, that we know what is best; we presume that poor people in every part of the world want what we have (materially) and that they don’t perceive the awful price we have paid in order to get it.

We must recover a respect for the world’s poor, who have much to teach us. Even if they are not materially without troubles, they often possess many things we have lost: simplicity, family and tribal (communal) life, reciprocity, proper interdependence (as opposed to radical individualism), trust, a slower life, and a less-stressful life.

Further, we must not forget that the Lord counseled poverty (Lk 18:22), declared the poor blessed (Lk 6:20), lived simply Himself having “nowhere to lay his head” (Mt 8:20), lived among the working poor, and warned of the pernicious quality of wealth (Lk 16:13). God hears the cry of the poor and Mother Mary taught us of a great reversal that is coming, when the mighty and powerful will be cast down and poor and lowly raised up (Lk 1:52). Jesus taught us that many who are now last will be first in the kingdom of Heaven (Mat 19:30). In this life, the poor will sometimes need us. In the next life, on Judgment Day, we are going to need them to welcome us into eternal dwellings (Luke 16:9).

I really cannot say it better than did the good Cardinal, so I will not attempt to do so. We must surely work to alleviate the destitution that often comes in times of famine, war, or natural disaster. But destitution and poverty are not the same thing. Overlooking this distinction can be deadly for the poor we claim to serve and for their cultures, and can result in the worst forms of ideological colonization and secular utopianism.

*God or Nothing by Cardinal Robert Sarah

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Global Abortion Tax is Coming.  You Can Help Act Now.

From Austin Ruse, President/C-Fam

March 21, 2016

Sign at https://c-fam.org/stop-un-global-tax.

A high-level panel of the UN just issued its report that will inform the World Humanitarian Summit this May in Istanbul.

A global tax for the benefit of the UN was a part of their agenda.

A global tax is also on the agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals, the most important and perhaps most dangerous global document in years.

This is not new.

A global tax has long been on the agenda of UN radicals. The UN Development Program, the most powerful UN agency, proposed a global tax in its annual Human Development Report 2011.

Why do they want a global tax? So, the UN won’t be beholden to democratic bodies like the Member States of the UN.

The UN exists now on independent and voluntary contributions from governments. Such contributions come with strings and oversight and can be withheld. UN bureaucrats hate that.

What would be taxed?

International financial transactions. Don’t think this won’t touch you. Such taxes and fees are always passed along to the consumer.

They also want to tax all currency exchanges. That’s right. If you or your children travel to Canada, Mexico, Europe, or anywhere in the world, you will be taxed when you change money.

They also want to tax all airline tickets. And they are pressuring major corporations to increase costs to goods and services and the UN would get the proceeds.

A global tax on financial transactions would bring trillions of dollars into the UN and we the people would have nothing to say about how it is spent.

This is one of the greatest threats to democracy and to the unborn that we have ever seen.

UN bureaucrats say the money would go for humanitarian purposes. The problem is that UN radicals define killing unborn children as humanitarian.

It is vital that you sign this petition and send it to all of your friends and family. Sometime later this year, we will present these petitions to the UN, to allied groups around the world, to the US Congress and Parliaments around the world.

We can stop the Global UN Tax if we act together and we act now.

Sign at https://c-fam.org/stop-un-global-tax.

 

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Dear Readers,

Since 2006, with my first post on this matter (The Millennium Development Goals and the Critical Next Step for the Catholic Church), I have endeavored to keep you informed about the goals and actions of the United Nations regarding the life issues. Below is another contribution toward that end.

The Sustainable Development Goals and the Right to Life (source)

by Steven W. Mosher – President of Population Research Institute (PRI)

2016 JAN 14

Photo credit Istock/greta6 editorial use only

We are not alone in being suspicious of the United Nations when it comes to the life issues. Beginning with the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994, abortion advocates have been attempting to use the language of U.N. documents, as well as the statements of certain U.N. committees themselves–think the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)–to advance their agenda.

There have been constant battles over the meaning of such phrases as “sexual and reproductive rights” and “sexual and reproductive health care services” that are often embedded in U.N. documents. The abortion movement argues, predictably, that such rights include the right to an abortion. The pro-life movement, aided by the Vatican and a handful of Catholic countries, have been equally insistent that abortion and abortion rights have nothing to do with either sexual or reproductive rights or health care.

With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by the United Nations on September 25th[1] this battle is now raging again. Target 3.7 of the SDGs is aimed at “ensur[ing] universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services,” while target 5.6 seeks to “ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.”

Developing nations who adopt the SDGs will be pressured to legalize abortion, even though the word abortion never appears in the document. They will be told, falsely, that there is an “international consensus” that reproductive rights includes a right to abortion. They will be instructed that laws protecting the unborn violate this consensus and must be replaced with new laws permitting abortion on demand. And they will be threatened with the withholding of international aid unless they comply.

The Catholic bishops of Africa, whose nations have been on the receiving end of just this kind of pressure for decades, have said it best:

It can no longer be denied that under the euphemism of “sexual and reproductive health and rights,” such programs are plainly imposed as a condition for development assistance. . . . The agents of the civilization of death are using ambivalent language, seducing decision-makers and entire populations, in order to make them partners in the pursuit of their ideological objectives. . . . We, African pastors, note today with profound sadness that the post-2015 agenda for global development, in its present state of elaboration, continues in the direction set at the Cairo and Beijing conferences and that, twenty years after these conferences, the partnerships that have been established have become a powerful political and financial force.[2]

As William Sanders has noted in a recent article in the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, “The next stage in this struggle will come in the Spring when the United Nations considers what “indicators” nations must satisfy (such as “universal access to reproductive services”) to meet the targets. Pro-life nations will be fighting for unambiguous language that makes it clear that no nation is legally obligated to liberalize abortion laws.”[3]

The United States, unfortunately, will be on the wrong side of this issue, joining with other Western nations in pressuring for the inclusion of abortion as mandatory “reproductive services” in the Sustainable Development Goals.

The stakes are high since, like the expiring Millennium Development Goals that they replace, the Sustainable Development Goals apply to every nation on Earth. They are intended to serve as a set of guidelines for economic development and the eradication of poverty. They will be in effect for the next fifteen years.

Millions of lives are at stake.

[1] UN General Assembly, Seventieth Session, Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (A/70/L.1), September 18, 2015,https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/21252030%20Agenda%20for%20Sustainable%20Development%20web.pdf.

[2] See paragraphs 5, 6, and 13 of the Common Declaration of the Bishops of Africa and Madagascar (Accra, Ghana), June 11, 2015, available at http://aleteia.org/common-declaration-of-the-bishops-of-africa-and-madagascar/ . Also see Steven Mosher, “Out of Africa Comes a Cry for Help Against the Culture of Death,” Population Research Institute, September 30, 2015,https://www.pop.org/content/out-africa-comes-cry-help-against-culture-death .

[3] William L. Saunders, “The Washington Insider,” The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly Winter 2015, http://www.ncbcenter.org/document.doc?id=904.

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Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) pick up where the  Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) left off.

A New Sustainable Development Agenda:

These new global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will guide policy and funding for the next 15 years, beginning with a historic pledge to end poverty. Everywhere. Permanently.

This is also the deadline year for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which in September 2000 rallied the world around a common 15-year agenda to tackle the indignity of poverty.

Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute:

For anyone in the Catholic Church to suggest the adoption of the SDGs in light of their inclusion of ‘sexual and reproductive health’ is thus unconscionable”.

This is why we have fought battle after battle at the UN and other international forums to specifically exclude abortion, sterilization, and contraception. To continue to promote ‘reproductive health’ without first removing from the term its legal implication for the promotion of abortion and contraception is to be complicit with its present meaning and everything that follows.

My comments regarding the Millennium Development Goals (for which I received a personal thank-you from Cardinal William Keeler (former Chair for the Committee on Pro-Life Activities):

… the Church must demand the exact opposite. She must insist that specific language be included in all documents pertaining to the achievement of the MDGs stating that there is not to be any degree of support for expanding access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, including family planning and contraceptive information and services, as an MDG goal or target, either directly or indirectly.

The Church must state her position clearly and emphatically. She must be faithful to her mandate to represent the Way, the Truth and the Life, her very Lord and Master, Christ Jesus. It is through Him that She must find ways to share the goods of creation, which He destined for the whole human race. [Excerpt from The Millennium Development Goals and the Critical Next Step for the Catholic Church.]

 Sadly, the Vatican is still beguiled by Jeffery Sachs.

*I’M REPULSED TO NO END
*Sustainable/Millennium Development Goals

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By Msgr. Charles Pope (posted with permission – source)

[This is such an important post by Monsignor Charles Pope. As one who resides within the Archdiocese of San Francisco, I fully understand his compelling arguments. ~ Fredi D’Alessio]

Msgr. Charles Pope:

There is a passage in the gospels that breaks conventions and cuts to the core of what has come to be called the “Social Gospel.”  Before looking at the passage we need to define “Social Gospel.” The phrase “Social Gospel” emerged in the Protestant denominations but has also come to be used in Catholic circles as well. The Social Gospel is an intellectual movement that was most prominent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The movement applied Christian ethics to societal problems, especially injustice, inequality, alcoholism, crime, racial tension, poverty, child labor, labor unions, poor schools, and the danger of war.  Basically stated, if faith was to be real it must address these issues and be relevant to those who suffer these maladies.

So far, all true. But then comes this very troubling gospel passage. It breaks the conventional wisdom that the service of the poor is the first priority of the Church. It obnoxiously states that there is something more important than serving the poor. To be sure, serving the poor is essential, but this gospel says that something else is even more important. How can this be so? Who said such a thing? And that brings us to the text:

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?”  (Matt 26:6-14)

The other gospels contain this account as well (Mark 1 and John 12). John attributes the objection only to Judas and reckons that it is on account of his greed. Mark and Matthew attribute the objection to all the disciples present. Even more interesting, all three gospels link this to Judas’ decision to hand Jesus over. It obviously shocked the disciples—especially Judas—to hear Jesus speak this way.

There is simply no other way to describe this gospel than “earthshaking.” The reader surely expects Jesus to agree that extravagance toward Him should be jettisoned in favor of serving the poor. Had He not said that judgment would be based on what we did for the “least of my brethren” (cf Matt 25:41ff)? Why does Jesus not rebuke the extravagance and demand the perfume be sold and the money given to the poor? It is a shocking gospel, an earthshaking declaration: “The poor you shall always have.”  But there it is, glaring at us like some sort of unexpected visitor.

What is the Lord saying? Many things to be sure, but let me suggest this essential teaching: Nothing, absolutely nothing, not even the service of the poor, takes precedence over the worship, honor, and obedience due to God. Nothing. If the service of the poor takes precedence over this, then it becomes an idol—an idol in sheep’s clothing—but an idol nonetheless.

A seminary professor of mine, now deceased, told me many years ago, “Beware the poverty of Judas.” What does this mean? Fundamentally it means that the care of the poor can sometimes be used in an attempt to water down Christian doctrine and the priority of worship. The Social Gospel, if we are not careful, can demand that we compromise Christian dogma and the priority of proclaiming the gospel.

Let me be clear, the Social Gospel is not wrong per se. But like anything else, it can be used by the world and the evil one to draw us into compromise and to the suppression of the truth. The reasons for this suppression are always presented as having a good effect, but in the end we are asked to suppress the truth in some way. Thus the Social Gospel is hijacked; it is used to compel us to suppress the truth of the gospel and to not mention Jesus.

Perhaps some examples will help. Let me state at the outset that I am supplying generic examples here. Although they are based on real-world examples, I am not mentioning names and places because it is not the purpose of this blog to engage in personal attacks of other people’s struggles to uphold the gospel. I cannot and will not supply specifics. This is about you and me, not merely other people. It is easy for us to condemn others for their faults and fail to look at ourselves. Hence I offer these examples in humility, realizing that I also struggle.

  1. A large diocese in the United States is offered the opportunity to serve drug addicts. The price of admission is that the diocese coordinate a “needle exchange program,” which helps addicts shoot up without contracting AIDS. The government funding is substantial and may enable treatment programs for poor addicts, which may lead to their sobriety. The only downside to such a program is that some other addicts may be enabled in their self-destructive behavior and encouraged by the clean needles to shoot up. Church teaching does not permit us to do wrong even if good may possibly come from it. Nevertheless, the diocese accepts the money, handing out clean needles to addicts, but using the money to serve others. The poor are being served! Shouldn’t we look the other way? Is serving the poor an absolute good or do we owe God obedience first? What do you think? Is Jesus more important than even poor drug addicts? Or is He less important? Remember, you have to choose! You can’t just say, “I think both are important.” The government is demanding that you choose. Will it be Jesus and what He teaches or will it be the poor at the price of compromising the gospel? What will it be?
  2. A bishop from a moderately large diocese is confronted with the fact that he has not rebuked the local senator for his votes to fund abortion for the poor using federal money. The bishop responds, “But he is with us on important social legislation and we cannot afford to alienate him.” The senator in  question does surely support substantial funding of programs that the Church supports, programs such as housing for the poor, aid to families with dependent children, drug treatment programs, affordable housing initiatives, etc. The senator is a great advocate for these issues that the Church supports. The only problem is that he thinks it’s OK to fund the killing of babies in their mother’s womb. The bishop reasons that it is not good to alienate this senator, who “is with us on so many issues.” He fails to rebuke the Catholic senator and urge him to repent. “The Church would lose too much; the price is too high. We would not be able to serve the poor as well without his support. The senator might not vote for the bills that fund programs we support. We need to compromise here; the poor are depending on us. Surely Jesus will understand.” And thus Church teaching yields to the need to serve the poor. Surely it is good to serve the poor. But at what price? What do you think? Is Jesus more important than even the poor?  Or is He less important? Remember, you have to choose! You can’t just say, “I think both are important.” The government is demanding that you choose. Will it be Jesus and what He teaches or will it be the poor at the price of compromising the gospel? What will it be?
  3. In several large cities, Catholic Charities runs adoption programs. Lately, city and state governments have begun to demand that Catholic Charities treat “gay” couples on the same basis as heterosexual couples. In order to receive government funds that help Catholic Charities carry on its work of service to poor children looking for a stable family, Catholic Charities will have to agree to set aside Church and Scriptural doctrine that homosexual unions are not only less-than-ideal for children, but sinful as well. If Catholic Charities wants to continue to serve these poor children at all, it must deny the teachings of Christ and His Church. Is this too high a price to pay in order to be able to serve the poor? What do you think? Remember, you have to choose! You can’t just say, “I think both are important.” The government is demanding that you choose. Will it be Jesus and what He teaches or will it be the poor at the price of compromising the gospel? What will it be?
  4. Many Catholic hospitals receive government funds to treat the poor. But lately the government is demanding, in certain jurisdictions, that Catholic hospitals dispense contraceptives, provide abortion referrals, and cooperate in euthanasia. Remember now, the poor are served with these monies. Should the hospital compromise and take the money? Should it say that these are OK, thus enabling it to continue serving the poor? What is more important, the poor or Jesus and what He teaches? What do you think? Is Jesus more important than even the poor who come to hospitals for service? Or is He less important? Remember, you have to choose! You can’t just say, “I think both are important.” The government is demanding that you choose. Will it be Jesus and what He teaches or will it be the poor at the price of compromising the gospel? What will it be?
  5. Catholic Charities is offered the possibility of getting a large amount of money to serve the homeless. But there is a requirement that Jesus never be mentioned. Catholic Charities must remove all crucifixes, Bibles, and any references to Catholic teaching. Now remember, the poor will be served with this money! It’s a lot of  money to walk away from! What do you think? Is Jesus more important than even the homeless? Or is He less important? Remember, you have to choose! You can’t just say, “I think both are important.” The government is demanding that you choose. Will it be Jesus and what He teaches or will it be the poor at the price of compromising the gospel? What will it be?

In the end, we are left with these questions:

  1. How far do we go in serving the poor?
  2. The service of the poor and addressing the issues they face are essential works of the Church, but do they trump worship and doctrine?
  3. Should Church teaching bend to the demands of the government in order to serve the poor?
  4. What does Jesus mean in the gospel above when He teaches that anointing Him is more important than serving the poor?
  5. What is the Church’s truest priority? Is it the truth of the gospel or is it serving the poor?
  6. What if these two things are in conflict? Which is chosen over the other?
  7. Given the gospel above, what would Jesus have us choose as our first priority?
  8. When large amounts of money are made available to the Church to serve the poor, but at the price of compromising or hiding the truth of gospel, what should the Church should do?
  9. Why?

The Social Gospel is essential. It cannot merely be set aside. But the Social Gospel cannot eclipse the Full Gospel. A part, even if essential, cannot demand full resources and full obedience—not at the expense of the whole or the more important!

Money and resources to serve the poor are essential, but they are still money and it remains stunningly true that we cannot serve both God and money. In the end, even serving the poor can become a kind of idol to which God has to yield. It is the strangest idol of all, for it comes in very soft sheep’s clothing, the finest wool!  But if God and His Revealed truth must yield to it, it is an idol—the strangest idol of all.

While I do not agree with everything in this video from a few years back, it presents well the temptations that Catholic Charities faces:

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