Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The inverse proportional relationship between material and spiritual poverty

I've noticed this in my own life and in the lives of others quite strongly as of late. It seems that our total *real wealth*, those things that we value as human beings, are limited by the utter utopian daily allotment of time.

We can be spiritually rich, but that leaves us very little time to pay attention to the material needs of our families and ourselves. Or we can be materially rich, and that leaves us very little time to pay attention to any abstract studies of philosophy and theology.

At first glance, the clergy seem to have defeated this- but in Catholicism, what has really happened is that the clergy are spiritually rich and materially very very poor. I wonder what the salary of a Bishop is? I know your average parish priest earns about $12,000/year- below the poverty level for a single person. Every time I hear somebody speak against the vow of celibacy, I wonder if they know how materially poor the clergy really is.


Bill S said...

The religious life is, among other things, a good way of getting around having to get a job and support a family. The clergy, from the Pope down, live in relative degrees of luxury thanks to the donations of the faithful.

Francis sees it as an embarrassment. But the others have eaten it up. They are better off than royalty.

Theodore Seeber said...

Some of them certainly are; but the case can be made, and Francis seems to be making it, that such misuse of Church resources is causing a lack of ability to own productive private property in the third world.

Bill S said...

I think the Church has misused its resources from its very beginning. The popes have always lived like kings with a few exceptions like being held captive by Napoleon.

Theodore Seeber said...

Depends on the Pope.

There have always been the more eccentric ones, like Celestine V, who hated the luxury so much he resigned.

Or Pope Theodore II, who following TWO Popes that were universally hated for their luxury and excess (Pope Stephen VI is famous for the infamous Corpse Synod, in which he put Pope Formosus on trial for heresy, cut the fingers off the corpse, and threw him into the Tiber), tried to cut back drastically- and ended up building a hermitage in a back room.

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