Poverty, what crimes are committed in thy name!

“Oh Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name!” These were the last words pronounced by Madame Roland, one of the vital participants of the French Revolution, before she lay her head on the block to be guillotined. The phrase became legendary for so clearly expressing how certain concepts are subject to manipulation, for this woman was being condemned in the name of the same false ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity that she had formerly defended.

Each epoch has certain omnivalent catchphrases which, when shrewdly employed, serve to provoke the masses and to move those human interests under whose shadow revolutions lurk. If in those days the amulet-word was “liberty”, in our days it doesn’t seem exaggerated to affirm it as “poverty”.

Throughout two thousand years, the Church has always stood out for its love and maternal care toward the needy, so much so that many Pontiffs spoke of a “preferential option” for the poor. However, the connotation of this difficult human condition seems to be suffering a strange metamorphosis…What does the Magisterium teach us regarding the poor? Why does the Church show concern for the poor, and how has it always understood this arduous human predicament? Should the Church be poor? In what manner? More from Denzinger-Bergoglio…