Pope Francis has been taking some heat for what he wrote about the poor and Capitalism. I haven’t read his comments in context but I do know Jesus talked a lot about the poor as in "the poor you will always have with you." There is much in Scripture about the poor, including the poor in spirit.
In America, where 48 million receive food stamps and more than half the country gets a government check, the approach to poverty has been ineffective. Government checks imprison too many in their poverty, instead of offering them an avenue of escape.
There was a time when the Church's primary mission was helping the poor to demonstrate God’s love and salvation. Government is now the savior of poor people, though government cannot save.
The churches lead people to conversion, a new way of thinking and a new way of life. If that was the focus today, we would have fewer poor people and many more who are rich in spirit and could look after themselves. Capitalism isn’t evil. It provides a way out of poverty. Churches can help show the poor that way.
I’m Cal Thomas in Washington.
Publication date: December 9, 2013