“And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, ‘It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer,” but you make it a den of robbers.'” – Matt 21:12-13
Churches and money – now there is a loaded topic. From “serving God or money” to “the love of money is the root of all evil” to “caring for the least of these” – the Bible has a ton to say.
I remember a joke I heard about preachers and money a while back. A minister, a priest, and a rabbi are discussing how they handle donations, and what part they keep versus giving to the Lord. The minister says “I draw a circle on the ground, throw the money up in the air, and give the Lord whatever lands outside the circle.” The priest says “I draw a circle on the ground, throw the money up in the air, and give the Lord whatever lands inside the circle.” The rabbi says “I take all the money, throw it up in the air, and whatever the Lord wants, he keeps.”
I caught an article today about the Vatican’s response to the global banking turmoil – they are apparently calling for a central world bank. I haven’t been able to find the full position paper from the Vatican (perhaps it’s in Latin). The premise appears to be that the current system has failed (yeah) and the best way forward is even greater centralization of power in the hands of a global elite … but a wise and benevolent elite.
There are some good snippets, like this one: “The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence.” Couldn’t agree more.
Then, there are some, well, you be the judge: “Of course, this transformation will be made at the cost of a gradual, balanced transfer of a part of each nation’s powers to a world authority and to regional authorities, but this is necessary at a time when the dynamism of human society and the economy and the progress of technology are transcending borders, which are in fact already very eroded in a globalised world.”
This will have the right-wing radicals going wild. There is a strong storyline in some spheres that the Vatican will play a central role in the rise of the new world order and ultimately the rise of the antichrist. Note, I’m not concurring with this theory – just noting that (i) I have heard it and (ii) anybody who does ascribe to it will be spinning into high gear over this latest nonsense.
For my part, I’ll take the more pragmatic view. I’ll simply ask some prodding questions. Does the Vatican hold that humans are flawed and fallen (if they read their Bibles they do)? Does the Vatican believe that the abuses of the banking cartel were caused by flawed humans aggregating ever-more power for themselves? Does the Vatican really believe that an even greater centralization of power in the hands of other, fallen humans will somehow solve the problems caused by the centralization of power into the hands of fallen humans?