With so much recent attention on the extravagance of Germany’s Bishop of Bling, the second reading from this mornings office has a particular relevance, with its stress on the extent of world poverty, and the Christian obligation to share our wealth. Below is a short extract, that should be especially embarrassing for bishops indulging in luxurious lifestyles.
But the message is important for all of us, not only bishops, and certainly includes gay Catholics. The “Pink Pound” idea that the gay community is notably affluent is something of a myth, but it is true that for some of us, freedom from the responsibility and expense of raising children does leave us with more disposable income than those with dependent families. If we do not have dependent families of our own to care for, we have a greater responsibility than other people do, to care for the needs of the wider human family where we can.
It is also true that for some of us, coming out of one closet is initially followed by entry into the second closet, of the gay ghetto, elements of its associated hedonism, and an obsession with material possessions, comforts, and fashion – all of which cost substantial sums. Mindful of Gaudium et Spes, we would do well to limit our expenditures on frivolous pleasure – and divert some of the savings to people in real need.
Indeed, it is the duty of all God’s people, with bishops giving a lead by word and example, to do all in their power to relieve the sufferings of our times, following the age-old custom of the Church in giving not only what they can spare but also what they need for themselves.
Without being uniform or inflexible, a method of collecting and distributing contributions should be established in each diocese and nation and on a world-wide level. Wherever it seems appropriate, there should be joint action between Catholics and other Christians. The spirit of charity, far from forbidding prudence and orderliness in social and charitable action, in fact demands them. Those intending to serve the developing countries must therefore undergo appropriate and systematic training.
(Read the full text at Universalis: Office of Readings
Tuesday of Week 32)