PopeWatch: Prosperity Gospels

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Two of the dimmest bulbs at the Vatican are at it again:

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A Vatican-approved journal has dismissed “prosperity gospel” as a pseudo theology dangerously tied up with the American dream and President Trump’s politics, launching the publication’s second major critique of American evangelicals in as many years.

Two of Pope Francis’ top communications advisers — an Italian Jesuit and an Argentine Protestant pastor — penned “The Prosperity Gospel: Dangerous and Different” for the current issue of the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, published Wednesday (July 18).

In the article, the authors note that the prosperity gospel and its belief that God wants his followers to be wealthy and healthy has spread throughout the world, particularly in Latin America and Asia, thanks to its charismatic proponents’ effective use of TV and media.

But they point to its origins in the U.S. and its underpinning of the American dream and say its vision of faith is in direct contrast to true Christian teaching and Pope Francis’ emphasis on the poor, social justice and salvation.

“In truth, one of the serious problems that the prosperity gospel brings is its perverse effects on the poor,” wrote the authors, the Rev. Antonio Spadaro and Marcelo Figueroa.

“In fact, it not only exasperates individualism and knocks down the sense of solidarity, but it pushes people to adopt a miracle-centered outlook because faith alone — not social or political commitment — can procure prosperity.”

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It was the second time the two authors have joined forces to criticize religious movements in the United States, signaling once again the clash of cultures underway in the Francis papacy and Trump White House.

Last year, the authors condemned the way some American evangelicals and their conservative Roman Catholic supporters mix religion and politics in an “ecumenism of conflict,” saying their worldview promotes division and hatred.

Then again, Spadaro and Figueroa took aim at conservative religious support for Trump, accusing activists of promoting a “xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations.” Trump has sought to bar travelers from six Muslim-majority countries and vowed to build a wall on the Mexican border.

Go here to read the rest.  Now the idea that followers of Christ will be showered with material blessings as a result of their faith is truly nuts.  However, the authors clearly have their own version of the prosperity gospel:

“In fact, it not only exasperates individualism and knocks down the sense of solidarity, but it pushes people to adopt a miracle-centered outlook because faith alone — not social or political commitment — can procure prosperity.”

Note that it is not hard work, education, gaining employable skills, shrewd investment, free enterprise, etc that lead to prosperity but rather social or political commitment.  Of course this is just as big a crock of rubbish as the belief that if I pray to get rich I will get rich.  It is also more pernicious, as Venezuela is currently demonstrating.  Faith based economics work about as well as faith based plumbing.

 

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9 Comments

  1. A Vatican-approved journal has dismissed “prosperity gospel” as a pseudo theology dangerously tied up with the American dream and President Trump’s politics, launching the publication’s second major critique of American evangelicals in as many years.

    It was actually dangerously tied up with Tammy Faye Bakker’s standard of living.

    One of the priestly humor bloggers (it might have been Fr. Bryce Sibley) noted that during some controversy ca. 2002 the Pope took time out to attend a performance of break dancers. The headline was ‘Tonight We’re Gonna Party Like it’s 1985’

    So, here we have the Holy See devoting itself to critique a faddish component of Pentacostalism that only a modest minority of American Christians have ever been exposed to and about which many Pentacostal clergy are quite dubious. Awaiting the Pope’s encyclical on the Prayer of Jabez.

    “In fact, it not only exasperates individualism and knocks down the sense of solidarity, but it pushes people to adopt a miracle-centered outlook because faith alone — not social or political commitment — can procure prosperity.”

    Sad to say, these characters live in an ecclesiastical economy which runs on donations and bequests. Which actually is a function of ‘commitment’. Their sense of how the rest of the economy works tends to be lacking.

  2. It sounds as if the Lutherans running the Vatican believe that people can be saved by Faith alone. They are jealous of the good Trump has done in matters of freedom of religion and helping the poor. They ignore the persecuted Christians in China, Syria and around the world. In bashing Trump as competition they show themselves as Pharisees, hypocrites and heretics.

  3. It sounds as if the Lutherans running the Vatican believe that people can be saved by Faith alone.

    That’s attributing to them a far too otherworldly set of concerns. They really want you to exercise ‘the preferential option for the poor’. Admirers of Bp. Howard Hubbard contended he’d been all about that (while liturgical practice in the Diocese of Albany circled the toilet bowl, vocations disappeared, and Catholic schools enrollment plummeted).

  4. Rev. Antonio Spadaro and Marcelo Figueroa are just as much proponents of the heresy of the prosperity gospel as Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Joel Olsteen, Frederick K. C. Price and all the rest. Spadaro and Figueroa propose that God’s plan of social justice and the common good authorizes and enables government to magically prosper the poor. Olsteen et alias propose that God’s plan of “you name it, you claim it” will magically prosper the poor. The only difference between the two is that Spadaro and Figueroa place an intermediary between God and man – government. In that their heresy is greater.

    I despise, abhor, loathe and hold in utter contempt and disdain liberal progressive feminist Katholycism even MORE than I do Protestant heresy. I cannot wait for this Pontificate to end. I shall rejoice on that day.

    BTW, did any of these clerical fools read the Old Testament reading this past Sunday? Jeremiah 23:1-4:

    Woe to the shepherds
    who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture,
    says the LORD.
    Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel,
    against the shepherds who shepherd my people:
    You have scattered my sheep and driven them away.
    You have not cared for them,
    but I will take care to punish your evil deeds.
    I myself will gather the remnant of my flock
    from all the lands to which I have driven them
    and bring them back to their meadow;
    there they shall increase and multiply.
    I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them
    so that they need no longer fear and tremble;
    and none shall be missing, says the LORD.

    Buckle up, Jorge Bergoglio and you who are his henchmen, because the very next chapter in the book of the prophet Jeremiah tells us what happened when Judah did not repent of her heretical and apostate clerics! Two baskets of figs

    The one that prospered and was healthy represented those taken into exile in Babylon – trial and tribulation made the fig tree from which they grew mature healthy.

    The second that withered and became unfit to be eaten were those left behind in Judah who said that nothing bad would ever happen to them – God would prosper them no matter what.

    Well get this, you liberal Katholycks – God will prune His tree just as St. Paul described in Romans 11. There ain’t no prosperity or defense government can give you to protect you against the wrath to come. That was the clear implication in Gospel reading in Matthew 12:38-42 from last Monday:

    Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus,
    “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”
    He said to them in reply,
    “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign,
    but no sign will be given it
    except the sign of Jonah the prophet.
    Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights,
    so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth
    three days and three nights.
    At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
    and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah;
    and there is something greater than Jonah here.
    At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation
    and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth
    to hear the wisdom of Solomon;
    and there is something greater than Solomon here.”

    How can these damn fools stand up behind the pulpit and read these words and NOT see God pointing His finger directly at them? Prosperity gospel my fat behind!

  5. Amen to all prior comments. And just for fun, note that either the original writers or the translators, or both, don’t know the difference between “exasperate” and “exacerbate.” 🙂

  6. Regarding “faith alone.” “Faith alone” can explain anybody’s continuing infatuation with socialism. “It never worked anywhere it was implemented. But, it will work here and now.”

    FYI: Everything in socialism is rationed except the zeros in the inflation index. Venezuela’s inflation rate may reach 1,000,000% in December 2018.

  7. Two of the dimmest bulbs at the Vatican are at it again”

    Ha! When I read this I knew this was gonna be a good one. Thanks for the chuckle.

  8. I don’t know, social or political commitment can procure prosperity. It seems to have worked well financially for the SPLC and many politicians.

Comments are closed.