In my 1970’s seminary, we were taught that Vatican II demanded a preferential option for the poor and that the Church most go to the poor and others on the margin of society with the Good News, that in their poverty they were blessed. And by way of extension, the Church would be blessed by being poor.
Thus, the Church taught us would-be priests to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.
Well, afflicting the comfortable will only go so far until they are pushed to the margins and fed up with being afflicted by those in the Church they stop practicing the faith and become nones.
And the poor, fed up with the paternalism of the Church, which tells them they can’t help themselves so let us do everything for you and keep you subservient in your poverty, they too get fed up and become nones or only come to the Church for a handout not a change of life by God’s grace!
And the rich and not so rich fed up with being afflicted for what they have stop giving to the Church and the poor suffer as programs must be cut.
It is no secret that Pope Francis’ desire for a poor church and afflicting the comfortable has backfired. Those most generous to the Vatican and supporting papal efforts directly with their money have been the rich in the Church, most of whom are conservative and traditional. But Pope Francis has bitten the hand that feeds the Vatican so much by afflicting them with name calling, pop psychology diagnosis, and marginalizing those who don’t agree with the heterodox direction the pope seems to be leading everyone, that they have stopped giving and now the Vatican is in a financial crisis, not just from their own financial corruption and ineptness but because the rich are no longer giving because they are alienated by this pope.
This is from the Pillar as it concerns Pope Francis’ desire to charge market price to Cardinal Burke for his place of residence. (You would think the pope would offer him a room next to his at the Vatican Motel Six!)
From the Pillar:
In March, the Vatican announced that it would end its customary practice of providing free or subsidized accommodations in Vatican-owned properties to cardinals, prefects of dicasteries, presidents of Vatican bodies, as well as senior curial staffers, in light of the Vatican's economic crisis.
The obvious question that must be asked is, who in the past ten years has exacerbated the financial crisis of the Church by alienating Americans, rich as well as poor Americans (and other nationalities) who have always been generous to Peter's Pence and other needs of the Holy Father? Just who might that be?