All talk

Though we might exempt poets and philosophers, what people do is usually more important than what they say. Though sometimes, even among the unpoetical and unphilosophical, speech can be a crude action; or actionable, depending on the angle. One must consider these things case by case.

Sandro Magister gave examples yesterday (here). I had noticed over the past three years that the rhetoric of “a Church that is poor and for the poor” rings hollow. Reading Laudato Sí, I sometimes thought it meant, “a Church of the Left and for the Left.” Posturing on behalf of “the poor,” while doing photo-ops with their more fashionable “oppressors,” is among the many things Christ avoided. He was under watch as a revolutionist in Roman Palestine, not least by co-religionists; but the charge was false.

He neither proposed demagogic “reforms,” nor schmoozed with the rich and famous. So much was He not a politician, He could say, “They have their reward.” He addressed explicitly “the poor in spirit” — distinguishing thereby from the poor in cash.

When it came to His Crucifixion, He found no special interests on His side; only a few disciples who, in the main, thought it safer to pretend that they didn’t know Him.

There is no class formula in the Christian religion. In its (par excellence) Catholic form, we have endured many political operators. But too, “we” (the historical “we,” the “we” of two thousand years) have invariably returned to our origins in which, “There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither bond nor free; there is neither male nor female.” There is the soul in the confessional; there is the soul who kneels anxiously at the railing. There is a “preferential option” for unfeigned holiness.

Always, this is true, but especially on the verge of the holiest weeks in the Christian calendar, when we recall what Christ did to save us, transcending pain and death. For we will not be living in this world forever.

At a time when this world is (characteristically) going to Hell, I think it is best to ignore the politicians of church and state, and focus instead on the foundational simplicity. Christ instituted His Church that we might belong to no earthly cause, rather, immortally to Him.