Opinion
Featured Image
 Shutterstock.com

NAPLES, FL (LifeSiteNews) — Material charity, the giving of goods or money, is one of the ways we respond to the scriptural injunction to show concern for our neighbor, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

This is why the Church has, from its beginning, conducted a variety of organized efforts to assist the poor. Early on, food was distributed, hospitals and orphanages were established. The Acts of the Apostles records how deacons were appointed to care for poor widows and their children.

In fact, during most of history, from Gospel times on, the Church has been the primary provider of aid. While it’s true that the ancient Romans engaged in bread distribution, it’s only with the rise of modern nation states that we’ve seen the development of elaborate “public assistance” or “welfare” programs.

Today, governments are the principal distributors of aid under the heading of “social services.” Consequently, within the Christian community there has been a shift of emphasis in benevolent works. Certainly, large Church-related charities still operate. But increasingly they concentrate on lobbying, trying to get governments to focus on certain identified problems. Many even act as conduits through which public funds flow.

The concept of “charity” has come to be associated mostly with individual giving. Meanwhile, the “social services” label has expanded well beyond basic life necessities and meeting immediate medical needs to include all sorts of activities we wouldn’t have considered particularly charitable in the past.

Such things as educational assistance and non-essential health-related amenities are now provided by permanent government agencies. The definition of “social services” was stretched to a humorous extreme several years ago, when government started giving cell phones to welfare recipients: the much-joked about “Obama Phones.”

All of this has sown confusion about participating in charity. Many people assume that they are being charitable themselves if they agree with the intent of government social service programs, and vote for politicians who advocate them — that they are, in essence, being good Christians.

— Article continues below Petition —
PETITION: Pope Francis MUST clarify what he told pro-abortion Joe Biden about Holy Communion
  Show Petition Text
25274 have signed the petition.
Let's get to 30000!
Thank you for signing this petition!
Add your signature:
  Show Petition Text
Keep me updated via email on this petition and related issues.
Keep me updated via email on this petition and related issues.

UPDATE 10/29/2021:

Joe Biden claims Pope Francis said he should continue receiving Holy Communion, despite the president's radical, anti-Catholic support for abortion. Biden asserted that the pontiff “was happy I’m a good Catholic,” and that the president should “keep receiving Communion.”

Please SIGN this urgent petition to Pope Francis urging him to clarify what he told Biden at his private audience in Rome. Biden should be facing formal excommunication because of his public and obstinate promotion of abortion, but instead we have the perverse situation in which he claims to have the blessing of the pope to sacrilegiously receive Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. Pope Francis must clarify what exactly was said in order to avoid scandal and being complicit in such grave sin. If Joe Biden wishes to return to communion with the Church he must immediately and publicly stop and repent from his active support of the culture of death.

To ensure that this petition reaches Pope Francis, it will also be CC'ed to the Papal Nuncio of the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, as well as to the Chairman of the Pro-Life Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Joseph Naumann.

Indeed, Joe Biden recently proposed a budget which would eliminate the Hyde Amendment, potentially allowing billions of taxpayer dollars to go to the funding of abortion domestically.

So, it is now an indisputable fact that Joe Biden, himself, is forcing abortion on the American public as well as around the world (e.g., Biden's executive order abolishing the Mexico City Policy).

However, since we know that the Church prioritizes abortion as the "pre-eminent" moral issue, and also how the pope has recently reiterated the teaching that abortion is "homicide," we ask the Pope to ensure that Biden's scandalous claim be clarified and his support for abortion be condemned.

This is the prime opportunity for the pope to make it crystal clear to Biden: Promoting abortion is absolutely and utterly incompatible with being in communion with the Church, and that those politicians who publicly and obstinately support abortion effectively put themselves outside communion with the Church, but also merit formal excommunication.

Joe Biden's active and concentrated promotion of abortion since he took office only 9 months ago is a grave scandal to the faithful of the United States, and to Catholics everywhere.

But, perhaps even more scandalous is the USCCB's decision not to directly and publicly address how Biden's radical, public promotion of abortion affects his standing in the Church.

The silence from our American shepherds is deafening.

Therefore, Pope Francis must now intervene to protect both the Holy Eucharist and our preborn brothers and sisters from death, to protect authentic Church teaching from deceitful "Catholics" like Joe Biden, and to protect the faithful from the grievous scandal caused by Biden's claims, action and the intolerable dithering and "dialoging" engaged in by the USCCB.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

'Biden will meet with Pope Francis to discuss ‘human dignity,’ but abortion left off agenda'

'Biden restores foreign aid to abortion by repealing Mexico City Policy'

'Removing the Hyde Amendment in Biden’s proposed budget will set a precedent'

ORIGINAL PETITION:

Joe Biden is scheduled to meet Pope Francis in Rome in a rapidly approaching audience on October 29th.

Please SIGN this urgent petition to Pope Francis urging him to tell Biden that he will face formal excommunication because of his public and obstinate promotion of abortion, and that if he wishes to return to communion with the Church he must immediately and publicly stop and repent from his active support of the culture of death.

To ensure that this petition reaches Pope Francis, it will also be CC'ed to the Papal Nuncio of the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, as well as to the Chairman of the Pro-Life Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Joseph Naumann.

Indeed, Joe Biden recently proposed a budget which would eliminate the Hyde Amendment, potentially allowing billions of taxpayer dollars to go to the funding of abortion domestically.

So, it is now an indisputable fact that Joe Biden, himself, is forcing abortion on the American public as well as around the world (e.g., Biden's executive order abolishing the Mexico City Policy).

But, reports suggest that the pope and Biden are only supposed to speak about COVID and climate change...

However, since we know that the Church prioritizes abortion as the "pre-eminent" moral issue, and also how the pope has recently reiterated the teaching that abortion is "homicide," we ask the Pope to ensure that Biden's scandalous support of abortion become the central focus of their meeting.

This is the prime opportunity for the pope to make it crystal clear to Biden: Promoting abortion is absolutely and utterly incompatible with being in communion with the Church, and that those politicians who publicly and obstinately support abortion effectively put themselves outside communion with the Church, but also merit formal excommunication.

Joe Biden's active and concentrated promotion of abortion since he took office only 9 months ago is a grave scandal to the faithful of the United States, and to Catholics everywhere.

But, perhaps even more scandalous is the USCCB's decision not to directly and publicly address how Biden's radical, public promotion of abortion affects his standing in the Church.

The silence from our American shepherds is deafening.

Therefore, Pope Francis must now intervene to protect our preborn brothers and sisters from death, to protect authentic Church teaching from deceitful "Catholics" like Joe Biden, and to protect the faithful from the grievous scandal caused by Biden's action and the intolerable dithering and "dialoging" engaged in by the USCCB.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

'Biden will meet with Pope Francis to discuss ‘human dignity,’ but abortion left off agenda' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/biden-will-meet-with-pope-francis-to-discuss-human-dignity-abortion-left-off-agenda/

'Biden restores foreign aid to abortion by repealing Mexico City Policy' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/biden-restores-foreign-aid-to-abortion-with-repeal-of-mexico-city-policy/

'Removing the Hyde Amendment in Biden’s proposed budget will set a precedent' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/removing-the-hyde-amendment-in-bidens-proposed-budget-will-set-a-precedent/

**Photo Credit: CBSN / YouTube

  Hide Petition Text

It would be more accurate to say that they are being good Socialists. The Christian obligation of charity is personal. You’ve got to have some “skin in the game,” giving out of your own resources. Assenting to government largesse that’s based on tax money collected through legal compulsion may suit your ideological convictions, but it isn’t charity.

If this compulsory “giving” were charity, it would raise serious questions of fairness. Some 61 percent of people in this country pay no federal income tax, after all, while (as Mitt Romney pointed out amid much controversy a few elections back) about 47 percent receive some form of government assistance.

In addition, tax laws permit deducting (or “writing off”) at least a portion of charitable donations from your taxes. By claiming these deductions, you’re minimizing the amount of skin you have in the game. You’re giving “charity” to yourself, as it were.

Now, you could, of course, give the money you save on your taxes to the poor. That would be living the Gospel. But how many people do it?

The confusion over charity increases as the number of concerns covered by the “social services” label multiplies — these days even touching such issues as the social impact of climate change. The problem is exacerbated by high-minded moral pronouncements from religious leaders who drape government policy in the mantle of conscience, blurring the line between politics and faith.

Working to reduce carbon emissions may indeed be worthwhile, but it too is not charity.

Government assistance tends to undermine the charitable impulse. People ask, “Why must I give when I’m already supporting these programs with my taxes?”

That’s a valid question, and yet our duty to help those in need remains. Christ has set this claim upon us as believers.

So, what constitutes charity today?

Perhaps the challenge we face now is to figure out how to meet the Christian charitable obligation when so many paths of giving have been usurped by government. It may be that charity lies in being more focused with our giving, making efforts to seek out those philanthropic works that can’t be subsidized by public funds, and finding creative ways to help the poor with our time rather than with our money.

As Jesus said, “When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat (Mt. 25).” That’s a human response. That’s loving your neighbor.

This essay is based on a homily delivered by Fr. Orsi.  A priest of the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, Rev. Michael P. Orsi currently serves as parochial vicar at St. Agnes Parish in Naples, Florida. He is host of “Action for Life TV,” a weekly cable television series devoted to pro-life issues, and his writings appear in numerous publications and online journals. His TV show episodes can be viewed online here.

Comments

Commenting Guidelines

LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.