EG 55: Idolatry of Money

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdaleneJohn Donaghy has already alerted us to the use of the word “idolatry” in the English translation, and some questions about the Spanish fetichismo.

Perhaps a blending of the two is worth considering. Idolatry implies a religious worship. Fetish brings the suggestion of pleasure gotten from an addiction or compulsion. I think we can look at the people involved and ask two questions. Does this behavior suggest the worship of material wealth? Do we behold an enslavement in which the abuse of a substance has taken over human will?

Let’s read the section titled, “No to the new idolatry of money.”

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

Pope Francis seems to suggest mainly worship, but in bringing “consumption” into the conversation, I see the addiction. Quite often, powerful people crave more, and their great wealth and sometimes powerful talents are overcome by a senseless drive.

Read Evangelii Gaudium in full here.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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