I read an article over at an online magazine, and I commented. The tribe at the site had deemed a popular Catholic writer a heretic for declaring as excessive either dismissal of the value of the state in serving the poor, or the absolute virtue of the state in providing charity. They felt otherwise. They declared him the uncharitable heretic for pointing out that faith in the state created utopia is as heretical as putting full faith in the idea of sola rugged individual.
I found myself in agreement with the targeted scapegoat. The state may serve, but cannot fully substitute for the charity of the human person to human person. It may compliment, supplement and augment. I'm not sure what they wanted as an alternative, only that this writer humbly submit to their scorn, acknowledge their favored ideology as pure, himself to be a heretic and take the subsequent much deserved in their opinion, lumps.
I wondered, how spending mental and written energy ferreting out bloggers to take down, helped deal with the inequalities they felt this blogger failed to properly acknowledge by not agreeing with their non articulated orthodoxy. This was an echo chamber, deeply committed to reminding everyone, only to repeat the echo. Catholicism is not an echo chamber, it goes out, it goes into people's hearts, it imitates the universe, being universal, it ever expands.
6. So here's what I wrote:
The reality is that we must in our own lives, to a person, to a people, to the world, be charitable; the Calcuttas of our world, the poor are everywhere. They will always be with us, but that by no means eliminates the charge upon all of us who have, to be generous.
Government to the rescue! Taxes and state redistribution seems like an easy answer. But I'm then reminded of the words of Christmas Present, the stinging rebuke to my comfort, "Are there no work houses? Are there no prisons?"
Merely confiscating the wealth of those we don't know, to give benefits to people we don't know, brings us only irritation, envy, resentment and inefficiency. Only true generosity, rendering to the poor the good we have to share, will bring about the true spiritual benefits of charity.
7. I won't link to the place to give it traffic, since that is what the site wanted. Plus, I now have the hard consequence of having begun this thinking in the first place, it can't just stay words.
Here's what I didn't write on the site:
It is discomfiting and inconvenient to our sensibilities to recognize the world and our lives do not live out the faith we profess, not fully. Knowing this, we face two choices, prayer & service, serious study and sacrifice, a call to do something more than we are doing, starting with serious prayer for all those we scorn, or doubling down on what we already do, i.e. continuing to be as comfortable with our reasonable understandings of things, comfortable with our lives and sedated as possible in our current existence.
If we are honest, most of us hope we can eek out a last minute deal with the Almighty by being okay, gambling we can slip into purgatory because we weren't ax murderers who ate puppies and gouged customers with cheap imports made on the back of child labor while underpaying anyone we had to hire. We weren't cartoon villains and pure evil. We were comfortably bath water warm.
Except we aren't called to be good or to win, or to be right in the comboxes. We're called to be saints.
I'm so doomed.