Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wealthy Pope Sympathizes with the Poor

Pope: Christmas Will Be Tough This Year

Published December 11, 2011
| Associated Press
Pope Benedict XVI says he knows Christmas this year will be difficult, in an acknowledgement of the economic crisis gripping much of the West. But he is urging the faithful to remember there's more to the holiday than gift-buying. Benedict spoke Sunday while visiting a parish in a working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of Rome. Italians are facing new and higher taxes as the country struggles with a government debt crisis.

The pope told parishioners he knows that Christmas will be "very difficult," but that he wanted to wish all a happy holiday. 

The Practical Buddhist Responds

Dear Holy Father:

First, I must say I love your outfit. The purple silk makes a lovely contrast with the gold, and if I'm not mistaken, that pallium is new. 

And thank you for reminding us that things are tough and that we shouldn't think so much about gift giving. Actually, until you taught me this, I was obsessing about having a private jet at my disposal and living in a palace surrounded my my minions -- like Your Holiness. 

I can't feed my kids, and I can't find a job due to corporate greed, but knowing you know it's "difficult" makes everything OK.

Holy Father, I don't know if they read Dickens in Bavaria, but there's a story about a mean old man who acknowledged that Christmas was "difficult" for the poor.  He was visited by a series of angel-equivalents who scared him into awareness. Next day he started giving away his stuff. To the poor. 

Maybe this year the angels will visit you. Maybe you'll start giving away a little of your stuff. Maybe you'll even use what moral authority you have left to speak for the poor rather than  just telling them you feel their pain.