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Friday, 17 May 2013

Catholic challenge to Pentecostalism and evangelical Christianity : Pope Francis urges global leaders to end 'tyranny' of money



Unlike the Pentecostal prosperity  word of Faith movement that ridicules the poor and promotes capitalism, the catholic church through Pope Francis has launched an attack on Pentecostalism  by talking the side of  the poor while vehemently attacking capitalism. Many Pentecostal preachers here in Uganda are stealthily preaching that it is very difficult for a poor person to go to heaven.
 This is contrary to what the lord Jesus Christ preached. Pentecostal preachers here in Uganda are preaching that salvation is a whole package that includes being saved from sin, being saved from poverty, being saved from sickness, your marriage being saved, your wallet  being saved, your business being saved etc. This simply means that poor people who were  only saved from sin are simply half saved. Some Pentecostal pastors here in Africa ask for money in exchange for prayers. This simply means that the poor who can not afford will not be prayed for. One pastor one time bragged that he will enter heaven riding in his Mercedes Benz. Avanvini a popular American pastor once said that it is a sin to be poor when God promises prosperity. A number of pastors in Africa are telling the poor to break the curse and demon of poverty in their lives. There is no preaching on the curse of covetousness and the demon of mammon.  

The Jesus of the bible categorically  attacked the rich by saying ‘’But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation(Luke 6:24)’’. He also said that, ‘’ I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God( Matthew 19:24)’’. Neo-liberal capitalistic Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity has created a dissimulated Jesus that is aimed at fighting the Jesus of the bible. Unlike the biblical Jesus, the Neo-liberal capitalistic Pentecostal and charismatic Jesus says, ‘’WOE TO YOU WHO ARE POOR’’, It is difficult for a POOR MAN to enter heaven’’. According to this dissimulated Jesus, the rich are rich because, they are knowledgeable of the ‘fact’ that one can use the faith inside him to speak wealth and prosperity into being . On the other hand the poor are poor because they are ignorant of the ‘fact’  that they can use the faith inside them to create prosperity. Similarly the poor are sick because they have not utilized this power inside them to create health. This dissimulation is intended to disguise the structural injustices of neo-liberal capitalism. Precisely, many  poor are poor not because of the structural poverty created by neo-liberal capitalistic polices but because of their own lack of faith. It must be noted that; TBN and LTV in Uganda  aim at inculcating this dissimulated capitalist Jesus. Preachers of this capitalistic Jesus have robed the poor through seed faith, paid healing and the like. Many have private jets, billion dollar mansions among other wealth. No wonder Karl Marx said: 

"I deeply admire and respect Jesus; but I hate most of those who claim to be His followers. [He was speaking of the rich aristocracies and self-satisfied bourgeoisie that used Christianity to control the poor."]

This dissimulation is so powerful that the poor finance and support it thinking they are excising their freedom of religion. Kato Mivule argues that : 
Recently, a number of protests dubbed “Occupy Wall Street”, have taken place in the USA , centered around issues of increasing poverty, lack of jobs, increasing disparity between the poor and rich, the unfair tax burden that seems to let the rich walk away without paying their dues in taxes, and excessive greed and capitalism among big financial institutions in the USA. The protests that begun in New York City have not only spread around the USA but also in many other capitals around the world. While there is no central theme in the message conveyed by the protestors, the core content seems to be  against excessive greed and injustice towards the poor. However, of lately some evangelical leaders have come out openly and condemned the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, calling it among other things “socialists”, “evil”, “mobs”, “anarchists”, “neo-1960's hippies”, and “rebels”. Some of the evangelical leaders have gone to length in warning their members not to participate in the protests, noting that the occupy wall street protestors are simply “jealous” of the rich and with a socialist agenda to take over the USA.  Some Christian leaders claim that any Christian who joins in protesting or voicing against the injustices done to the poor, is engaging in “Liberation Theology”, a clever term re-coined by some evangelicals leaders as a slur against anyone who raises their voice to speak out for the poor and the injustices done against them. The roots of Liberation Theology begun by a Roman Catholic in the 1950s, actually by Priests protesting the injustices done against the poor by the Catholic Church itself. The Roman Catholic Church then outlawed some of teachings of Liberation Theology inside the Catholic Church. However, in the 1960's, the civil rights movement in the USA included voicing against injustices done to the poor among the message of racial equality; black Christian churches and other Christian denominations took on this message. On seeing this, some wealthy white evangelical leaders were quick to condemn the outcry as a “socialist Marxist movement”, and a “Black Liberation Theology” movement. Some of the rich white evangelical leaders taught that black Christian leaders who voiced against black social injustices, like racism and  poverty were teaching “Black Liberation Theology”, a “doctrine of devils”. This was done in part as a way to silence any Christian who voiced for the poor, from offending the wealthy capitalists who by large bankrolled most of the wealthy white evangelical churches and projects.

In 2001, Pope Francis, as Cardinal of Buenos Aires, he visited an Argentinian hospice to kiss and wash the feet of AIDS patients

Pope Francis urges global leaders to end 'tyranny' of money

Pope Francis has attacked the “dictatorship” of the global financial system and warned that the “cult of money” was making life a misery for millions.

3:25PM BST 16 May 2013

He said free-market capitalism had created a “tyranny” and that human beings were being judged purely by their ability to consume goods.

Money should be made to “serve” people, not to “rule” them, he said, calling for a more ethical financial system and curbs on financial speculation.

Countries should impose more control over their economies and not allow “absolute autonomy”, in order to provide “for the common good”.

The gap between rich and poor was growing and the “joy of life” was diminishing in many developed countries, the Argentinian Pope said, two months after he was elected as the successor to Benedict XVI.

“While the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling,” said Francis, who as archbishop of Buenos Aires visited slums, opted to live in a modest flat rather than an opulent Church residence and went to work by bus.

In poorer countries, people’s lives were becoming “undignified” and marked by violence and desperation, he said.

Francis made the strongly-worded remarks in his first major speech on finance and the economy, during an address to foreign ambassadors in the Vatican.

It underlined a reputation he has established in the last two months for showing deep concern for the plight of the poor and vulnerable.

“The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly human goal,” Francis told the ambassadors.

As the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Argentina, he often spoke out about the plight of the poor during the country’s economic crisis.

Unchecked capitalism had created “a new, invisible, and at times virtual, tyranny”, said the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.

“The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but the Pope has the duty, in Christ’s name, to remind the rich to help the poor, to respect them, to promote them,” he said.

Francis will make the first foreign trip of his papacy to Brazil in July, during which he will visit a slum in Rio de Janeiro and meet young prison inmates.

He will attend World Youth Day, a week-long event which is expected to attract more than two million people.