Monday, November 15, 2010

Today's Excerpt from CST

From Rerum Novarum on riches and poverty:

"As for riches and the other things which men call good and desirable, whether we have them in abundance, or are lacking in them-so far as eternal happiness is concerned, it makes no difference; the only important thing is to use them aright."

“Therefore, those whom fortune favors are warned that riches do no bring freedom from sorrow and are of no avail for eternal happiness, but rather are obstacles. It is one thing to have a right to the possession of money and another to have a right to use money as one wills. Priavte ownership, as we have seen is the natural right of man, and to exercise that right, especially as members of society, is not only lawful, but absolutely necessary. 'It is lawful,' says St. Thomas Aquinas, 'for a man to hold priavte property; and it is also necessary for the carrying on of human existence, but Man should not consider his material possessions as his own, but as common to all, so as to share them without hesitation when others are in need."

"Whoever has received from the divine bounty a large share of temporal blessings, whether they be external and material, or gifts of the mind, has received them for the purpose of using them for the perfecting of his own nature, and, at the same time, that he may employ them, as the steward of God's providence, for the benefit of others."

“As for those who posses not the gifts of fortune, they are taught by the Church that in God’s sight poverty is no disgrace, and that there is nothing to be ashamed of in earning their bread by labor. It is more easy to understand that the true worth of nobility of man lie in his moral qualities, that is, in virtue; that virtue is, moreover, the common inheritance of men, equally within the reach of high and low, rich and poor; and that virtue, and virtue alone, wherever found will be followed by the rewards of everlasting happiness."

--Pope Leo XII, pp. 21-24

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