Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation on the proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world, Evangelii Gaudium or “The Joy of the Gospel,” has many points that are relevant to the work of Marriage: Unique for a Reason. This series will explore some of these themes and apply Pope Francis’s words to the culture of marriage and family in the United States.
The Gospel and Finances
In chapter two of Evangelii Gaudium, the Holy Father comments on the crisis of communal commitment by going through a series of “No’s”: “No to an Economy of Exclusion,” “No to the New Idolatry of Money,” “No to a Financial System Which Rules Rather than Serves,” and finally, “No to the Inequality which Spawns Violence” (nos. 53-60).
All of these statements about money and its place in our lives have implications for marriage and the family. First, on the “economy of exclusion,” Pope Francis writes that by excluding certain persons or groups from access to social and economic opportunities, “we have created a ‘disposable’ culture which is now spreading” (no. 53). The first step in combatting a “disposable” culture must be to acknowledge that from the beginning to the end of life, each human being is precious and irreplaceable. The proper context for this is the family, where the child is first welcomed, and where, on the other end of earthly life, the elderly may be cared for.
Pope Francis notes that in the modern world “we have created new idols… man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption” (no. 55). The gap between the rich and the poor keeps widening and the “deified market” becomes “the only rule” (no. 56). The family can counter this trend by remaining as a place where human beings are clearly valued above financial gain or consumption.
A family who chooses and is able to receive the blessing of a large number of children, for example, gives up material comforts for the sake of human beings. Children can be taught to value their characters over their cash and to sacrifice for the sake of others.
“The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor” (no. 58). Families are called to foster generosity in their children: awareness of the privileges they have and the obligations such privileges entail. Parents must model respect for the poor and solicitude for those in need.
Parents are also called to educate their children about the larger systems that affect family life, and to help them develop compassion for the poor around the world in concrete ways. In many places evil is “embedded in the structures of society” (no. 59). Families cannot ignore the larger societal trends and policies that keep the poor poor and the rich rich. They must not be complacent about the desire for justice. Pope Francis’s words on the “economy of exclusion” have implications for every family
Thank you for reading the third post of our Evangelii Gaudium – Marriage and Family blog post series. We hope you enjoyed it. Please stay updated through our blog and social media sites for future blog post! Click on the image below to be directed to all published articles within the Evangelii Gaudium blog series.