Building a Church for the Poor

October 21, 2013 Podcast

Bishop Robert W. McElroy talks about his article in America, "A Church for the Poor," which argues for a change in the Catholic political conversation in the United States.

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John Walton
7 years 3 months ago

Why are there poor in the US? According to economists of many political stripes, poverty is "mostly" a result of Inadequate education and single parent families. The Catholic Church as a social entity can tackle both of these. US poverty is not for want of government programs, and indeed, the opposite may be true.

Poverty outside the US? Where people are most poor there is a blatant disregard for property rights.

Fernando Diaz del Castillo Z.
7 years 3 months ago

Would you be so kind as to write down the interesting talk of Bishop McElroy? It is not always easy to understand the podcast. Thank you.

James Booth
7 years 3 months ago

I have reviewed the comments of Auxiliary Bishop McElroy. In particular I noticed his comments that “both abortion and poverty countenance the deaths of millions of children in a world where government action could end the slaughter.” And that Catholics should “demand that their government fund social justice programs in the United States and abroad.”

I am embarrassed at statements such as those of Auxiliary Bishop McElroy because they betray ignorance and stupidity about economics and political affairs. To people who are not Catholic, statements such as this cause the Church to lose credibility because people naturally infer that if a spokesperson of the Church is so naïve and ignorant in these matters, the Church must be so in other matters as well.

Empathy is not an excuse for stupidity.

In 1946 I was baptized into the Church at St. Philip Neri parish in north St. Louis. I attended Catholic elementary schools, Catholic high schools, and a Catholic university. For many years I have witnessed the Church decline in attendance, decline in vocations, and decline in credibility. In my opinion, the reason for this decline has been very poor Church leadership. Church leaders (including the Jesuits) have wanted to be politically “relevant.” They have wanted to have political influence. In pursuit of these objectives Church leaders have continually aligned themselves with politicians who have advocated the expansion of oppressive, corrupt, and incompetent government, and the murder of millions of innocent children. And by their complicity they have helped to foster the growth of poverty among many loyal Catholics and others.

The statements by McElroy are just more recent examples of this pattern. McElroy has a political agenda and is wrapping this in platitudes and pretending that his positions are endorsed by the Gospel. He is entitled to his opinion. He is not entitled, in his position as Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco, to imply to the public that those opinions are endorsed by the Gospel or ex cathedra positions of the Church. By wrapping his political opinions in Catholic teachings and presenting them to the teaching of the Church, he is doing the Church a great disservice.

Nowhere in his comments did I see a statement about the importance of a republican form of governments to restrain governments, to protect individual liberties, or to encourage economic prosperity. I did not see anything in his comments about the relation between limited government and the protection of the dignity of every individual person. I did not see anything about the relation between restraints on government, the encouragement of private enterprise, the growth of prosperity and human dignity, and the decline of poverty. What I did see in his comments were fairly typical vague platitudes about social justice that serve his radical political agenda. This was monumentally stupid.

I have never understood is why the Jesuits, who have long fancied themselves as champions of education, don’t learn economics before they express their opinions about economics.


James Booth (SLU: BA 1968, JD 1973)

ed gleason
7 years 1 month ago

@ James Booth... Bishop McElroy has a more impressive resume' than your St Louis area education you are posting. .. so for you to jump with ad hominum attacks weakens your rant. The bishop has long been known to be the smartest guy in the rooms in San Francisco and that's a lot more smarts than say ... St Louis.

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