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The Pope Speaks on AVARICE

(TAKEN FROM THE HOLY FATHER’S CATECHESIS ON VICES AND VIRTUES AT THE WEDNESDAY GENERAL AUDIENCE, STARTING IN DECEMBER, 2023.)

In our catechesis on the virtues and the vices, we now turn to greed, as an undue attachment to wealth, which hinders us from being generous with regard to others. Greed is not simply a selfish hoarding of money or material objects, but a distorted relationship with reality and even a form of enslavement.

The Desert Fathers saw greed as an attempt to avoid facing the reality of death, which is opposed to Jesus’ advice to accumulate treasures in heaven rather than earthly goods (cf. Mt 6:19-20).

As much as one can accumulate goods in this world, we can be absolutely sure of one thing: they will not enter the coffin with us. We cannot take property with us! Here, the senselessness of this vice is revealed.

We, brothers and sisters, may be the masters of the goods we possess, but often the opposite happens: they eventually take possession of us. Some rich men are no longer free, they no longer even have the time to rest, they have to look over their shoulder because the accumulation of goods also demands their safekeeping. They are always anxious, because a patrimony is built with a great deal of sweat, but can disappear in a moment. They forget the Gospel preaching, which does not claim that riches in themselves are a sin, but they are certainly a liability. May our use of the world’s goods always be marked by evangelical freedom, responsibility and a spirit of generous solidarity, in imitation of Christ himself, who, though he was rich, became poor for our sakes, so that by his poverty, we might become rich (cf. 2 Cor 8:9).