Conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage is quoted by Newsmax (May 12) as calling on Pope Francis to begin the “legitimate” redistribution of wealth by monetizing the wealth of the Vatican and distributing the proceeds to the poor.
This rant was in response to the pope’s recent speech to the U.N. secretary-general and officials urging them to promote a “worldwide ethical mobilization” of solidarity with the world’s poor. The pope said that the U.N. should seek the “legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society” in order to achieve a more equitable distribution of wealth.
Savage then went on to describe U.S. taxation in relation to the poor as more than adequate, and called the pope “Karl Marx in a papal outfit.”
It seems there are two responses to Savage. First, he has a valid point about the Vatican setting the example of giving of its wealth to the poor. In modern parlance, it is important for those who talk the talk to also walk the walk. The fact is that the Vatican sits on untold wealth in the form of its priceless art and artifacts. No effort has ever been made to convert these treasures into currency. The basic reason is that no pope has ever felt free to disperse this wealth, which has been accumulating for 2,000 years. It has always been looked upon as sacred objects of past devotion by the donors.
This position should be reviewed for the purpose of setting rules that would allow the sale of at least some of the Vatican’s treasures. Many of these pieces are in storage, and have not been seen by anybody for centuries, if ever. It would seem that the greater good would be served by the sale of these items to care for the poor. Pope Francis, who has foregone the luxurious papal apartment for a simple monk’s cell, would seem to be disposed toward such a policy.
Michael Savage has a valid point in this regard.
The second consideration of Savage’s comments concerns the context from which Pope Francis speaks. He is from Argentina, not Palm Springs. The poor he is talking about are in the barrios of Latin America, the slums of Africa, the shantytowns of India and the Far East, and the refugee camps in the Middle East. These people live in conditions that are unimaginable to most Americans. Francis is a man of these poor, not the American poor, many of whom live in circumstances that would be considered as middle class or better in Third World countries. These are people who face starvation every day, water laden with disease, shelter that may blow away in the next storm, and clothes that are rags.
Full article: FEDEWA: Savage versus the pope (Washington Times)