Gospel of Prosperity or Poverty?- dr. james kottoor(Chicago)

James kottoor

US for victorious battle crown!

Church, Red Cross for the  dying

    dr. james kottoor(Chicago)          

The “Gospel of Prosperity, Poverty and cross” are in open conflict. So are those who want to be first to flaunt the trophy on the victory stand and those unconcerned about trophy. The Red-cross, picking up the fallen and dying in the battle field  find joy in giving joy  to the joyless and hope to the hopeless!

Both are racing to capture the crown of glory  — one flattering but  fleeting, the other painful, but comforting and comfort giving. This is the background against witch President Trump and Pope Francis stare at each other  eye-ball to eye-ball, but trying to sport a  smile for photo ops!


Trump = Constantine?

For an earlier article on the same topic see CCV July 15: ‘Stop fighting evil, be prodigal Fathers’. According to various sources which have been studying the mood of the present Evangelicals and a lot of Conservative Catholics in US, including some of the bishops, even cardinals like Raymond Burke,  they are dreaming of an Apocalyptic, theocratic state which will make America  really great and first in the world. Some of them even compare the victory of Trump to that of Constantine in the 3rd century, all providential and guided from above.

Trump has never spoken of his specific religious convictions but he often  resorted  to private religious prayer meetings in times of crisis and the Evangelicals give him full moral support on such occasions. But his concept of God’s kingdom is one that banishes through checks and “purifying deportations” all unholy, unacceptable elements like Muslims, terrorists and coloured migrants which tarnish a white American culture.

A corrective step

May be it is to correct and oppose this ungodly vision to which even a good section of the US Catholics who lend support, that Civita Catholica and its editors Antonio Spadaro and Marcelo Figueroa, widely known to be clear spokespersons for Francis have come out with a strong article against the on going propaganda and practice in US.

Francis’ vision of the church and the world is driven by  the urge of inclusion, integration, peace, encounter and bridges  welcoming all with open arms without screening walls and elimination process at entry points. For him, there is absolutely no substance in the thinking that US election was a spiritual war won thanks to the prayers and hard work of an ecumenism of “hatred” and fight against all evils, one comparable to the victory of Constantine for building  a new Holy Roman Empire. Francis could not have said all that. So his deputies in the Civita Catholica, are saying it for him.

Those who want to follow the Papal thinking can simply forget thinking of Trump’s triumph as a result of the spiritual fight put up by a militant church in a “divine election” in US which triumpted the “gospel of prosperity”. According to Civitas editors a “Triumphalist, arrogant and vindictive ethnicism is actually the opposite of Christianity.”             

Hence Francis’s is clearly and unequivocally a gospel of mercy, not prosperity and pleasure but of the cross,  and every one needs to take steps to heal the pinch of hunger for the poor, the marginalized and excluded so that no one dies of hunger. james kottoor, editor, ccv.

Please read below the report in the Guardian on Vatican’s attack on Trump’s Geopolitics

Pope Francis allies accuse Trump White House of 'apocalyptic geopolitics'

Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Vatican correspondent, in the Guardian, Friday 14 July 2017

Article vetted by the Vatican offers scathing critique of Steve Bannon, who is Catholic, the Trump White House and ‘evangelical fundamentalism’ in the US.

Pope Francis met with Donald Trump, Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump at the Vatican on 24 May 2017. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AFP/Getty Images

An explosive article written by two close associates of Pope Francis has accused StScreen Shot 2017-07-29 at 7.09.26 ameve Bannon, the chief White House strategist, of espousing an “apocalyptic geopolitics” whose roots are “not too far apart” from that of Islamist extremism.

The article in La Civiltà Cattolica, which is vetted by the Vatican before publication, lays out a scathing critique of “evangelical fundamentalism” in the US, arguing that, on issues ranging from climate change to “migrants and Muslims”, proponents of the ideology have adopted a twisted reading of scripture and the Old Testament that promotes conflict and war above all else.

The piece was published just days after evangelical leaders met US president Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House and “laid hands” on him in prayer following discussions about religious freedom, support for Israel and healthcare reform.

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Released photos show that Trump hosted a prayer circle with conservative evangelical leaders in the Oval Office earlier this week.

Evangelicals scratch Donald Trump's back – and he's returning the favor.Trump has never convincingly spoken of having religious faith, but won the overwhelming support of white evangelical Christians in the 2016 election.  Steve Bannon, a Catholic, is calling the shots in the White House. That's terrifying, according to Lawrence Douglas

Vatican experts said the article would have had the explicit backing of the church and Pope Francis. Its authors, Antonio Spadaro, the editor-in-chief of the publication, and Marcelo Figueroa, the editor-in-chief of the Argentinian edition of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, are known as confidantes of the Argentinian pope.

Bannon, the former editor of the rightwing Breitbart news website, is Catholic, and while he is only briefly mentioned in the article, the piece undoubtedly takes aim at the Trump White House.

It claims that fake religious arguments are being used to demonise segments of the population – particularly when it comes to migrants and Muslims – and to promote the US as a nation that is blessed by God, without ever taking into account the “bond between capital and profits and arms sales”.

 “In this Manichaean vision [where the world is divided between good and evil], belligerence can acquire a theological justification and there are pastors who seek a biblical foundation for it, using scriptural texts out of context,” the authors write. The article refers to the controversial evangelical theologist John Rushdoony as the father of today’s American Christian fundamentalism, and calls Bannon an exponent of this philosophy.

“Rushdoony’s doctrine maintains a theocratic necessity: submit the state to the Bible with a logic that is no different from the one that inspires Islamic fundamentalism. At heart, the narrative of terror shapes the worldviews of jihadists and the new crusaders and is imbibed from wells that are not too far apart,” the authors state. “We must not forget that the theopolitics spread by Isis is based on the same cult of an apocalypse that needs to be brought about as soon as possible.”

In contrast, Pope Francis – with his emphasis on the need to build bridges, not walls, and his adamant refusal to conflate Islam and Islamic terrorism – is attempting to counter this narrative of “fear”, the article says.One Catholic publication, Crux, called the article the “latest chapter in the tempestuous relationship between Francis and Trump”.

While the two leaders were seen as having a generally cordial – though somewhat joyless – meeting in May at the Vatican, the relationship suffered a significant setback following Trump’s decision to back out of the Paris climate accord just a week later. Argentinian bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, the head of the Vatican’s Academy of Sciences, called it a “slap in the face” to the Vatican.

Crux noted that La Civiltà Cattolica is reviewed by the Vatican’s secretary of state before publication, and that Spadaro has been “considered one of the foremost vehicles for understanding the views of the current pontificate”.

The article says that Christian fundamentalism and Old Testament appeals to the apocalypse have shown themselves “not to be the product of a religious experience but a poor and abusive perversion of it”.

“This is why Francis is carrying forward a systematic counter-narration with respect to the narrative of fear. There is a need to fight against the manipulation of this season of anxiety and fear.”

It also criticizes conservative American Catholics who have aligned themselves with fundamentalist Protestants on issues like same-sex marriage and abortion, saying that what really united the groups was a “nostalgic dream of a theocratic type of state”

Daniel José Camacho a columnist writes

Trump is relying on the enthusiastic support of evangelicals to keep him afloat. But conservative white evangelicals are a precarious firewall

Released photos show that Trump hosted a prayer circle with conservative evangelical leaders in the Oval Office earlier this week. It’s not surprising that Trump has turned to evangelicals in this moment. Throughout his campaign, he courted the evangelical vote. Even church choirs have sung a Make America Great Again hymn that Trump has re-shared on multiple occasions. Trump is relying on the enthusiastic support of evangelicals to keep him afloat.

I don’t know what evangelical leaders prayed for as they huddled around Trump in the Oval Office. What I do know is that the biblical prophets talk about God refusing the prayers and worship of corrupt leaders unless they “cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”

All four Gospel accounts describe a monumental event in the life of Jesus involving prayer and money. In this event, Jesus angrily lashes out at the religious establishment for mixing religion with greed. He overturns the tables of financiers in the temple and says God’s house “shall be called a house of prayer; but you are making it a den of robbers.”

For Bannon, America is engaged in a pitched struggle against threats from within and without. It is a battle that will last years, and requires iron resolve and steely determination.

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