The “prosperity gospel” that US President Donald Trump and many of his advisers and followers seem to espouse does not promote solidarity for the common good, but sees God as giving his blessings to the rich and punishing the poor, said an influential Jesuit journal.
The philosophy “is used as a theological justification for economic neo-liberalism” and is “a far cry from the positive and enlightening prophecy of the American dream that has inspired many,” said the article in La Civilta Cattolica, a journal reviewed at the Vatican before publication.
The article was written by the journal’s editor, Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, and by Marcelo Figueroa, an evangelical pastor, who is director of the Argentine edition of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.
In an email, Fr Spadaro described the article as “what I consider the second part of our article on the relationship between politics and fundamentalism in the United States.”
The controversial first article, published in July last year, was titled “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism: A Surprising Ecumenism” and examined what the authors saw as growing similarities in the rhetoric and worldviews adopted by some evangelical fundamentalists and some “militant” Catholic hardliners.
They decried what they saw as an “ecumenism of hate” resulting from the political alliance in the United States of Christian fundamentalists and Catholic “integralists.”
The article set off widespread debate, ranging from criticism that it was a superficial reading of the US reality from the outside to praise for shining a light on ways that some tenets of the Christian faith have been manipulated for political gain.
“One of the serious problems that the prosperity gospel brings is its perverse effect on the poor,” the authors wrote. The philosophy “not only exasperates individualism and knocks down the sense of solidarity, but it pushes people to adopt a miracle-centred outlook,” which allows them to wash their hands of the obligation to work for justice and accept sacrifices for the common good.
Full story at The Catholic Herald.