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A Biased Charity in the Denver Archdiocese

Patrick O’Brien

One tendency that marks a false "liberal" attitude toward the world is that of seeing the other, the strange, the different, the clearly wrong, and the enemy through rose-colored glasses. And so the Conciliar Church seems not to fail in seeing the virtues, the greatness of false religions, and is always speaking of Islam or Buddhism or whatever with "esteem and respect."

The same tendency operates on a very local level. The Archdiocese of Denver in its concern for the homeless has placed at least two billboard ads around town showing a wretched-looking homeless man with the caption: "These are the people that God loves the best." And in the back of the downtown Church of the Holy Ghost (probably the best Novus Ordo church in the Archdiocese) there are contribution envelopes showing the same poor man, with the same caption.

A homeless man

'"These are the people that God loves the best'
I work in downtown Denver and see and know very many homeless people, mostly men. Without universally disparaging any programs to help the homeless, to call a man who is addicted to alcohol or drugs, who has abandoned marriage and family responsibilities, who has lost virtually all integrity, who lives in almost certainly habitual mortal sin... to call that man a person "that God loves best," is to invert the order of morality. TIA would call this attitude miserablist - from miserable, miserablism, miserablist. God, sin, repentance, Heaven is not the issue.

In my mind I compare such a homeless one to my wife, who lives in the state of grace, is always helping some old person with daily needs, has raised five fine children, is the solid shoulder for others to lean on, attends Mass several times a weak - an exemplary Catholic. But God loves the wretched man in mortal sin more!? Quoting St. Teresa of Avila, St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote: "God has greater love for one soul that aspires to perfection than for a thousand others that are in the state of grace, but are tepid and imperfect." Compare that to the mentality of the Archdiocese of Denver. And hey, if you want God to love you more, just give yourself to a riotous lifestyle.

And I think of a good friend of mine, struggling to pay his bills with six children, unable to afford the school tuition of the near-by Catholic school (staffed by good nuns!) He wonders why the Diocese makes a cause celebré of men who have lost integrity, respect, any real religious faith. Help the homeless, but seemingly forget about the fine Catholic and his children. (Has the Archdiocese forgotten such as this man, when Catholic grammar school tuition approaches $3,000 per child? And that is no fault of the authorities here, but is an indicator of a world very out of balance.)

Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, all wonderful... and then pretend they are the beloved of God and act as if there is no such thing as mortal sin. Please God some are saved... (and none of us can be certain of ourselves.)

I met a homeless man a few months ago who attends daily Mass at that same Holy Ghost Church, says the rosary, reads the Bible, appears to have no addictions. Thank God for that one. And I know that much of homelessness is connected with severe psychological problems, terrible upbringing, etc. - I do not diminish very real contributing causes beyond the control of this or that homeless person.

Drugs paraphernalia left by the homeless

Drug paraphernalia left in a city park by the homeless
But in general, almost always the life of the homeless is a sink of immorality. What father when his son asks for a loaf of bread, will give him a stone? Yes. But what father, when he sees his son lost in sin, will ignore the sin and simply hand him a loaf of bread?

Several years ago I went twice a month to the Denver County Jail with one of the best priests in this Archdiocese. In his sermons in the jail "chapel," Fr. R. always spoke about habitual sexual sins, about responsibilities, about alcohol. He knew what the real problem with the inmates was. And believe me, these same inmates are released from jail to a life of homelessness.

In one of my visits I met an inmate who had been quite successful in life until he discovered cocaine. He then lost his wife, his family, his job, his housing, committed a crime or two, and ended up in the Denver County Jail. But when I met him, he was elated. Why? He had been to Confession to that same fine priest the week before. But alas, according to billboards funded by this Archdiocese, at that point he was no longer among those whom God loved best.

Posted June 1, 2011

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