When Solidarity Goes Wrong
I must have grown up in strange times. In my time, alms to the poor and charitable donations were works of mercy to which the faithful were gently encouraged. In particular, the idea that specific, perfectly legitimate activities were targeted as something whose cost can be saved and “given to the poor instead” were the preserve of populists, but not of ordinary clergy (with some rare exception, like the infamous sale of the Papal Tiara “to give the proceeds to the poor”; but Paul VI did populism all right…).
In those days, every Italian family was visited by a priest two or three times a year, and even agnostics like my father never had any problem in giving generously, then Italy is a place where the role of the Church in helping the poor and keeping together the fabric of the country is (erm, was)…
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