Generosity Protects Conscience, Cardinal Says

Insists That It Staves Off Worship of Money

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 12, 2007 ( Generosity keeps the soul from praising the god of money, says the Vatican secretary of state.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said this at Mass on Thursday in St. Peter’s Basilica, attended by a group of pilgrims from the Coldiretti, an Italian federation of agriculturists.

The cardinal reflected on the parable of the beggar Lazarus and the rich man, which warns us of the risks of falling to the “praises of god-money.”

Attachment to riches “makes one’s conscience obtuse,” Cardinal Bertone cautioned. He said that the lure of the “god-money” can divide families and bruise feelings.

“The first to be its victim is God,” he added.

A sober life

The cardinal stated that there “is a value that may save the life of the poor and, together, that of the rich: solidarity that comes from a sober life and generates a sober life.”

“In the past, the poor who knocked on our doors were welcomed generously and unconditionally, breaking the bread with them,” the Vatican official recalled.

He continued: “This tradition was very strong and consolidated above all in the world of farmers.

“I come from a family of farmers and remember that our mother, on Sundays, even while having 14 mouths to feed, would send us to our neighbor Maria la Veneta, mother of 10 children, to bring her a large portion of food to share.”

“Solidarity in a Christian heart has always found thousands of ways in which to express itself,” he added. He recalled the many examples of founders of religious orders between the 18th and 19th centuries who gave life to hospitals, schools, and charitable works.

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