Pope Benedict XVI’s Clear Answer to the Eternal Plagues of Avarice and Luxury, by Donald DeMarco

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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI lighting the Pascal Candle at the Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on Saturday, April 7, 2012. (photo: Vatican Media)

COMMENTARY: Caritas in Veritate is both timely and deeply meaningful. Truth is what gives value and meaning to charity.

By Donald DeMarco, National Catholic Register, August 10, 2021


Donald DeMarco“The state is suffering from two opposite vices, avarice and luxury; two plagues which, in the past, have been the ruin of every great empire.”

This quotation has a timeless ring to it. Its author could very well have been Arnold Toynbee, Christopher Dawson, Thomas Sowell, Romano Guardini or any number of social observers who have witnessed these plagues that are currently ravaging America. The quotations, however, belongs to Titus Livius (Anglicized as “Livy”), the Roman historian who wrote these words more than 2,000 years ago.

Luxury and avarice (also known as greed) are riveted to the human condition. The gap between the “haves” who need to protect their wealth, and the “have-nots” who envy the “haves,” has been a perennial problem throughout the world. This problem may be more acute than it has ever been, especially in the United States. Do we admire or do we envy the ultra-rich? A brief survey of celebrity homes raises the question, “How much luxury does a person need? Just to name three notable examples: …