St. AthanasiusTraditional Values

A Vision:

"I will take delight in Jerusalem and rejoice in my people; weeping and cries for help shall never again be heard in her . . . Men shall build houses and live to inhabit them, plant vineyards and eat their fruit; they shall not build for others to inhabit nor plant for others to eat. My people shall live the long life of a tree, and my chosen shall enjoy the fruit of their labor. They shall not toil in vain or raise children for misfortune. . . They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, says the Lord." -- Isaiah 65: 19, 21-23, 25

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A Memo to Congress:

"Shame on you! you who make unjust laws and publish burdensome decrees, depriving the poor of justice, robbing the weakest of my people of their rights, despoiling the widow and plundering the orphan. What will you do when called to account, when ruin from afar confronts you? To whom will you flee for help?" -- Isaiah 10:1-3


The Curse of Sodom:

"This was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride of wealth and food in plenty, comfort and ease, and yet she never helped the poor and the wretched." -- Ezekiel 16:49

The Judgment of the Nations:

[Pantocrator]"Then the king will say to those on his right hand, 'You have my father's blessing; come, enter and possess the kingdom that has been made ready for you since the world was made. For when I was hungry, you gave me food; when thirsty, you gave me drink; when I was a stranger you took me into your home, when naked you clothed me; when I was ill you came to my help, when in prison you visited me.' Then the righteous will reply, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and fed you, or thirsty and gave you drink, a stranger and took you home, or naked and clothed you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and come to visit you?' And the king will answer, 'I tell you this: anything you did for one of my brothers [or sisters] here, however humble, you did for me.' Then he will say to those on his left hand, 'The curse is upon you; go from my sight into the eternal fire that is ready for the devil and his angels. For when I was hungry you gave me nothing to eat, when thirsty nothing to drink; when I was a stranger you gave me no home, when I was naked you did not clothe me; when I was ill and in prison you did not come to my help.' And they too will reply, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and did nothing for you?' And he will answer, 'I tell you this: anything you did not do for one of these, however humble, you did not do for me.' " -- Matthew 25:34-45

St. John Chrysostom on true Christianity (4th Century):

"This is the rule of the most perfect Christianity, its most exact definition, its highest point, namely, the seeking of the common good . . . for nothing can so make a person an imitator of Christ as caring for his neighbors."

How to Spot a Heretic: St. Ignatius (2d Century):

"Observe those who are heterodox concerning Christ Jesus' grace, which came to us, how contrary they are to God's will. They have no regard for a love feast, none for the widow or the orphan, the oppressed, the bound, the freed, the hungry, or the thirsty . . . they exhibit enmity and deceit in their dealings with one another. They have no regard for love; they despise the good things we expect hereafter; they regard present things as if they were durable; they ridicule him that is in affliction; they laugh at him that is in bonds."

St. John Chrysostom:

"The desire to rule is the mother of all heresies."

St. Catherine of Siena (14th Century):

"Our every principle and foundation is in the love of God and our neighbor alone; all our other activities are instruments and buildings placed on this foundation. Therefore thou shouldst not, for pleasure in the instrument or the building, desert the principal foundation in the honour of God and the love of our neighbor."

Lactantius on equality (3rd Century):

"God who creates and gives life to all human beings wants them to be equal. He put us all into the same condition of life; he made us capable of wisdom; he promised immortality to all; he excluded no one from the heavenly benefits . . . With him no one is master, no one is slave. For if he is the same father to all, we are all free by equal right."


St. Basil on the profit motive (4th Century):

"While we try to amass wealth, make piles of money, get hold of the land as our real property, overtop one another in riches, we have palpably cast off justice, and lost the common good. I should like to know how any man can be just, who is deliberately aiming to get out of someone else what he wants for himself."


St. Ambrose on private property (4th Century):

"How far will your mad lusts take you, ye rich people, till you dwell alone on the earth? Why do you at once turn nature out of doors, and claim the possession of her for your own selves? The land was made for all; why do you rich men claim it as your private property?"

"Nature produced common property.
Robbery made private property."

Privatization? - St. Gregory Nazianzen (4th Century):

"Be ashamed, you who hold back what belongs to another, take as an example the justice of God, and no one will be poor. While others suffer poverty, let us not labour to hoard and pile up money. . . Let us imitate the first and most important law of God who sends his rain on the just and on sinners and makes the sun shine on all men equally. God opens up the earth, the springs, the streams and the woods to all who live in the world. He gives the air to the birds, the water to the fish, and the basic needs of life abundantly to all, without restriction or limitation or preference. These basic goods are common to all, provided by God generously and with nothing lacking. He has done this so that creatures of the same nature may receive equal gifts and that he may show us how rich is his kindness."

From the Private Prayer Book of Elizabeth I (1578):

"Thou, O Lord, providest enough for all men, with Thy most liberal and bountiful hand; but whereas Thy gifts are, in respect of Thy goodness and free favour, made common to all men we (through our naughtiness, niggardness and distrust) do make them private and peculiar. Correct Thou the thing which our iniquity hath put out of order: let Thy goodness supply that which our niggardliness hath plukt away."

St. John Chrysostom -- 'mine' and 'thine':

"It is not for lack of miracles that the church is stagnant; it is because we have forsaken the angelic life of Pentecost, and fallen back on private property. If we lived as they did, with all things common, we should soon convert the whole world without any need of miracles at all."

"For 'mine' and 'thine' -- those chilly words which introduce innumerable wars into the world -- should be eliminated from that holy Church . . .The poor would not envy the rich because there would be no rich. Neither would the poor be despised by the rich, for there would be no poor. All things would be in common."

See also: The Patriarch's Proposal

Saint Gertrude:

"Property, the more common it is, the more holy it is."

Cyprian of Carthage on war (3rd Century):

"The world is going mad in mutual bloodshed. And murder, which is considered a crime when people commit it singly, is transformed into a virtue when they do it en masse. The offenders acquire impunity by increasing their ravaging."

Arnobius (3rd Century):

"Did [Christ] ever, in claiming for Himself power as king, fill the whole world with bands of the fiercest soldiers; and of nations at peace from the beginning, did He destroy and put an end to some, and compel others to submit to His yoke and serve Him? Did He ever, excited by grasping avarice, claim as His own by right all that wealth to have abundance of which men strive eagerly?"

And from Origen (3rd Century):

"We will not raise arms against any other nation, we will not practice the art of war, because through Jesus Christ we have become the children of peace."

Tertullian on the Crown of a Soldier:

" Is the laurel of the triumph made of leaves, or of corpses? Is it adorned with ribbons, or with tombs? Is it bedewed with ointments, or with the tears of wives and mothers? It may be of some Christians too; for Christ is also among the barbarians. Has not he who has carried (a crown for) this cause on his head, fought even against himself? "

St. Martin of Tours:

"Hitherto I have served you as a soldier: allow me now to become a soldier to God . . . I am the soldier of Christ: it is not lawful for me to fight."

Father Dolling (1894):

"War still exists . . . but the Divine Carpenter will have His revenge and His revenge will be complete when by means of labour, war shall cease throughout the whole world . . . when shameful wages and shameful hours and the abominable sweating system, depriving men of the fruits of their labours, shall have ceased universally . . . then the patient pleadings of the Carpenter of Nazareth will be realized, and man -- the temporal redeemer of the earth by the sweat of his brow -- shall refuse to be manipulated by his brethren, either in the sweating dens of financiers, or on the battle-field, or in the armies maintained at present at an impossible cost by politicians or by monarchs for their own selfish purposes."


St. John Chrysostom on 'welfare as we know it':

"'He who will not work, neither shall he eat.' (2 Thessalonians 3:10) . . . But the laws of St. Paul are not merely for the poor. They are for the rich as well. . . But you say, 'I have my paternal inheritance!' Tell me, just because he is poor and was born of a poor family possessing no great wealth, is he therefore worthy to die?"

"You say that the poor do not work, but do you work yourselves? Do you not enjoy in idleness the goods you have unjustly inherited? Do you not exhaust others with labor, while you enjoy in indolence the fruit of their misery?"

St. John Chrysostom: 'An equal place at the table':

"Week by week you come to the Lord's table to receive bread and wine. What do these things mean to you? Do you regard them merely as some kind of spiritual medicine, which will purge your soul, like a laxative may purge your body? Or do you sometimes wonder what God is saying in these simple elements? Bread and wine represent the fruits of our labor, whereby we turn the things of nature into food and drink for our sustenance. So at the Lord's table we offer our labor to God, dedicating ourselves anew to his service. Then the bread and the wine are distributed equally to every member of the congregation; the poor receive the same amount as the rich. This means that God's material blessings belong equally to everyone, to be enjoyed according to each person's need. The whole ceremony is also a meal at which everyone has an equal place at the table."

St. Gregory Nazianzen (4th Century):

[Gregory Nazianzus] "Do you think that kindness toward your neighbor is not something necessary, but voluntary; not law but exhortation? I would wish and think that it were so, were I not frightened by the possibility of being numbered among the goats on the left hand of the Sovereign Judge who will hurl his condemnations; and this not because they have robbed or committed sacrileges or adulteries, nor because they have done something forbidden; nothing of the sort attracts condemnation on them, but their having failed to care for Christ himself in the person of the poor."

St. Gregory of Nyssa on the Lord's Prayer:

"So we say to God: Give us bread. Not delicacies or riches, nor magnificent purple robes, golden ornaments, and precious stones, or silver dishes. Nor do we ask Him for landed estates, or military commands, or political leadership. We pray neither for herds of horses and oxen or other cattle in great numbers, nor for a host of slaves. We do not say, give us a prominent position in assemblies or monuments and statues raised to us, nor silken robes and musicians at meals, nor any other thing by which the soul is estranged from the thought of God and higher things; no -- but only bread! . . .

"But you go on business to the Indies and venture out upon strange seas; you go on a voyage every year only to bring back flavourings for your food, without realizing that . . . [it] is above all a good conscience which makes the bread tasty because it is eaten in justice. . .

"'Give Thou bread' -- that is to say, let me have food through just labor. For, if God is justice, anyone who procures food for themselves through covetousness cannot have his bread from God. You are the master of your prayer if your abundance does not come from another's property and is not the result of somebody else's tears; if no one is hungry or distressed because you are fully satisfied. For the bread of God is, above all, the fruit of justice."

St. Augustine of Hippo (4th Century):

"A certain exploiter of . . . others says to me, 'I am not like that rich man. I give love feasts, I send food to the prisoners in jail, I clothe the naked, I take in strangers'. Do you really think that you are giving? . . . You fool . . . If he shall go into eternal fire to whom Christ will say, 'When naked you did not clothe me,' what place in eternal fire is reserved for him to whom Christ shall say, 'I was clothed and you stripped me bare?'

St. John Chrysostom on lending at interest:

"Nothing is baser, nothing is more cruel than the interest that comes from lending. For such a lender trades on other persons' calamities, draws profit from the distress of others, and demands wages for kindness, as though he were afraid to seem merciful. Under the mask of kindness he digs deeper their grave of poverty; when he stretches forth his hand to help, he pushes them down. . ."

St. Leo the Great on the same:

"This point, too, we have thought must not be passed over, that certain possessed with the love of base gain lay out their money at interest, and wish to enrich themselves as usurers. For we are grieved that this is practised not only by those who belong to the clergy, but also by laymen who desire to be called Christians. And we decree that those who have been convicted be punished sharply, that all occasion of sinning be removed."

John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury, on interest (16th Century):

"If I lend 100 pounds and for it covenant to receive 105 pounds, or any other sum greater than was the sum I did lend, this is that, we call usury; such a kind of bargaining as no good man or godly man ever used; such a kind of bargaining as all men that ever feared God's judgment, have always abhorred and condemned . . . It is the overthrow of mighty kingdoms, the destruction of flourishing states; the decay of great cities; the plagues of the world and the misery of the people. It is theft, it is the murdering of our brethren, it is the curse of God, and the curse of the people. This is usury, and by these signs and tokens ye shall know it."

More on interest.

[Gregory the Great]

St. Gregory the Great on justice (6th Century):

"When we administer any necessities to the poor, we give them their own; we do not bestow our goods upon them. We do not fulfill the works of mercy; we discharge the debt of justice . . . what is given to us by a common God is only rightly used when those who have received it use it in common."

And St. Ambrose:

"It is not with your own wealth that you give alms to the poor, but with a fraction of their own which you give back; for you are usurping for yourself something meant for the common good of all. The earth is for everyone, not only for the rich."

St. Basil on theft:

"When someone strips a man of his clothes we call him a thief. And one who might clothe the naked and does not -- should he not be given the same name? The bread in your board belongs to the hungry: the cloak in your wardrobe belongs to the naked, the shoes you let rot belong to the barefoot; the money in your vaults belongs to the destitute."

Hugh Latimer, d. 1555:

"The poor man hath title to the rich man's goods."


Go get it! St. Thomas Aquinas:

"If there is an urgent and clear need, so urgent and clear that it is evident that an immediate response must be made on the basis of what is available . . . then a person may legitimately supply his need from the property of someone else, whether openly or secretly. Strictly speaking, such a case is not theft or robbery."

Tommaso Cajetan (1469-1534), commenting on Aquinas:

"Now what a ruler can do in virtue of his office, so that justice may be served in the manner of riches, is to take from someone who is unwilling to dispense from what is superfluous for life or state, and to distribute it to the poor . . . as Basil said, it belongs to the indigent."

Charles Kingsley on the Bible (1848):

"We have never told you that the . . . true poor man's book, the true God's voice against tyrants, idlers, and humbugs, was the Bible . . . We have used the Bible as if it were the special constable's handbook -- an opium dose for keeping beasts of burden patient while they were being overloaded -- a mere book to keep the poor in order. . . We have told you that the Bible preached the rights of property and the duties of labour when, (God knows!) for once it does that, it preaches ten times over the duties of property and the rights of labour."

Bishop B.F. Westcott (1890):

"Wage labour, though it appears to be an inevitable step in the evolution of society, is as little fitted to represent finally or adequately the connection of man with man in the production of wealth as in earlier times slavery or serfdom."

The Year of Jubilee: Stewart Headlam (1886):

"The Queen's Jubilee is good; but the People's Jubilee is better . . . 'Liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof': That is the ideal of a true Year of Jubilee. Liberty to the wage-slaves; liberty to the landless English labourer; liberty to the landlord-ridden Irish people; restoration to the disinherited of their share in the land which the Lord their God giveth them, and of which the injustice of their brother man has despoiled them."

Stewart Headlam's "Sacramental Socialism" (c.1890):

[cross]"In the worship of Jesus really present in the Sacrament of the Altar before you, all human hearts can join, and especially secularists, for when you worship Him you are worshipping the Savior, the social and political Emancipator, the greatest of all secular workers, the founder of the great socialistic society for the promotion of righteousness, the preacher of a revolution, the denouncer of kings, the gentle, tender sympathizer with the rough and the outcast who could utter scathing, burning words against the rich, the respectable, the religious."

Charles Gore (1891):

"Many will come to Him at the last day -- so we cannot but paraphrase his own words -- with manifold pleas and excuse derived from the maxims of what is called the Christian world: 'Lord, we never denied the Christian creed; nay, we had a zeal for orthodoxy, for churchmanship, for Bible distribution, but of course in our business we did as every one else did: we sold in the dearest and bought in the cheapest market; we did not, of course we did not, entertain any other consideration when we were investing our money, except whether the investments were safe; we never imagined that we could love our neighbors as ourselves in the competition of business, or that we could carry into commercial transactions the sort of strict righteousness that we knew to be obligatory in private life. Lord, in all these matters we went by commonly accepted standards; we never thought much about Christianity as a brotherhood.'

"Then he will protest unto them; 'Did I not say to thee, in that written word wherein thou didst profess to have eternal life: A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of things that he possesseth? Did I not warn thee: How hardly shall they who have riches enter into the kingdom of God? Did I not bid thee seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness? Did I not tell thee that except a man in spirit and in will, at least, forsook all that had, unless he took up his cross and followed Me, he could not be my disciple? Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven, but he that doeth, that hath done, the Will of my Father.

"Brethren, you may depend upon it, that you cannot be a Christian by mere tradition or respectability. You will have to choose to be Christians."

Charles Gore (1891):

"What I am complaining of, what I want you to complain of, with a persistence and a conviction which shall make our complaint fruitful of reform, is - not that commercial and social selfishness exist in the world, or even that it appears to dominate society; but that its profound antagonism to the spirit of Christ is not recognized, that there is not amongst us anything that can be called an adequate conception of what Christian morality means."

Maurice Reckitt (1935):

"If you had told any typical Christian thinker in any century from the twelfth to the sixteenth that religion had nothing to do with economics, and that bishops must not intrude in these matters upon the deliberations of laymen -- propositions which to many of the correspondents to our newspapers appear to be axiomatic -- he would either have trembled for your faith or feared for your reason. He would have regarded you, in short, as either a heretic or a lunatic."

Disorder in the Church: Charles Marson (1904):

"I beg leave to point out that the lives of Christ's poor people are starved and stunted; that their wages are low; their houses often bad and insanitary and their minds full of darkness and despair. These are the real disorders of the Church."

Ecce quam bonum! -- Charles Marson

"It is not only the unseen life which depends upon unity, organisation, cooperation and catholicity -- it is the honest loaf and the unpoisoned beer, the children's boots and the roses on their cheeks, the clearness of water and the sweetness of air. The grace and chrism which began at Aaron's head must not stop there. They must descend to the most trumpery, meanest and trivial outworks of human life -- to the skirts of the raiment, till the most transient things of time have the consecration of eternity. This is not a Gospel, or our Gospel. It is the Gospel."

A Day of Judgment -- Charles Gore

"The establishment of the kingdom of God must involve the final overthrow of all godless tyrannies, the unquestionable victory over all arrogant and cruel institutions and societies. Thus the Day of God is to be a day of judgment."

George Tyrrell (1907):

"Once more. Who is the judge and the law-giver to whom we are to be accountable at the last? It is God, indeed; but God as present in, and represented by, humanity; as declaring his Will and His Law in the needs and exigencies of human nature. The hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, the sinful, these are our law-givers. In them God is immanent; in the cry of their struggling spirit His Law is proclaimed, in their deliverance and salvation his will is accomplished."

Vida Dutton Scudder (1912):

"The angels of the Apocalypse proclaimed woes as well as blessings. The class-struggle which rises from the insistent demand for such general well-being as shall give the soul its room may be the trumpet-blast of an angel of God."

R. H. Tawney on the religion of capitalism (1926):

"Compromise is as impossible between the Church of Christ and the idolatry of wealth, which is the practical religion of capitalist societies, as it was between the Church and the state idolatry of the Roman Empire."

Damn Puritans

Conrad Noel on idolatry:

"What gods of wood or stone you make matters not; the God that matters is the god you set up in your heart. The Calvinists never made a stone image of the thing they worshiped. If they had, the children would have run shrieking from its presence. None the less, they were idolaters."

Conrad Noel on the 'religious right' of his time (1940):

"There is such a thing as creating God in our own image, and if one concentrates one's love on 'Jesus only' it may end by the consignment of one's neighbor to the concentration camp . . . The voice of Satan has been mistaken for the voice of God, and the last state of that man will be worse than the first."

Did they have cable in the Second Century?

"The pseudo-prophet speaks in a state of unnatural ecstasy, after which all restraint is thrown to the winds. He begins with voluntary ignorance and ends with involuntary psychosis . . . [These] so-called prophets and martyrs rake in the bucks not only from the rich but from poor people, orphans, and widows . . . All the fruits of a prophet must be submitted for examination. Tell me, does a prophet dye his hair? Does a prophet paint his eyelids? . . . Does a prophet do business as a money lender?" -- Apollonius 150-220 AD

F. Hastings Smyth on 'being good' (1940):

"[Our present economic system] is organized from its foundation up in such a way that if individuals or groups within it were suddenly to turn 'good', in the sense of consistently conducting their businesses on the principle of 'cooperation;' if they consistently were to behave as if their sole intention, rather than primarily to make a profit for themselves, were to give themselves and their action to society in every possible respect: immediately their own businesses, and finally, if there were enough people so minded, the entire system, would collapse. Economic chaos would ensue. Thus, in an un-Christian economy, Christians are compelled to practice in un-Christian ways; or else they are compelled to become revolutionary menaces to that same evil economy."

F. Hastings Smyth on human freedom:

"Man is invited to come into the Order of the Incarnation, but is never compelled to do so. Man is never to be saved in spite of himself. Within our Lord's humanity, the cooperation of free human intelligence is to be utilized to the utmost. And this is the difference, as we have already remarked, between the Reign of God and the rule of man . . . God wills to trust His own omnipotence into the hands of men, in order to redeem them to himself both rational and free. And if He refuses to overrule the dignity of creative human freedom, much less may man overrule his fellow man."

cf. St. John Chrysostom:

"For Christians above all people are forbidden to correct the stumblings of sinners by is necessary to make someone better not by force but by persuasion. We neither have authority granted us by law to restrain sinners, nor, if it were, should we know how to use it, since God gives the crown to those who are kept from evil, not by force, but by choice."

Kenneth Leech:

"Wherever men and women are despised, rejected, and abused there is Christ. Such solidarity with the victims of injustice and oppression must always override any temptation to judge or condemn. It is the critical test of fidelity to the way of Christ."

V. Gene Robinson:

"To raise the issue of homosexuality above the Nicene Creed and belief in the Trinity seems to me to border on idolatry, If this is all about the authority of scripture why haven't people threatened to leave over the church not obeying Christ's commandment to reach out to the poor? A third of the parables and a sixth of Christ's words in the Gospels are about wealth possession, but we don't hear too much about that."


"And whenever you doubt. . .

whenever the devil, or ignorant preachers, or superstitious books, make you afraid, and tempt you to fancy that God hates you, and watches to catch you tripping, take refuge in that blessed Name, and say, 'Satan, I defy thee; for the Almighty God of Heaven is my Father.'" - - Charles Kingsley

perle bleue

"If you wish to love your neighbor as yourself, divide your money with him." -- St. Augustine

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