It’s no secret that I am not a big fan of the so-called “prosperity gospel” movement, amongst Christians most certainly, amongst New Agers and The Secret peddlers as well, and most especially amongst anyone who is within modern paganism…in fact, it’s something I wrote about a few months ago as something that pisses me off. Prosperitas is a goddess, and the way in which her name is being abused by people who speak of “prosperity” in this entitled and privileged fashion is detestable, to say the least.
So, when I heard that the Catholic leader known as Pope Francis–who is, in many respects, a laudable figure–spoke out against the “prosperity gospel,” I was glad of it. Except that the way he spoke out against it sort of missed the point…:
“It is an ugly thing,” he said, according to Vatican Radio, “when you see a Christian who doesn’t want to humble himself, who doesn’t want to serve, a Christian who struts about everywhere: it’s ugly, eh? That is not a Christian: that’s a pagan!”
Okay…leaving aside the sexism of the statement (as there are women and people of other genders who might also espouse the prosperity gospel), and the total misunderstanding of both modern and historical paganism/polytheism as a kind of “proud” and selfish movement (yes, there are some modern pagans who refuse to “bow their heads,” but the thing the Christians objected to the most about historical polytheists was that they bowed their heads too much to things they did not consider worthy of such honors–you know, gods!), does it really speak well for the man that in all of his social-justice-minded rhetoric, and even some actions to back up such rhetoric, that he thinks this of people who still live and walk upon the earth?
(The comments in the above link are quite misinformed in many cases, and the fact that they’re all trying to excuse his statement and explain it rather than actually deal with what he’s saying is rather appalling.)
This opens a whole can of worms, needless to say, about modern paganism and its connections (if any) to ancient forms of paganism and polytheism; whether or not devotion in modern pagan and polytheist practices is something people embrace of if they are embarrassed about it (for reasons exactly exemplified by such statements as this); and, of course, whether there can be said to be a “prosperity gospel” movement amongst modern pagans at all.
But the main thing about this is, it’s offensive to equate the worst of individuals within one’s own religion to people of another religion.
I was hoping we’d be able to avoid things like this with the current leader of the Catholic movement; alas, it appears not. I hope that he does a sensible thing and apologizes for his remarks, as would befit someone who is the leader of the largest, richest, and most successful child rapist ring that human history has ever known.