Francis of Assisi. Hmm, what does Wikipedia say about him? “…Francis was inspired to devote himself to a life of poverty…..” He founded the Franciscan order which is pretty well synonymous with the concept of monastic poverty, in the face of the incredible wealth amassed by the other medieval monastic orders.
So, it’s a mite odd to find that, according to the Times
Armed guards brought in to protect Assisi church from beggars
Armed security guards have been brought in for the first time to protect visitors to the Franciscan church of Santa Maria degli Angeli at Assisi from “beggars, tramps and gypsies” who “disturb the peace of a place of prayer”…..
Claudio Ricci, mayor of Assisi and a member of Forza Italia, the party led by Silvio Berlusconi, said the friars’ decision to employ guards was in line with a new local ordinance cracking down on illegal immigrants, many of them Roma gypsies….
After all, those irritating poor people might be benefitting from the charitable impulses of the faithful, before they’ve unburdened themselves of worldly wealth in the church’s collection boxes. Leaving that much less to give to the Church. Even when the church in question is supposedly founded on concern for the poor.
(Some of which donated wealth is clearly going to be spent on paying armed security guards to drive away the irritatingly poor….. It’s almost pleasingly circular)
New Franciscan rule: Give to the wealthy.
And here’s a further story, which may seem slightly reminiscent of the above news item to anyone familiar with the history of the British Labour Party.
The Times Rich List shows that:
The richest 1,000 people in Britain have seen their wealth quadruple under Labour, according to The Sunday Times Rich List published today. Even under Gordon Brown’s brief premiership their fortunes have soared by 15%, just as the financial squeeze and faltering house prices have hit ordinary people.
Or, perhaps more pertinently for “ordinary people,” rising costs for food, utilities and local taxes. At the same time, the tax system has been changed to take more income tax from the lowest-paid, while everyone else pays less. (The government has promised rebellious Labour MPs that it will put this tax thing right but not yet explained how it’s going to work)
A new candidate for the Beatitudes: Blessed are the rich for they shall always get more.