Rich People To Pope: Nice Church You’ve Got. Be A Shame If Anything Happened to It.

Frankly, there’s little social justice work anyone can do without angering wealthy and economically and politically powerful people. When you have rich people and poor people, and an economic and political system that’s designed to entrench the wealthy’s position, anybody questioning that system looks like a threat.

Just ask Ken Langone, the co-founder of Home Depot, a major financial donor to the Republican Party, a billionaire, and who is currently leading a campaign to restore St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. I don’t know how this guy survived in business while being so thin-skinned unless he also had the power to call down a million pound s**thammmer of vengance on anyone who crossed him … but Pope Francis’ most recent statements about runaway capitalism have got his dander up.

He’s apparently brought the issue up more than once with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York: “I’ve told the cardinal, ‘Your Eminence, this is one more hurdle I hope we don’t have to deal with. You want to be careful about generalities. Rich people in one country don’t act the same as rich people in another country,’” Langone said, adding that “you get more with honey than with vinegar.”

Let me get this straight. Langone is arguing that Pope Francis is wrong to criticize the rich and powerful for using their money and influence to control the policial and economic messages of society … and if and other rich people don’t like what the Pope continues to say, they will use their money and iunfluence to either silence him or the Church.


A lot of people (especially those on the political right) approach the teachings of Jesus the same way they approach the licensing agreement when they put new software on their computer, tablet, or smartphone. They don’t read the whole thing: they just go to the end and click, ‘I accept.’ God is merely a smokescreen: they worship Reganomics and its golden calf. That’s why Langone can be pious with his Catholicism and not think of Matthew 19:24.

Author: Stephen LaRose

2006 winner of the Canadian Association of University Teachers's Award of Excellence in Journalism for a bunch of prairie dog stuff. Invited into the best homes in Regina. Once.

2 thoughts on “Rich People To Pope: Nice Church You’ve Got. Be A Shame If Anything Happened to It.”

  1. Excellent blog story, Stephen.

    Before Mr. Home Depot, I know of no super-rich “Catholic” who dared to publicly and crassly criticize a Pope for being open and generous.

    But Pope Frankie is pretty darn cool — I see how he’s ticking off the alleged believers by quoting passages in the big unread book they all hold tight. As a fallen Catholic, whose hobby is following the goings-on in this multi-billionaire dollar powerful global organization, I think Frank is the real deal — a person who is living exactly according to the ideals of his faith. He’s the coolest Pope since John #23, the guy who kicked over the hornet’s nest by announcing Vatican II.

    I am quite interested in what else the current Pope is going to do and say. As a non-believer, I believe in Frank the Man.

  2. Yes, very good post, Stephen. As a lapsed Catholic, it’s been a very, very long time since I’ve heard, read or thought much about the Catholic faith without either getting angry or rolling my eyes. But, Pope Francis has made me take notice — and have some hope. Granted, it will take something really big to bring me back to the church but I feel like this pope is indeed the real deal and may actually bring about some of the change that’s so desperately needed, not just in the church but in the world. Unfortunately, one man — pope or not— can’t do it alone, and the leaders in the Catholic faith around the world need to give their heads a collective shake and start leadling in the way many of their followers (current or potential) so desperately need and want. Unfortunately, that’s where my hope starts to fade and I hold firm that I likely won’t be rejoining the faith anytime soon.

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