The Land of Greed – Joseph FX Zahra

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“The Pope in the Land of Greed” was how the Malta weather described the Pope’s visit to our islands in his September 2021 editorial. Greed seems to have taken over not only politicians and businessmen but has spread to the general population. We have a long list of examples of how the race to get rich faster threatens our society and our well-being.

The problem is not in the creation of money, but in how it is used and abused. Having aspirations for growth and development is a virtue, because it is through entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation that jobs are created, incomes are improved and economies grow. develop, triggering human development through investments in health and education.

When these aspirations turn into blind ambition, the vice of greed takes over and people become obtuse to the personal and social consequences of such excesses. The limits of aspirations must be carefully guarded because the line between excess and the human need to succeed is thin and can be easily erased. The superfluous easily becomes the necessary.

The dangers of greed are many. He promises satisfaction, but he never satisfies. Money promises freedom and gives power, arrogance and a false sense of grandeur. It enslaves people to want more and more. It tempts the person to trade integrity for money while mistakenly believing that financial security guarantees the future. It ruins individuals and families, and destroys relationships and the best friendships. It discounts the value of integrity and reputation. Those who seek excess in the accumulation of wealth are led to ruin and destruction. As Pope Francis describes it, it is an “idolatry that kills”.

The uncontrolled desire to accumulate money and power leads to the temptation to take shortcuts and break the rules. Much depends on a person’s upbringing, the influence of values ​​transmitted in family, schools and friendships. Greed is diagnosed in the way a person’s conscience has developed.

An antidote to greed is humility. The recognition that our talents and our wisdom do not make us superhuman, but that our strengths have their limits. Curiosity, openness and trust allow us to listen, learn and help those most in need.

Another way to control excess is frugality. Frugality is not greed, but being aware of our needs and how these can be met while respecting the environment and not wasting. It rejects conspicuous consumption but spends and invests in what has ecological value. The search for moderation through a balanced attitude towards work, possession, pleasure and achievement reflects maturity and controls excesses.

We cannot remain indifferent to those who are affected by an “economic system that rejects people’s lives in the name of the god of money, encourages greed and destructive attitudes towards the earth and fuels forms of injustice”– Pope Francis

The opposite of greed is generosity. Addressing members of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Founded in October 2021, Pope Francis warns that we cannot remain indifferent to those affected by an “economic system that rejects people’s lives in the name of the god of money, fostering greed and destructive attitudes towards earth and fueling forms of injustice”. However, generosity does not translate into giving money and looking the other way, but in touching human pain and misery as the Good Samaritan did, and showing heartfelt compassion.

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