Is wealth the opposite of Christianity? Is profit antithetical to the kin-dom of God? A look into Franciscan friar Luca Pacioli’s accounting process – now called reconciliation accounting – reveals that despite Jesus’ words, the practice of Christians in the Western world has emphatically answered: no, they get along just fine. It is high time for a Christianity, guided by Mark 10:17–31, that is unreconciled with wealth.
Perhaps this parable is not about stewardship of resources, in the sense of asking the maximum effort to produce the maximum gains, but is rather about revealing and denouncing unethical behavior that reinforces oppressive structures of the past and the present.
In most reflections about Good Friday and the events surrounding the Passion, the focus is squarely on Jesus, and to be sure, one can hardly deny that this is where it should be. However, it is interesting to note the extent to which the Gospel authors are quite interested in what these events reveal about the disciples that had followed Jesus up to this climactic point in his ministry—not just the Twelve, of course, but all those who had heard his word and believed in him.
Although Meghan Clark and Joseph Tetlow, S.J. have raised some important criticisms of Stacie Beck’s contention that the “social justice agenda” of many Catholics ignores certain basic truths of capitalist economics, they downplay the extent to which the provision of certain basic human rights is dependent on the creation of wealth. The Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain provides guidance on how to maintain both the grounding of human rights in universal human dignity and the contingency of concrete rights, a balance necessary in the current age of austerity.