The other person said:
On countries with a large Catholic population - absolutely these countries have vast degrees of corruption in their government but the church came first and has done little to nothing to alleviate poverty. Instead these people are raised to respect and fear their religion, to avoid using contraception to limit family size lest they burn in hell for comitting mortal sin. They have large families they can't adequately support and educate beyond their experience and the cycle continues and corrupt government reigns supreme.
I just wanted to point out that while I hear that the Catholic Church is the richest church in the world thrown around a lot, it really doesn't work out to be as simple as that. The Catholic Church does not have a lot of "liquid" assets. They have a lot of big old churches, which aren't filled with enough people to pay for the upkeep and heat and AC. The Vatican itself has a lot of assets in things such as art works and tapestries, which also require a lot of upkeep, and don't pay their own rent. Having the Sistine Chapel restored was not cheap.
The local churches are financially independent based on their diocese. We don't send all of the money to the Vatican, and then they dole it out. If a local church runs a food pantry, it is all done based on what the parishioners donate. A very small amount is sent the Vatican, and most of that is for a charity called Peter's Pence.
The Vatican's state budget is less than the operating budget of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and has run on a deficit the past few years. Some have noticed that Pope Benedict is wearing more "old style" vestments, and assume this is because he prefers the style. It may be, but he declined to have a whole bunch of new vestments sewed up for himself, and has worn things from the closet instead, to save a bit of money.
In addition, I looked up the poorest countries in the world. Burundi is the only one which is even close to predominately Catholic. The Solomon Islands are predominately Anglican, and you certainly can't say they are anti-contraception!
4. Solomon Islands
7. East Timor
I wonder why you don't point a finger at the Muslim religion? They also generally do not encourage birth control but have the added population booster of polygamy, and their governments also tend to be more corrupted. Most of the countries on the full list of the 50 poorest countries were in Africa, where Islam holds a large part of the population. On the other hand, Uganda is an African country which is predominately Catholic and they are far from being poor, and their HIV rate has dropped dramatically after adopting an abstinence based approach.
This is pretty much what I was touching on when I said that despite the Catholic church being the richest in the world, nations where Catholicism are among the poorest. The Vatican holds an immense array of goods that would fetch billions if sold. Is it fair that tens of millions of dollars are spent on restoring the Sistine chapel when many Catholics are literally starving? Why is it ok to continue to spend money on a priceless cache of tapestries and artworks (most of which are never even seen by the public) when people who as a nation subscribe to Catholicism as their faith, cannot afford the basics?
First, I have already pointed out that the countries which are majority Catholic are NOT among the poorest in the world. Not even in the top 50.
Judas once suggested that Mary Magdalene was wrong to spend a large sum of money for oil to anoint the head of Jesus. He said the money would be better spent on the poor. Jesus said, the poor will be with you always.
To me, what you have just written is a very communistic view. Suppose the Catholic Church sold absolutely everything and fed every poor person in the world for, what, two or three weeks? Then what?
The Catholic Church holds these works of art on behalf of every person on the planet. Most of them are available to be viewed for free, just by walking into a church. A trip to the Vatican Museum will cost you about $20. A day at Disneyland will cost you $300. The Vatican Museum is open to the public for free at least two days every month. If the Catholic Church sold Michaelangelo's Pieta to Donald Trump, I wouldn't be able to view it in his house. But if the Catholic Church keeps it, I can walk into St. Peter's any day I want to, and view it, without paying a cent.
By all means, let us have a world without beauty. That would certainly be great, wouldn't it? Let's all wear the same gray clothes, so that we can spend more money on the poor and less on fashion. Let us all eat off of industrial white dishes and live in government block apartment buildings. As long as everyone is fed and clothed, then we can easily give up beauty. Only, it doesn't really work that way. A world without beauty robs you of your soul. Even the poor find ways to add beauty to their homes. All of the great cathedrals of the world were built by the poor, who willingly gave much from their little to be a part of building something greater than the individual, something beautiful that can be viewed by rich and poor alike, and something that will last much longer than a bowl of rice.
Does this mean that the Church should focus on beauty and ignore the poor? Absolutely not. As has already been pointed out, the Catholic Church is the single largest charitable institution in the world. The Catholic Church provides 25% of all the HIV/AIDS relief in the world. While what you wrote seems to imply that the Catholic Church should be feeding those in the Catholic nations, we provide relief regardless of religion, all over the world.
Although I didn't mention it in the discussion, I was reminded of St. Laurence.
As deacon in Rome, Lawrence was charged with the responsibility for the material goods of the Church, and the distribution of alms to the poor. When Lawrence knew he would be arrested like the pope, he sought out the poor, widows and orphans of Rome and gave them all the money he had on hand, selling even the sacred vessels to increase the sum.
When the prefect of Rome heard of this, he imagined that the Christians must have considerable treasure. He sent for Lawrence and said, “You Christians say we are cruel to you, but that is not what I have in mind. I am told that your priests offer in gold, that the sacred blood is received in silver cups, that you have golden candlesticks at your evening services. Now, your doctrine says you must render to Caesar what is his. Bring these treasures—the emperor needs them to maintain his forces. God does not cause money to be counted: He brought none of it into the world with him—only words. Give me the money, therefore, and be rich in words.”
Lawrence replied that the Church was indeed rich. “I will show you a valuable part. But give me time to set everything in order and make an inventory.” After three days he gathered a great number of blind, lame, maimed, leprous, orphaned and widowed persons and put them in rows.
When the prefect arrived, Lawrence simply said, “These are the treasure of the Church.”