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The Fasting of the Avaricious

How clearly is the behavior of the rich expressed! They are grieved if they do not seize others’ property; they refuse food, they fast—not to atone for a sin but to commit a crime.  You may see them coming to church then, dutiful, humble, constant, in order to merit obtaining the successful outcome of their wickedness. (St. Ambrose, On Naboth)

The ideal type of the capitalistic entrepreneur… avoids ostentation and unnecessary expenditure, as well as conscious enjoyment of his power, and is embarrassed by the outward signs of the social recognition which he receives. His manner of life is, in other words, often, and we shall have to investigate the historical significance of just this important fact, distinguished by a certain ascetic tendency… (Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism)

3 thoughts on “The Fasting of the Avaricious

  1. I like your blog. This seems harsh though. The poor don’t get criticised in this way. Except perhaps by Scrooge and other overly grouchy people. What’s up with religion’s tendency to not show compassion to the rich also?

    Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks. Interesting. Very long sermon; I guess he was rich in words (oops, sorry, St. Ambrose, I don’t mean to disparage you, so I’ll restate that.) Very long sermon; I guess he was poor in summing things up.
        He didn’t like women either? Let’s hope he was just using ‘rich’ and ‘women’ to mean something slightly different such as ‘wicked’ and ‘women who are selfish’.
        I think my observation holds through this sermon though: What’s up with religion’s tendency to not show compassion to the rich also?
        If the rich are this burdened with avarice and greed and short sightedness (spiritually) then for sure we should show compassion to them. I hope God does anyway.

        Like

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