Robert Bellarmine on a Catholic Christian’s Use of Money

Monetary wealth, argued Bellarmine, can be a great temptation in the Christian life. In chapter five of his treatise The Art of Dying Well, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine maintains that the Christian should be especially vigilant in the use of their financial assets. The proper disposition toward wealth, he argues, is that of an administrator / steward and not master / owner. One of the great pitfalls in the spiritual life is to think that financial assets ultimately belong to oneself. For Bellarmine, this a great fallacy. One should perceive one’s assets, argued Bellarmine, as ultimately belonging to God. With this critical consideration, the cardinal argues that reason and Scripture teach that the Christian is first and foremost a steward of their financial assets. Because of this fact, the Christian must be responsible in the use of their financial assets. As stewards, they will one day render an account to the true owner of those assets, namely, God. Join us this week as we discuss in detail Cardinal Bellarmine’s understanding of the proper Christian disposition toward one’s financial resources.

 

An image of the rich man and Lazarus. While the rich man is dining sumptuously, Lazarus lays outside his door with dogs at his feet licking the sores on his body.

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