“Do Not Bow Down to False Gods!”

The Pope Publishes a Christmas Op-Ed in the December 19th Edition of  the “Financial Times” of London

To mark the occasion of Christmas, Benedict XVI was a guest columnist in the British daily, the Financial Times. He explained why “Christians oppose greed and exploitation out of a conviction.”

Merry Christmas (Courtesy: News.Va English)

Merry Christmas (Courtesy: News.Va English)

A Pope in the pages of an ordinary newspaper? As a columnist? Never happened before. But it happened on Thursday, December 19th, 2012. Pope Benedict was asked by the Financial Times of London to write a brief essay for them related to his new book on Jesus – The Infancy Narratives – and he agreed. His essential message to London and the world: do not “bow down to false gods” of money and power but remember the true nobility of man and his eternal destiny.

“Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God,” was the response of Jesus when asked about paying taxes. His questioners, of course, were laying a trap for him. They wanted to force him to take sides in the highly charged political debate about Roman rule in the land of Israel. Yet there was more at stake here: if Jesus really was the long-awaited Messiah, then surely he would oppose the Roman overlords. So the question was calculated to expose him either as a threat to the regime, or as a fraud.

Jesus’ answer deftly moves the argument to a higher plane, gently cautioning against both the politicisation of religion and the deification of temporal power, along with the relentless pursuit of wealth. His audience needed to be reminded that the Messiah was not Caesar, and Caesar was not God. The kingdom that Jesus came to establish was of an altogether higher order. As he told Pontius Pilate: “My kingship is not of this world.”

Here is the complete text of what the Pope wrote…