US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Stephen Colbert, James Martin, Pope Francis, and the wealth gap

By Elizabeth Lefebvre | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty – and while federal programs have helped reduce poverty, it’s no secret that in our country the gap between rich and poor has continued to grow. President Obama has declared that income inequality will become an economic priority for his administration. The bishops have recently called on Congress to put human dignity at the core of employment and wages, pointing out shortfalls with the current minimum wage. Pope Francis has also notably weighed in, criticizing the wealth gap and ‘trickle-down’ economic policies, and economies of inequality.

Last night, Jesuit Father James Martin (chaplain of “Colbert Nation”) appeared on The Colbert Report to discuss with Catholic comedian Stephen Colbert the pope’s take on the gap between the rich and poor. What’s a rich person to do?, Colbert asks, saying, “We rich guys feel attacked by the pope.”

Martin emphasizes that the rich need to love, care for, and respect the poor. He mentions too that Jesus invites us to help the poor, which is an invitation to participate in the kingdom of God.

What’s in it for me? Colbert asks on behalf of the rich folks. Martin reassures him: Joy, peace, and eternal salvation.

Watch here: