Catholics need an empowering identity in the wider culture. If we say we’re guided by a specific moral ethic, there should be clearer manifestations of that ethic than there are at present.

st-anthony-mary-claretWe speak about relativism, but it falls flat because we’re speaking about an abstraction. A concrete manifestation of relativism? The poverty that excessive consumption wreaks financially and mentally.

We’re told we’re empowered in the market. What if the Catholic world said no. What if Christians were called to obvious restraint? Pope Francis seemed to be doing this early in his papacy, though he’s become distracted with other things. At the same time, what if Catholics saving their money as aggressively as immigrants do became a thing? This would be a call to a different financial life as a way to set ourselves free.

The Great Recession has been, by historical/global standards, still pretty gilded. But St. Anthony Mary Claret as the patron of savings could help us recapitalize ourselves.

This seems to me like a way for Christians to stand out as a unique and remarkable people, as a people known for saving not because we want to be wealthy but because we know spending won’t satisfy.