The Early Church on Poverty & Wealth

Rachel Stanton

“Their property held them in chains . . . chains which shackled their courage and choked their faith and hampered their judgment and throttled their souls. They think of themselves as owners, whereas it is they rather who are owned: enslaved as they are to their own property, they are not the masters of their money but its slaves.” – Cyprian, 300 A.D.

“The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry man; the coat hanging in your closet belongs to the man who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the man who has no shoes; the money which you put into the bank belongs to the poor. You do wrong to everyone you could help but fail to help.” – Basil of Caesarea, 330-370 A.D.

“You are not making a gift of your possession to the poor person. You are handing over to him what…

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