Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Spirit and Life: Consumerism and the Dignity of Man

Consumerism and the Dignity of Man
Dear Friends,
There has been lively debate in the media over whether it is a good idea for stores to start their Black Friday sales on Thursday evening -- if the consumerism mentality tarnishes the Thanksgiving holiday and Christmas Season. The question as to whether Black Friday tarnishes Thanksgiving and Christmas has become moot since it seems Black Friday has become its very own holiday. People anticipate it and faithfully observe it every year. Throughout the nation, people are absent from work in observance. Ads running on TV put lyrics about shopping to the tune of famous holiday jingles. The media, advertising industry and large retail stores speak of the day as if it were a major federal or religious holiday.

Many Americans have bought into the hype. Even economists and financiers join in the frenzy: Like prophets proclaiming gloom and doom, they give predictions to the financial success and failures. The message of the "Good News" of Black Friday: happiness is found in material goods -- the more you have, the happier you'll be.

We have to ask ourselves: What are the long-term affects of a culture that places its value in things and not on the value of the human person?

Pope Francis recently called consumerism a poison that threatens true happiness because it is based in empty promises. "[T]he true treasure is the love of God shared with our brethren. That love which comes from God and enables us to share it with one another and to help each other." The illusion created by the culture of consumerism doesn't lead to a happier society, but one of gluttony, lust, greed and spiritual poverty, where desires can never be fully satiated. Such an illusion diminishes the identity of the human person and defines him by what he has and not who he is.

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Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr Boquet signature
Father Shenan J. Boquet
President, Human Life International

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