1/2023 English Summary – money

Gabriela Ivana Vlková
Money and Bible

In an economically conditioned world, how do we take a wise and balanced attitude towards mon­ey and property? How do the biblical texts address this issue? What do they encourage and warn against? How can they inspire us today? The author first analyses the topic of money and wealth or poverty from the perspective of the Old Testament books (Wealth as a sign of blessing; Possessions/poverty as a consequence of work/laziness; Unjustly acquired wealth and poverty as a consequence of exploitation; The experience of slavery, the exodus and the law; Wealth as one of the causes of the failure of the chosen people in the prophetic interpretation of history; Freedom from possessions and trust in the Lord, etc. ), and then from a New Testament perspective (Work; Excessive Care; Blessed Poverty and Property as Risk/Cause of Ruin, Permanent Security and Proper Use of Property, Solidarity with Neighbors in Need). She concludes by pointing out the point of convergence between the two perspectives and makes recommendations consistent with what the inspired authors demanded of their first addressees. In doing so, she suggests how Christians can maintain – despite their different vocations – “the same mindset as Jesus” in their relationship to property (Phil 2:5).

Hyacint Ullman OP
Jesus and money

Based on a study of the Gospel texts, the author examines how Jesus talks about money, what role money plays in his life, and what he wants to teach his followers about money, poverty, and wealth. In each chapter, he discusses five major areas of this topic in turn. First, he addresses the topic of mon­ey as a temptation that Jesus faces early in his public ministry. Then, in the central part of the study, he discusses money and poverty from the perspective of the Beatitudes and traces how the notion of the poor or the poor in spirit is understood in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. In the following sections, he addresses the issue of debt and debtors, discusses the relationship between religion and money, and concludes by describing the place of money in Jesus’ life and his attitude to wealth.

Jana Plátová
Can a wealthy person be saved?
Clement’s interpretation of pericope on the rich man’s vocation

The article presents the very first Christian interpretation of the pericope on the rich man’s voca­tion (Mark 10:17–31; Mat 19:16–30; Luke 18:18–30), as preserved in the writings by Clement of Alexandria: “Quis dives salvetur?”. The first part deals with the Gospel text that Clement used for his interpretation and points out its specifics and textual variants. In the second part, it considers Clement’s allegorical interpretation of the words “Go, sell everything you have…” (Mark 10:21). It focuses here on the reasons that lead Clement to the allegorical interpretation, as well as the consequences that follow from such an interpretation.

David Vopřada
“Ahab is born day by day”
Money and alms as a way of redemption?

On the example of St Ambrose author describes relation of ancient Christians to poverty and wealth. He focuses on one specific area of Ambrose’s relation to the poor and rich, namely to almsgiving. He introduces St Ambrose as a bishop with strong social awareness, who stood for the poor and searched for solution to their difficult economical situation. According to Ambrose the solution lays exactly in almsgiving, in altruistic sharing of one’s own possessions with people in need. At the same time, it is a remedy for insanity that greediness leads to; and one of the ways of atonement for sins. St Ambrose reminds us what is real meaning of our life, that good will and generosity towards poor is necessary in our journey. It is not only a social gesture; however, it is a participation in God’s plan of salvation and not only in the context of salvation of an individual, but in the perspective of the presence and future of the whole mankind.

Petr Zahradník
A study of the evolution of the functions, forms, meaning and perception of money

The author presents a descriptive-analytical-evaluative contribution on the topic of money, with ref­erence to some actual cases illustrating the general conclusions. He finds money to be an essential component of the market economy, which performs irreplaceable functions towards its efficient functioning. It also presents these functions in the context of economic and social development. It also touches on the phenomenon of the fetishisation of money and shows it as a mirror of certain human character qualities. It also deals with the concept of trust, the topic of debts and the issue of inflation. He concludes by arguing that money and capital know no boundaries, but what matters is who owns them.

Petr Štica
Ethical criteria for saving money
Insights from the current ethical debate in the German language environment

Saving money has an ethical significance; and reflection on the ethical context of saving money has deepened in recent years. This trend is linked to the increasing awareness that saved money significantly shapes social and economic processes that have direct impacts on countries, regions and individual human destinies. This article provides insights into the current ethical debate on the topic, with a focus on the German language area. The first part of the article briefly presents the history of the ethically grounded saving of money and the development of reflection on the topic in the religious and theological environment. In the second part, the principles and criteria of ethically-oriented saving of money are presented.

Dominik Stroukal – Pavel Peterka
Can there be money without debt? Example of Bitcoin

This text contrasts current money with Bitcoin, a new form of digital money created mostly by commercial bank loans on credit, and shows that despite the moral problems surrounding it, which often make it viewed as “sinful” money, the fact that it is not created by debt can be a virtue, and debt is economically disadvantageous in its environment. This work defends the thesis that money created by debt can be seen as immoral, and if this is the case, then Bitcoin may be an alternative in this regard. It is an attempt at money that is created without debt and allows transactions without the need for trust to any other party. Even in a Bitcoin network, debt can exist, even if its creation does not lead to the creation of new money. Third parties built around Bitcoin can still create debt and money substitutes, but this is not possible in the Bitcoin network itself.

Antonie Doležalová
About debt, debtors, and creditors

This essay by an associate professor of economic history demonstrates the inner connection between debt and money by emphasizing the complex historical nature of the phenomenon of debt, and shows what led to the disappearance of this complexity. The aim of the essay is to show that debt is a much more complex phenomenon than it first appears to us today, that it is part of a socio-economic order of society in which all human existence takes the form of debt. The author shows that loan and debt are neither related to capitalism nor to money, but existed in Neolithic times. She explains how debt became synonymous with sin and guilt in the sense of personal responsi­bil­ity, how the concept of credit and the issue of usury evolved. It describes the development of the ­debtor–creditor relationship, the phenomenon of the monetization of social relations and the neg­ative influence of economics, which obscures the original logic of debt, fails to respect the equality of people despite social differences and degrades interpersonal relations.

Vilém Anzenbacher
Gracious Summer in The Czech Republic

The author describes the institution of the Gracious Summer, an extraordinary and one-off debt relief event that took place in the Czech Republic between 2021 and 2022, and discusses its goals and effectiveness. It points out that the Gracious Summer cannot be seen as a purely economic and legal tool, but that its social and communal dimension must also be taken into account. There is not economic concern for creditors at its heart, but the socio-economic restart of the debtor, his freedom from debt and his reintegration into economic life. On the basis of available data, the author demonstrates the success of this project, both in terms of reducing the number of individuals against whom executions are brought and in terms of reducing the number of executions brought against individuals in general. He concludes that the Gracious Summer is one of the important tools for improving the debt situation of individuals in the Czech Republic and for correcting the historically inappropriate setting of conditions for the debt relief of individuals.

We have some of the strictest conditions for debt relief
Interview about debts with Radek Hábl

The interview with the founder and director of the Institute for the Prevention and Resolution of Over-indebtedness touches on pressing social issues, such as why so many people in the Czech Republic are in over-indebtedness, what it means for the state, what are the social and economic consequences of over-indebtedness, what would help most effectively in this situation, what is the meaning of the Gracious Summer event in this context or what are the main changes planned by the Ministry of Justice in the forthcoming revision of the Insolvency Act and what myths are circulating around it.

Simon Coleman
The Prosperity Gospel
Debating Charisma, Controversy and Capitalism

In this study, the author provides a brief characterisation of the Prosperity Gospel, covering its history and manifestations in different parts of the globe. He compares some of the ways in which analysts have tried to explain its spread, and explore reasons why it has attracted so much critique and even anger. However, he also questions the idea that we can regard it as a fully unified movement or internally consistent theological position. Ultimately, he suggests that we might think of such Prosperity discourse as manifested less in a single Gospel per se, and more as a set of ethical practices.

Ivo Binder
Biblia pauperum by Vojmir Vokolek

The accompanying text to the reproductions in this Salve presents the work of one of the most original Czech post-war artists – the painter, sculptor, graphic artist, illustrator and poet Vojmir Vokolek (1910–2001). It presents works that he created between 1949 and 1982 for thirteen interiors of churches in Bohemia and Moravia. It includes a list of artistic works and literature related to Vokolek.