Friday, February 27, 2009

Global Poverty


A renewed effort of Catholics to confront Global Poverty was launched Feb. 23 by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). The website which seeks one million Catholics and suggests ways to deal with global poverty can be found here (update 3/15/13: the site no longer exists). The announcement was tied to a meeting this past weekend of Catholic leaders in the area of social justice held in Washington DC.
Of course, global poverty is a pretty daunting subject and we know each one of us can only do so much. But, when we work and pray together, great things can be done.

Some might think it a bad time to focus on the "Global" part of poverty right now, given our present economic woes. But we get in trouble, I think, when we ignore our neighbors. It leads to too much focus on ourselves, and too much waste of natural resources for too small a percentage of people.

Naturally, there are times when we our survival depends on hard, concentrated work. The American pioneers could hardly worry about the plight of, for example, Bolivians of the time. But when we become prosperous, the tendency is to gather more and more for ourselves--larger houses, cars, luxuries. You know the story--you've seen the CEO's on the news. But even many regular Americans have become square-footage and electronics conscious to the point of seeming as though we think we are some kind of celebrities who deserve more than others. Bad times can even be helpful in that we find we don't need all that we thought. We just have to remember that when times get better.

A concern for others is exactly what we need to curb these appetites--ones that have gotten us in heaps of trouble at the present. We all have consciences and know where we've spent too much or wasted too much. The economy should not be based on how much credit we get, but how we all can live wisely, sustaining the environment and sharing resources fairly. I think there is enough work for all--it's a matter of what we are doing when we work and the earnings we gain from it. We must remember Who truly sustains us. That is the key. I believe we could all, here and abroad, live much better in the end.

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Painting from Web Gallery of Art, http://www.wga.hu/index1.html .

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