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This room is for discussion related to learning about the faith (Catechetics), defense of the Faith (Apologetics), the Liturgy and canon law, motivated by a desire to grow closer to Christ or to bring someone else closer.

Saint Augustine of Hippo is considered on of the greatest Christian thinkers of all time and the Doctor of the Church.
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Hello everyone,


I just wanted to throw this out there. Maybe I'll get beat up for it, maybe I won't. I am asking all Catholics this question with all the sincerity that I can muster. With the election over (thankfully) I am appalled at the travesty of both political parties completely ignoring the poor. As a psychologist, I work with people with severe mental illness and addiction problems aka the poorest of the poor. It's my job week in and week out. Still I don't hear anything about it from my fellow Catholics. Oh sure, they give me a pat on the back, but how many of them (and how many of you) would serve these people, go to where I work, and--shocker here--get out of your nice neighborhoods and go the places and households where these people reside. Instead, I hear endless talk about defending life and defending the sanctity of marriage.


Now don't get me wrong. I'm just as pro life and pro traditional marriage as anyone else on this site. In fact I've put my life in jeopardy a few times because of my views (ie I've had weapons pointed at me). How many of you can claim that?


Here's my question and my challege: Will you help the least of us in this advent season? Will you step out of the ranks of safety and dare to help someone or a family in need? 12 years ago I was almost a Fransiscan friar and we were trained to look at the poor as Christ coming into our lives. Do you?

Dec 10th 2012 new
David, thank you for the reminder.
Dec 10th 2012 new

(Quote) David-820720 said: Hello everyone,I just wanted to throw this out there. Maybe I'll get beat up for ...
(Quote) David-820720 said:

Hello everyone,


I just wanted to throw this out there. Maybe I'll get beat up for it, maybe I won't. I am asking all Catholics this question with all the sincerity that I can muster. With the election over (thankfully) I am appalled at the travesty of both political parties completely ignoring the poor. As a psychologist, I work with people with severe mental illness and addiction problems aka the poorest of the poor. It's my job week in and week out. Still I don't hear anything about it from my fellow Catholics. Oh sure, they give me a pat on the back, but how many of them (and how many of you) would serve these people, go to where I work, and--shocker here--get out of your nice neighborhoods and go the places and households where these people reside. Instead, I hear endless talk about defending life and defending the sanctity of marriage.


Now don't get me wrong. I'm just as pro life and pro traditional marriage as anyone else on this site. In fact I've put my life in jeopardy a few times because of my views (ie I've had weapons pointed at me). How many of you can claim that?


Here's my question and my challege: Will you help the least of us in this advent season? Will you step out of the ranks of safety and dare to help someone or a family in need? 12 years ago I was almost a Fransiscan friar and we were trained to look at the poor as Christ coming into our lives. Do you?

--hide--
David -- you've posted a good challenge, and I don't think you'll get beat up for it. I do believe there are more people helping the less fortunate on a direct basis than you think. A lot of people just don't toot their horns about it.

As for myself, I work with homeless people in a shelter situation. On occasions, I have an opportunity to meet with a relative in his or her home or apartment. All of this takes place in an inner city setting -- high crime rate zip code areas. The main point I want to make about this is that the shelter functions because of volunteers who come to the shelter to assist the neediest of the needy. There are people who regularly pick up food from local stores and bring it to the shelter; some help with the AODA program; others teach homeless people on a one-on-one basis to help them obtain a GED. The main concern of these volunteers is to help those who have no other place to go. The reasons are varied, but there are several with mental illness and/or alcohol or drug related problems. Some homeless people have criminal records; among those are for violent crimes. Yet, this dedicated group perseveres.

It is apparent to me that they are tending to the "least of our brethren", without fanfare, plaques or awards. People of many faiths make this work -- Christians, Muslims, Jews, and more.

As Jesus said, the ""poor will always be with us" but that doesn't mean that we just ignore those in need. Some are just down on their luck. Even among the volunteers, the loss of a paycheck or two would result in their being out on the street.

There are other shelters functioning in the same manner. Not everyone can or is expected to be with them, as we are all given different gifts and talents. It's important to recognize their presence and do what we can to alleviate their miseries. The homeless people are entitled to dignity and God-given human rights because they, too, are made in God's image.

Sometimes it's difficult to see Jesus in other people; we need to make a conscientious effort to remember this.

Treatment programs are beneficial, but local government resources often don't include enough funding for successful programs. The downtrodden need voices to speak for them.

Dec 10th 2012 new

(Quote) Ray-566531 said: David -- you've posted a good challenge, and I don't think you'll get beat up for it. I...
(Quote) Ray-566531 said:

David -- you've posted a good challenge, and I don't think you'll get beat up for it. I do believe there are more people helping the less fortunate on a direct basis than you think. A lot of people just don't toot their horns about it.

As for myself, I work with homeless people in a shelter situation. On occasions, I have an opportunity to meet with a relative in his or her home or apartment. All of this takes place in an inner city setting -- high crime rate zip code areas. The main point I want to make about this is that the shelter functions because of volunteers who come to the shelter to assist the neediest of the needy. There are people who regularly pick up food from local stores and bring it to the shelter; some help with the AODA program; others teach homeless people on a one-on-one basis to help them obtain a GED. The main concern of these volunteers is to help those who have no other place to go. The reasons are varied, but there are several with mental illness and/or alcohol or drug related problems. Some homeless people have criminal records; among those are for violent crimes. Yet, this dedicated group perseveres.

It is apparent to me that they are tending to the "least of our brethren", without fanfare, plaques or awards. People of many faiths make this work -- Christians, Muslims, Jews, and more.

As Jesus said, the ""poor will always be with us" but that doesn't mean that we just ignore those in need. Some are just down on their luck. Even among the volunteers, the loss of a paycheck or two would result in their being out on the street.

There are other shelters functioning in the same manner. Not everyone can or is expected to be with them, as we are all given different gifts and talents. It's important to recognize their presence and do what we can to alleviate their miseries. The homeless people are entitled to dignity and God-given human rights because they, too, are made in God's image.

Sometimes it's difficult to see Jesus in other people; we need to make a conscientious effort to remember this.

Treatment programs are beneficial, but local government resources often don't include enough funding for successful programs. The downtrodden need voices to speak for them.

--hide--



Hello Ray,


Thank your for your very thoughtful reply. It touched upon a lot of issues we are facing in this arena. And you're right about Jesus' words: the poor you will always have among you. I heard one priest say in a sermon that the poor are with us to insure that the rest of us don't go to hell. Maybe that's and extreme way of putting it, but the truth is there.

You are also right in the frustration experienced by a lot of us who can't get clients into the right kind of treatment due to government funding (or lack thereof). It makes me sad when I see yet more cuts in this field, which is so necessary--if only we could get more people to advocate for these services that are so necessary. And people do, once I educate them.

While I don't think that we should toot our horns about our good works, there should be more consciousness raising that the poor are among us more than we thought (even the working poor) and there are effective ways of helping them, that therapy works and treatment works. More compassion should also be exercised in this arena as well. While there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is still someone in prison, (be it addiction or behind bars) I am not free.


Peace...

Dec 10th 2012 new
The only thing I get concerned about when it comes to social justice issues is that they end up being used to trivialize core matters of Catholic dogma and the interior spiritual life.

A lot of social-justice Catholics seem to have perverted Catholic social teachings and embraced social-welfare programs that don't address the core issues that keep people poor.

We need to be all of the above Catholics and not those who are conservative on social issues yet neglect the poor or only be liberal on poverty issue while embracing liberalism on matters such as Christ's Divinity, papal authority or family life.
Dec 10th 2012 new

(Quote) John-220051 said: The only thing I get concerned about when it comes to social justice issues is that they end up being use...
(Quote) John-220051 said: The only thing I get concerned about when it comes to social justice issues is that they end up being used to trivialize core matters of Catholic dogma and the interior spiritual life.

A lot of social-justice Catholics seem to have perverted Catholic social teachings and embraced social-welfare programs that don't address the core issues that keep people poor.

We need to be all of the above Catholics and not those who are conservative on social issues yet neglect the poor or only be liberal on poverty issue while embracing liberalism on matters such as Christ's Divinity, papal authority or family life.
--hide--



I hear what you are saying, John and you are correct. It's a hard balancing act to be an all of the above catholic.

Dec 11th 2012 new
I hear what you are saying, John and you are correct. It's a hard balancing act to be an all of the above catholic

>>It's really not a hard balancing act. It just requires proper catechesis. The "social-justice" types are the ones who are leading the rebellion against the Pope and the Church today.
Dec 11th 2012 new

(Quote) John-220051 said: I hear what you are saying, John and you are correct. It's a hard balancing act to be an all of the a...
(Quote) John-220051 said: I hear what you are saying, John and you are correct. It's a hard balancing act to be an all of the above catholic

>>It's really not a hard balancing act. It just requires proper catechesis. The "social-justice" types are the ones who are leading the rebellion against the Pope and the Church today.
--hide--
I'm speaking only from local experience, and haven't seen a rebellious nature against the Church or the Pope. Popes have produced many enciclycles about social justice, the poor, and so on. Respecting what they have said and acting upon those thoughts are hardly classified as rebellion. They are cooperating with the Church's teachings.

Social justice? Who presented the Beatitudes? What do they mean to us? They include both charity and social justice.

Charity involves caring for people's immediate needs. There is a logical emphasis on this because of the great needs people have. We, as fellow human beings, have an oblgation to help fulfill those needs. Some may look at it as a Band-aid approach, yet the need exists.

Social justice logically follows taking care of immediate needs so people can escape from needing charity. This is tremendously challenging because it involves a process with people. An example of this is a homeless person. Because of varying circumstances, people find themselves without a roof over their heads. Yes, a shelter can help that person temporarily (immediate need). Most shelters offer programs that will help people become "un-homeless" -- and that takes time. It could be that what a person needs is suitable employment with sufficient earnings to maintain a decent standard of living. The shelter where I volunteer offers various means to enable people to escape their plight.

We might think that some people got themselves into their predicaments, and that is certainly true in some cases. Let's take criminals who are in jail. Assuming they are guilty as charged, they are responsible for their misdeeds. But...even Jesus in His Beatitudes encourages us to visit those in prison. He did not abandon His concern about the imprisoned. He still wants us to afford them their dignity as human beings.

Do we see abuse? Yes, but it doesn't appear to be as widespread as people think. Note this is a subjective opinion.

I don't see a correlation between the rebellion of which you speak and social justice advocates. In fact, it seems the opposite is true. Our own faith is enhanced by our efforts. There's a conscious awareness of the needs of others and a more intense desire to live out the Beatitudes.

Lest I sound like a bleeding-heart liberal, I don't advocate federal involvement in many areas, simply because of the added layer(s) of bureaucracy and inefficiencies that result. And...even though we are aware of some abuse, it doesn't negate people's legitimate needs. We're often reminded that, "There but for the grace of God go I." It's true.

To better understand the true needs of people, it's helpful to become involved. Perspective changes -- dramatically in many instances.

To say there is rebellion instilled in social cause workers and volunteers seems to be a wide, unfair stretch.

Dec 11th 2012 new
I don't see a correlation between the rebellion of which you speak and social justice advocates. In fact, it seems the opposite is true. Our own faith is enhanced by our efforts. There's a conscious awareness of the needs of others and a more intense desire to live out the Beatitudes.

>>I'd say a lot of the ones I refer to come from a Liberation Theology approach.
Dec 11th 2012 new

(Quote) John-220051 said: I don't see a correlation between the rebellion of which you speak and social justice advocates. In f...
(Quote) John-220051 said: I don't see a correlation between the rebellion of which you speak and social justice advocates. In fact, it seems the opposite is true. Our own faith is enhanced by our efforts. There's a conscious awareness of the needs of others and a more intense desire to live out the Beatitudes.

>>I'd say a lot of the ones I refer to come from a Liberation Theology approach.
--hide--
There is some thinking along that line, although it is flawed.

True social justice doesn't involve a hand-out -- it calls for a hand-up -- to help people make it on their own.

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