Father Gregory Gay, CM, former Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity, was recently interviewed by the news agency Rome Reports, offering a reflection on how we as Vincentians understand charity from the charism of St. Vincent de Paul, and how we are acting at the root of the problems through the tools provided by Systemic Change.

Fr. Gregory says:

I ask people, I say, now the people you’ve helped are they any better off now then they were 10 years ago when you started helping them? And if you say no, then really is that charity? Is that a sign of God’s love helping people to grow in their humanity? It’s not.

The idea is how do you help those who are poor rise up from their poverty. Instead of giving them a hand out, our idea is giving them a hand up, so that they can become more responsible for their own lives.

A change of perspective also present in Pope Francis “Evangelii Gaudium”:

The need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed, not only for the pragmatic reason of its urgency for the good order of society, but because society needs to be cured of a sickness which is weakening and frustrating it, and which can only lead to new crises. Welfare projects, which meet certain urgent needs, should be considered merely temporary responses. As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality is the root of social ills.
Evangelii Gaudium no. 202

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