Do we help the poor if we do not ask why they are poor ? (Dom Helder Camera) Heads of Catholic Social Justice Agencies (including the St Vincent de Paul Society), attended the launch of Social Justice, Guidelines for Action and Fundraising in Schools and Parishes recently. Bishop Long introduced the guidelines…
“We are proud of the fact that there is a heightened consciousness for social justice and solidarity with the poor on the part of the young people entrusted to our care. It is a by-product of our Catholic ethos which calls us to attitudes and actions modelled on those of Christ in respect of the vulnerable and the oppressed – the least of our brothers and sisters.
“These attitudes and actions, however, need to be in symphony with our identity and mission. This is why we have these guidelines to assist us.
“Frequently, schools and parishes are asked to engage and support valuable causes, which may be from within or from outside the Catholic sector. These guidelines have been formulated to help us discern and make decisions regarding our social engagement and fundraising.
- They serve to educate school principals, staff groups and parishioners on the breadth of services provided by the Archdiocesan agencies in line with our mandate from scripture, Church tradition and the principles Catholic Social Teaching;
- That the services provided by the agencies are not restricted to those in the Catholic community but are there for the well-being of all in the community, be it locally in Melbourne, nationally or internationally
- The choice of the quote from Dom Helder Camara (late Bishop of Recife, Brazil) is to invite people to understand and engage in the causes of poverty, marginalization and discrimination in our society and the world. The quote “Do we help the poor if we do not ask why they are poor?” provides a challenge for us to enter into a new understanding of our commitment as Christians and to live out the Church’s three fold responsibility of proclaiming the Word of God, celebrating the sacraments and exercising the ministry of charity (Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est #25 2006)
“Dear friends, I hope the launch of these guidelines today will renew our commitment to be who we are as followers of Christ within the mission of the Catholic Church community. Charity, as Pope Benedict says, is an integral part of the Church’s nature and an indispensable expression of her being. Therefore, let us commit ourselves more resolutely to the path of love and service, thus living out the call to be life giving people: “I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.”
Tags: Change, social justice, SVDP, Systemic change