Is the Church doing enough for the poor?

I have been working with and alongside the poor and the homeless and I have found that the Church is doing very little to not only care for them but to promote independence. The other day I read that the Bishops of the U.S. were having a convention at this plush 4 to 5 star waterfront hotel while the homeless in the area were struggling to find there next meal. Even though the Catholic Church has been a leader in protecting and caring for the poor, our Bishops have lost focus on ‘The Lost Sheep’ and prefer siding with the upper class and the powerful seeking comfort and laxness to service and humility. If I were to grade them today I would give them a D+. The tepid/luke warm I will vomit them from my mouth sayith the Lord.

I am sure that this will come as a great shock to all of the people, including bishops, priests, deacons, religious and lay, who work at Catholic Charities and Catholic Community Services in every diocese. I am sure that the St. Vincent de Paul Society in every diocese will also be surprised, as well. So will the Catholic orphanages, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and halfway houses. We Knights of Columbus support Special Olympics in a very big way, as well, as well as many other charities, so I am sorry to hear that this is not a real apostolate.

Is the OP in the right forum?

There are always instances that you can find of an apparent “waste of money” which could be spent on good causes. However, giving out food for a few days by asking the Bishops to meet in a youth hostel instead wouldn’t actually solve anything in the long-term, as far as the homeless are concerned (sadly).

This is a joke, right?

Though there have been a couple of prominent and imprudent bishops in the news lately, the Catholic Church does more, nationally and locally, than any other religious entity I know of. Catholic Charities itself is 5th on the Forbes list of largest charities in the US - and that is just the national organization.

Add in all the other Catholic charitable efforts that a previous poster mentioned and you see just how ridiculous your statement is.

Chatter163, I come across homeless under bridges, sitting in their cars and in parks, in the libraries and many other locations. The homeless need more than handouts. They need a place where to lay their heads and to rest if ill. Have you ever been sick and needed to stay in bed and rest? Well, if they are lucky to stay in a armory or homeless park they must vacate it by early morning. Most facilities request that. Now, were do they go afterwards to heal themselves? You and I can just stay home and rest in a quiet warm place in our beds they can’t.
I see the local police stopping them if they stay in one place too long. They get thrown out of certain communities that promote ‘neighborhood watch’.
Continuing on, giving them one or two nights doesn’t help them too much. They need long term help. May I suggest a community of small 1 br. shack or buildings with 6 months agreements that can be renewed. Sleeping in the rain on wet concrete is not a comfortable place to lay ones head ‘And their was no place for them in the Inn’. We have many well intended Catholics but yet we need not look away from the homeless’ many needs.

No one wants to hear it but the OP has a point.

Everyone points to Catholic Charities and Mother Theresa but the US Bishops should lead by example. The Catholic Church outside of the US looks at the US Catholic Church as a bit hypocritical.


Dixieagle, it’s no joke. Why else would our Holy Father Francis bring it up if it wasn’t occurring? The poor need more attention to than just handouts. More work to be done. Yes, in the States we are big givers but most of it goes to administrative fees to the Charities in charge and very little gets out to the streets where it is needed. When was the last time you spend 10 minutes or even 5 minutes talking with a homeless? Once you do then you may begin to see their plight.

The Church and no church or non-profit can solve homelessness. Even the government can’t solve homelessness. I have worked with many homeless people during my life and the biggest problem that I have run into is alcohol and drug abuse. Some just won’t stop using it. I have set up people in apartments, new jobs and a few weeks or months later they are back abusing drugs, losing their jobs and being evicted from their apartment.

True, WKW_69 but we must not give up on them most especially if there are those who truly want to better themselves and/or have children and families.:slight_smile:

I tried to help homeless people, as well, in Mexico. Wow, was that a rude awakening. I learned it would take more than just giving them money to straighten that problem out. Some of them refuse to give up their addictions or have serious mental illnesses.

The above post has a similar experience to my own.

I’ve tried giving these people money and in kind assistance only to see them in the same hole the very next day.

I had talked to 2 homeless people who admitted to substance abuse problems. I said I’d take them in a taxi to a shelter for those with addictions where they’d at least have 3 meals a day and a roof over their heads. They preferred to live in the street and beg for money, instead.

I also offered 4 homeless medical treatment, at the Red Cross (here, they do medicine at a discount rate) that I would pay. All four refused.

Yes Clear Water, it is a rude awakening. Our challenge is to keep doing, as you are doing, as a caring individual and not get discouraged when some chose or can’t break away any addictions. Among them may be ones that truly need of our help.:slight_smile:

I don’t know, WilT, are you? It is easy to point the finger at the Church, but we are the church. We people make up the Body of Christ, The Church (, including yourself). The question should be put to each one of us- Am I doing enough to help the poor?

fare enough zab. It has been my experience and observation that I share along with my concerns. I’m out in the trenches doing what I can, as often as I can.

Think of it this way. Jesus told everyone to give everything up to follow him, and that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich men to enter into heaven right?

Would a poor Jewish carpenter who preached giving to the sick and needy really be thrilled that so much cash went towards the marble monolith that is St Peters?

Don’t get me wrong the Catholic Church is a big giver in medical care and education, it’s a great place to evangelize, been that way since the early days of the Church. Just…Yeah, just there’s a whole lot of a marble around and bling on the upper clergy but there’s still a whole lot of kids starving.

(Note: This is not a dig at Catholicism, I know there are other institutions like this, I’m just stating my own personal opinion concerning what the OP asked.)

Actually, I have spent time with homeless and poor people, as the life’s work of one of our daughters involves homeless pregnant women and their children/families, through Catholic-funded agencies, large and small. The larger agency she works with actually employs a significant number of former clients as community outreach workers. Our local Catholic Charities does stellar work, and my own parish always leads the way with its generosity, St. Vincent de Paul Society, and various other ministries to the poor and/or homeless, e.g., a “backpack ministry” which sends home with poor schoolchildren enough food to feed four people through a weekend.

There is always more that can be done, but to intimate that the Catholic Church is shirking its duty in this regard is simply wrong. (I argued strongly in a previous thread or two about bishops who planned extravagant retirement homes for themselves… just plain wrong. Common sense seems to have prevailed and curtailed those plans, I believe.)

A major issue is the problem of mental illness among the homeless and the lack of mental health programs for vets, who make up a significant percentage of homeless folks.

Are YOU, ME and all the rest of us doing enough individually for the poor?

Are not all of us capable of examining the life of another person and finding ways in which they can do more. But in truth we could have spent that time in a soup kitchen actually doing something.

It’s always best look at this stuff as it applies to ourselves rather than others

Most homeless people don’t want to have a home. They prefer to live free out of the societal rules and the required payments that come from not being a society outcast.

Trust me, my local parish is a hub for meals for them, and they posted a newspaper page that had a report with interviews where homeless people where saying this, in a board in the very room where they eat for the visitors or local Boy Scouts and others to see. Don’t think the Church is working through this. It was once the only that did so for centuries… :rolleyes:

“The poor you will always have with you”

I don’t see how paying for “big slabs of marble” and feeding the poor are mutually exclusive. Every time the Church pays for a furnishing, a building, or any kind of improvement, the money goes into the economy. Don’t marble cutters deserve their wages? Don’t artisans deserve a market for their goods?

My parish has commissioned some rather large sculptures as altar pieces in recent years. The commission was given to a very poor artist who lives in Mexico. Because of our patronage, he is able to feed his family in the long term and provide for their needs. Also, he has honest and legitimate work doing what he loves. What could be a better exchange than this?

Furthermore, is the public not better served by having this art in an accessible place where it can be viewed and appreciated, where it can lift the mind and soul to worship of the Holy Trinity? What better place than a public parish church where all may benefit from its presence? If we decided to be a poorer church and sold all our furnishings to feed the poor, then those furnishings would be locked away in private residences and for the edification of nobody but the owner. What good would that be?

The Church is the steward of goods entrusted to her by the community. Therefore it is incumbent upon the Church to make those goods perpetually accessible by the faithful for their use in worship and liturgy. It is also incumbent to use the finest furnishings possible given the means of the parish or community. Nothing less would be fitting for the glory of God.

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