Monday, July 18, 2011

Drought, Starvation, Death, Request for Help - But No Pressure

There's more to being a Catholic than contemplating how needy some folks are. There's also doing something about it:
"Catholic aid agency appeals for help as 10 million face starvation in East Africa"
CNA (Catholic News Agency) (July 17, 2011)

"The U.K.-based Catholic Agency for Overseas Development is appealing to the world on behalf of 10 million East Africans facing starvation and death due to a severe drought.

" 'As we are talking now, we're seeing 10 million people at risk,' said the agency's International Director Geoff O'Donoghue, in a July 9 Vatican Radio interview. 'We are trying to get resources to put clean water, medicine and food alongside these communities – to get alongside people and support them to survive.'

"Some aid workers say this year's drought conditions in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan are the worst in living memory. O'Donoghue noted that no rains will likely arrive until October, 'and even then they're not guaranteed.'...

"...He described the Catholic agency's work in East Africa as 'urgent and immediate' in a 'life-saving way,' and said the simplest way to donate is through the website at"

Catholic Agency Unfair - Sort Of

Catholic Agency for Overseas Development isn't, in one sense of the word, "fair." Water, food, medicine, and shelter for folks who have had to move isn't being distributed equally. The youngest and the oldest folks get top priority.

Somehow, I don't see a problem with that.

Who Cares About the Poor?

There isn't, generally, a fast payback for being generous with worldly goods. Sure, sometimes you'll get a 'thank you,' but that's not something you can take to the bank.

For many folks in America - and a fair number of other countries - giving a few bucks to some charity, in the short run, means one less movie, or maybe going to a fast-food place instead of a fancy restaurant.

In the long run, I think charity pays back. Big time. But the 'return' on helping folks elsewhere, so they can help us stay prosperous through trade and mutual aid - that can take generations. And, like everything else in this world, it's not a sure thing.

So: Why bother helping the poor? Who cares?

The Catholic Church, for one:
"...The hungry nations of the world cry out to the peoples blessed with abundance...."
(Populorum Progressio, Encyclical of Pope Paul VI on the Development of Peoples (March 26, 1967))
Then there's Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2443-2449, on why it's a good idea to help the poor.

The Vatican didn't make that up. The 'help the poor' directive came from a higher authority: as noted in Matthew 25: 35-40, for example.

No Pressure

Do I think you 'have to' rush out and give money to

I really don't know. Besides, as I've pointed out before, I'm "some guy with a blog." I don't have the authority to tell you to do anything.

However, I don't think it could hurt to think about sending some help to the folks in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan. Maybe it's something you can pray about: and see what comes after that.

But, hey: no pressure.

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.