Gary Skinner: Catholic Church helping poor

June 22, 2013 

Catholic Church helping poor

In response to a June 9 letter (“Calling on Catholics”) questioning the Roman Catholic Church’s involvement during “Moral Mondays”: I share my view of how the church in eastern North Carolina (the Diocese of Raleigh) is serving and witnessing on behalf of “the stranger, the orphan, the widow.”

Catholic Charities provided outreach to more than 64,500 people in 18,360 families in the past year. Two-thirds of these families were living at or below the Federal Poverty Level; indeed, 9,000 families we served earned less than $11,525 per year (for a family of four) – less than half of the poverty rate – the “extremely poor.” These families were provided with donated food and clothing; funds for housing, prescriptions or utilities; support and guidance to attain economic security; family counseling; or support to maintain a healthy and safe family life, among our services.

Catholic Charities receives 25 percent of its budget from individual donors and 28 percent of its budget from a contribution by the church. This rate of support from the diocese is among the highest in the country. These funds are kept separate from contributions for the new Catholic Cathedral.Providing services to poor and vulnerable families is not enough, though, and Catholics are involved in the struggle to enact policies which are in keeping with the teachings of our faith: to create opportunities for families to gain economic security and to live lives of dignity.

I provide a few examples: Our Bishop, Michael F. Burbidge, co-sponsored an effort among faith leaders which produced a statement hat concludes with, “We urge all Christians to witness to their faith in seeking justice and mercy for all.” The church speaks consistently in support of comprehensive immigration reform, which, when it occurs, will be a significant anti-poverty action.

Catholic Charities trains volunteers at food pantries and parishes to assess families’ needs and connect them with agencies to help them “up the economic ladder.”

Be assured that the Catholic Church is far from silent, or inactive, on issues that prevent families from living lives which reflect the dignity and sacredness of life with which each of us is created.

Gary Skinner

Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh

Raleigh

The length limit was waived to give a fuller response.

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