Monday, November 30, 2009
TRUE CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION
Hi everybody. I got this touching story below in an email from a good friend. I thought I would pass it on to you.
I know many progressives are sour on the Catholic Church due to its often very conservative stand on social issues (especially concerning a woman's reproductive rights), the fact that a number of its clergy have openly advocated voting Republican at times, and last week a bishop even went so far as to publicly single out Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D, RI) and ask him to refrain from taking communion due to his support for women's right to choose (even though they made no such request of the Republicans who voted as a bloc against the current health reform bill containing the Stupak amendment). Those are indeed very controversial acts the Catholic Church has taken. But that Church has also many times manifested a more liberal bent in other areas (which I encourage), and has played an activist role in helping the poor, both domestically and internationally. Yes, they may be sitting on a fortune in medieval art treasures, but they also have a large number of nuns, priests, and ordinary people working out in the field among and providing aid to the underprivileged in poor areas throughout the world. In that endeavor, I support them unhesitatingly and wholeheartedly.
Bear in mind that in presenting this email bwlow to you today, I am not acting as a sales agent of, or advocate for, the Catholic Church. I simply DO like to give credit where credit is due, and I support rather than discourage THIS type of church activism. It is true Christianity in action!
So DO keep this in mind, and, rather than merely castigating that Church this Christmas season, let's give this aspect of it our moral, if not financial, support. For this time of year is when we are supposed to be giving to the less fortunate and building up good efforts rather than tearing them down. I will not tear anyone down as they are reaching out to the poor. We need far more of this sentiment and action in our world today, even as many of us ourselves are suffering and struggling with unemployment, underemployment, ever-rising costs, and flat wages. Oh, and those of you who may have been recipients of gigantic Bush tax cuts for the wealthy in recent years: remember this. Thank you for your understanding.
To learn more about relief efforts of the Catholic Church, or to help their charitable cause by purchasing gifts for your friends or family from their gift catalog, go to http://gifts.crs.org/. (MY APOLOGIES FOR NOT PROPERLY HYPERLINKING THE WEBSITE ADDRESSES IN THIS POST. THEY ARE ACCURATE, THOUGH).
November 30, 2009 Forward to a Friend
The season of Advent is upon us, and as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior, I ask you to read two incredible stories relayed by Catholic Relief Services staff that I must share with you.
First is from Father David Garcia, who often travels around the United States talking to Catholic grade-school children about our responsibility to those in need overseas. He told us of one fifth-grader who asked his parents not to give him any gifts last Christmas and donate that money to combat malaria instead. This boy had learned how malaria, which can easily be prevented, kills thousands of children each year in developing countries. His simple sacrifice helped save lives.
Father Garcia says, "That fifth-grader is smarter than most of us. He certainly is more compassionate and puts his faith into action more than most people. He is one bright sign of hope in an often darkened world. He lives out a spirit of thanks."
Read about one of CRS' malaria programs in Angola, where the disease is the country's number one killer, and how the distribution of nets and medicines is making a difference. The account can be found at http://gifts.crs.org/health/angola/index.cfm.
The second story comes from John Rivera of our communications department, who just returned from Haiti—one of the poorest nations on earth. There he met a little girl who proudly carried a High School Musical backpack, and John mentioned that his own daughter was a huge fan. The next thing John knew, the girl had emptied out her books and came rushing back to give the backpack to him to take home to his daughter.
Imagine, this little girl was willing to part with what was surely one of her few worldly possessions to give it to someone she would never meet. I am reminded of our generous donors, who reach out to help families overseas whom they will never know.
And the backpack? John, thinking quickly, gently declined the gift, explaining that his daughter already had a bookbag. Could he photograph the girl holding it to show his daughter instead? The girl agreed.
Children's hearts and instincts are so pure, and they often remind us that the act of giving can help us feel God's love working through us. As you embark on your holiday shopping, I hope you will be inspired by these children to give meaningful gifts from our Gift Catalog for those you love, and help bring joy to the world.
Wishing you a peaceful Advent,
Catholic Relief Services
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And, I might add, even if you do not purchase from their catalogue or donate in support of their relief, please do encourage their efforts and those of similar agencies this season. Joyeaux Noel!