Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Does Catholic Charities Did To Become More Spiritual

Let me say I am not bashing Catholic Charities. What this post references could be done to other Catholic groups all that do good work.

The Washington Post ran a great article on a group of young Catholic young people that are giving serious radical witness to the poor in the D.C. It has gotten some buzz on the Internet in Catholic and non Catholic circles. See A Not-So-Simple Life

Now after this article ran a wonderful online discussion ran that included the writer fo the article and tow of the subjects of the article. People were able to ask all three questions. I think it is a important must read to the article. One is struck that there were a segment of questions that were a tad hostile and some could not understand why these folks had made promises to remain chaste while working here.

But one of the subjects brought up a interesting question and I would love if anyone involved in groups such as Catholic Charities or the like could give their thoughts

Falls Church, Va.: Must saintliness be an all or nothing proposition? I know saintly people who work with really vulnerable needy people, who still hold jobs, have joie de vivre, and a rich family life.
Second question: wouldn't these people be more effective in helping the targeted population if they were trained in social work, or community organizing, or other skills?

Clark Massey: 1st Question: I think that we must give our lives to God. This can't be a 80/20% or even 99/1% proposition. The Bible talks about dying to self and being reborn. This is 100%.
Christians should strive to be saints at least as hard as a businessman tries to make a million or a drug addict strives for a fix.
2nd Question: I don't know. This is a mystery to me. Social workers are very important, and we constantly take people we know to social workers for help. There is a shortage of social workers, but there is also a shortage of friends/missionaries.
There is something about social work that troubles me. It is built on materialistic premises, and the now dated work of Msgr Furfey and Mary Elizabeth Walsh talk about this problem. I think that all of Christianity will start rethinking social work in the next few decades. It is hard to imagine, but I think that Catholic Charities will be more spiritual in the near future. As a whole, society is getting tired of secularism and materialism

I for one am not familar with this work. This comes ups again

Falls Church Va. (again): I don't understand the response about the materialistic basis of social work, and I am unfamiliar with the two authors you cited. What is "materialistic" about it? I am also thinking about the example in the article about the difficulty of helping the woman with several children keep them in decent schools that were arranged for her children.

Clark Massey: By materialistic basis, I mean that it tends to ignore the spiritual and supernatural. Social Work is a social science, and as a science, it limits itself to the material world.

Most people think that the material world is real, but they also know that the real world isn't limited to the material world.
I look forward to people of faith rethinking social work and helping it to encompass more of human life. Pope Benedict's first letter addressed this topic, and I hope that starts the ball rolling for a big reform.
Please don't think that I'm slamming material help. We spend a lot of time materially helping people


No comments: