Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) [on Monday] launched the much-anticipated Catholics Confront Global Poverty initiative. Introduced at the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering on Capitol Hill, the two-year nationwide effort calls upon one million Catholics to confront global poverty by defending the life and dignity of people living in poverty throughout the world and to urge our nation to act and advocate.
Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace at the USCCB, announced the launch of the initiative, followed by Ken Hackett, President of CRS. Both speakers urged Catholics throughout the country to help educate and mobilize their fellow Catholics in confronting the many faces of poverty around the globe.
“We are part of a worldwide community of faith,” said Hackett. “Both CRS and the USCCB listen carefully to the Church in developing countries as we seek to serve the needs of the poorest members of the human family.”
The Catholics Confront Global Poverty initiative focuses its efforts on seven key areas that require more attention to effectively confront global poverty: promoting comprehensive foreign assistance reform; completing the debt relief agenda; addressing global climate change; promoting reform of U.S. trade and agriculture policies; supporting transparency, participation and consent of local communities in natural resource development; employing significant resources in peace building; and addressing the root causes of migration.
“Catholics throughout the country can help address these very important issues through prayer, learning, advocacy, education and giving, the five main pillars of action for this initiative,” says Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, Chairman of CRS’ Board of Directors. “There are countless stories of poor persons and communities all over the world rising above crushing poverty. Our mission as Catholics is to stand in solidarity with them and help them in this fight.”
The Catholics Confront Global Poverty initiative was inspired by Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 World Day of Peace Message, Fight Poverty to Build Peace , in which our Holy Father declares: "Effective means to redress the marginalization of the world’s poor through globalization will only be found if people everywhere feel personally outraged by the injustices in the world and by the concomitant violations of human rights."
Background information, sign-up instructions, action alerts, podcasts and other information is all available on the new Catholics Confront Global Poverty website: www.usccb.org/globalpoverty or www.crs.org/globalpoverty . The new site allows visitors to take action and access real stories of people harmed by global poverty. The site also includes a variety of resources for use by families, parish youth groups, college campuses, religious communities, catechists and other groups that wish to participate in the initiative.