Last week, members of the global Catholic Charities family (or Caritas, as Catholic Charities agencies are called in many countries), including a representative of Catholic Charities USA, had the great honor of meeting with our new Holy Father, Pope Francis.
To anyone who has followed Francis’ love and commitment to the least-fortunate in our midst, what he told them was hardly surprising: Charitable work grounded in our authentic Catholic identity is “an essential part of the Church,” and our work brings a spirit of “tenderness” to the work of the global Church.
Our Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America has always stressed the dual importance of living our lives with a commitment to both charity and justice, and in his remarks to the Caritas Internationalis representatives, Pope Francis highlighted the importance of not only addressing the immediate needs of those in need, but working to build systems that will enable to reach their full potential. “Caritas is not just for emergency situations as a first aid agency,” he said, “there is also a need to support them, to care for their development.”
We are so blessed to have a shepherd who is so crystal-clear in proclaiming that performing acts of charity and justice is at the very core of our faith: “A church without charity does not exist!” May his commitment to humility, simplicity, and the preferential option for the poor be an inspiration for all, regardless of their faith or background.
Catholic Charities USA’s Kathy Brown meets with Pope Francis