A reader sez:
President Kennedy said:
“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth…”
The Roman Catholic Church in America should say and mean:
There are near 70 million Roman Catholics in the United States today. So, I believe the Roman Catholic Church in America should commit itself to achieving the goal within ten years of eliminating child poverty once and for all.
The Christian faith has achieved such feats as destroying slavery (a universal, immemorial institution) and creating a scientific revolution that has achieved astounding feat. There is no particular reason we couldn’t do this, except of course, the question of our own will. Typically, the reply to some proposal like this is “The poor you have with you always”–as though this was positive demand by Jesus to abandon the poor to their fate and a condemnation of care for the poor as always and everywhere utopianism and nothing but utopianism. As the verse about Canaan being a slave was beaten to death by apologists for chattel slavery and “wives be subject” was beaten to death by apologists for oppression of women, so this beloved proof text is beaten to death by people who, at the end of the day, wish to maintain the status quo of profound inequality that leaves a billion people in poverty, millions and millions of them children. Jesus remark is not a license for disregarding them. He calls us to ridiculous and outsized charity for the glory of God, not to “It’ll never fly so don’t even try” inertia. Children in poverty should be as outrageous and unacceptable to Americans as children in slavery, child prostitution, or the cannibalism of children.
I wonder what practical steps can be taken toward realizing this? I wonder who has been working on them? I wonder what I can do?