Catholic church helps the community

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Catholic church helps the community

PHOTO BY BILL ERICKSON

PHOTO BY BILL ERICKSON

PHOTO BY BILL ERICKSON

By Pablo Villasenor, CONTRIBUTOR

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With a mountainous number of misleading media stories and societal pressures, the Catholic Church has become known as the dogmatist, hypocritical, judgemental, forcefully indoctrinating organization that people shy away from supporting or getting themselves involved with.
Yet many people don’t know that the Catholic Church is also one of the top aid agencies in the world. Instead, a Google search of ‘catholic church news,’ produces stories on their sexual abuse epidemic. This terrible scandal overshadows everything else and everything the Church does is overlooked.
This is a shame because the Church operates more than 140,000 schools, 10,000 orphanages, 5,000 hospitals, and around 16,000 other health clinics, yet receives little to no recognition for any of these contributions to the world.
Caritas, who runs Catholic aid agencies, estimates that its affiliates’ spending total is between $2.6 billion and $5.2 billion, making the Church one of the biggest aid agencies in the world and these numbers do not even include half of the Church’s total spending.
Caritas does not include the spending by a host of religious orders and other Catholic charities. Of all 200,000 Catholic parishes around the world, most have their own small-scale charitable projects which are not officially documented.
Catholic Daughters of the Americas is one of the largest women’s organizations in the Americas, with their motto being “Unity and Charity.” They donate to charities, administer scholarship programs and strive to be helping hands where there is pain, poverty, sorrow or sickness. A local chapter in St. Felicitas, San Leandro has done tremendous things for the community without much recognition, just like many other Catholic organizations contributing to society.
Perhaps the fact that religion is involved tends to discourage news organizations from publishing any of their impact on the community. Not only should the fact that this organization is an aid to society be publicized, but news sources should make an effort to correctly frame that their moral acts stem from the faith and love they have for what they believe to be God.
As unusual as that may sound to many people, it’s the truth and the news media is breaking their moral obligation by not reminding the public of that. The world should know who is giving back to them no matter who it is, and the public’s beliefs shouldn’t be skewed by the news media leaving out the Catholic Church in that regard.
The public should also be aware that there are different motivators for people to give back to their community such as religion, which once again is one of the most impactful yet underrated.
According to a member of Catholic Daughters of America chapter of St. Felicitas, Maria Arechiga, their team donated almost $6,000 in 2018 to organizations such as Birthright, Apostleship of the Sea, Wounded Warriors, Smile Train, and organizations helping victims of the recent Carr Fire of California.
Arechiga explained that their organization does not believe in just prayer to get the job done, but also in doing things for others.
“I don’t think the news media sees our contributions as news because the Church has always done this and the ones who’ve been around and continue to do the work and go unnoticed,” she said. “It’s the same reason teachers don’t receive recognition for teaching — because they’re expected to teach and that’s not news.”
The Catholic Church actually has a lot of the same morality driven goals as the majority of the public but the few outlying Christian beliefs offset everything both parties agree on. The “Pro-Life” movement, for example, is supported by the Catholic Church but is looked down upon by most Bay Area residents.
According to isidewith.com, a political data analytics website, it is dominantly believed to be morally correct to enforce the freedom of a woman to have an abortion and morally wrong to deny a woman of this right.
This outlier of the many beliefs the Church actually has in common with society has caused a block between anyone non-religious and religious because the beliefs that are shared between the two groups are not publicized. Not only do believers and non-believers share many of the same moral values, but they have a lot more in common than one would assume.
“There’s obviously our religious motivation and then our normal human motivation but at the end of the day we’re doing what we can for our community and that’s what matters most,” said member of Divine Mercy Catholic Youth Group, Luis Diego Jimenez.