FORT WAYNE — The bishops of the Indiana dioceses and archdiocese have released a pastoral statement examining the issues of poverty in the Hoosier State. Titled “Poverty at the Crossroads: The Church’s Response to Poverty in Indiana,” the pastoral is published in this week’s issue of Today’s Catholic, pages 7-10.
The bishops write in the document: “We want to call attention to the poverty that exists right here within the state that calls itself the ‘Crossroads of America.’ We hope to help all of us better understand the many challenges facing our brothers and sisters here in Indiana and consider with you how our Church should respond.”
The pastoral uses the formula, “See, Judge, Act,” to invite and challenge everyone, “beginning with ourselves, to be more attentive to the poor in our communities, to identify the systemic issues that keep individuals and families poor, and to take concrete steps to reduce the long-term impact of poverty in our state, even as we reach out and help those who, here and now, suffer from its devastating effects,” the pastoral states.
Catholics in the five dioceses of Indiana remain committed to serving those who are in immediate need through charitable agencies, parishes, schools and health care organizations.
The statement notes, “The generosity of our people is extraordinary and evident through thousands of hours of loving service every week across the length and breadth of our state. As bishops, we recognize the goodness of diverse people and institutions throughout Indiana, and we thank God for the love and compassion shown to so many of our brothers and sisters in their time of need.”
“We believe it is essential that we make a prayerful, honest assessment of how we arrived at where we are today,” the pastoral adds. “If we truly are going to identify the causes and manifestations of poverty and create a pathway for positive, long-term, and sustainable change, we must strengthen the foundations upon which individuals and families build economic stability and realize their hopes for the future.”
All priests, parish leaders, diocesan departments, Catholic schools and health care will receive an electronic version of the pastoral for careful reflection and study by not just Catholics but all Hoosiers. The pastoral is available in English as well as Spanish.
“We do not advocate an empty academic exercise but rather a necessary step towards making decisions that will lead to substantive change,” the bishops say.
The bishops’ pastoral offers some observations on family life, employment, education and health care.
After reading the pastoral, and reflection, Catholic entities or individuals are encouraged to complete a survey of questions which will have a link from the diocesan website, diocesefwsb.org.
Survey responses will be forwarded to the proper diocese by either choosing the diocese where one lives or by filling in one’s zip code. The survey will close May 1 and the results forwarded to the dioceses across the state.
The bishops say, “We invite and challenge everyone, beginning with ourselves, to be more attentive to the poor in our communities, to identify the systemic issues that keep individuals and families poor, and to take concrete steps to reduce the long-term impact of poverty in our state, even as we reach out and help those who, here and now, suffer from its devastating effects.”
Visit www.ReducePovertyIN.org to learn more about the Catholic Church’s efforts in Indiana to reduce poverty.
Visit these links to read the Pastoral Statement on Poverty in Indiana
Visit these links to take the survey.
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