June 5, 2015

Letters to the Editor

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Reader: When it comes to the poor, let’s lay aside our ideologies and refuse to become ‘indifferent’

In a recent letter published in the May 15 issue of The Criterion, a reader thanks Rep. Todd Rokita for asking why government should fund what Christians are called to do in the Gospels.

Each government effort to solve these various problems results in higher taxes, overregulation, price controls, etc. The conclusion is inescapable: “Government, especially at the federal level, is the most inefficient way to accomplish just about everything.” The only solution lies with “states, charities and churches.”

As a member of the Nativity conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul responsible for coordinating home visits to clients in need of appliances, furniture and utility financial assistance in Franklin Township, I want to put the proposed solution to a test.

The trustee’s office is charged with providing poor relief through property taxes. However, 30 pages of regulations can limit carrying out this charge. If the trustee can’t help for one reason or another, what charity can help?

Fortunately, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has a working financial relationship with the trustee’s office. Unfortunately, our conference bank account does not have the resources available to the trustee, so we can’t provide more than a fraction of the financial assistance needed by the client.

If the charity can’t help, the solution calls for the trustee to ask for financial help from a church.

The biggest church in the township, Indian Creek, did offer to help the trustee until it ran short on finances for assisting the poor.

The reality is this solution comes up well short of solving the poor problem, yet as we Christians know, we will always have the poor with us. The motivation is there; after all, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).

Let’s lay aside our ideologies and, as Pope Francis says, refuse to allow ourselves to become “indifferent.”

- Terry Daley | Indianapolis

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