Monday, March 9, 2015

Listening to the Poor.

"We need to hear stories of the poor and sympathize with their experiences. We need to gather these stories and understand the meaning of poverty, and work to change the structures that permit it."

Catholic Times has an article on the director of the Jesuit Research Center for Advocacy and Solidarity and above is a quote from the director that begins the article. The center works for the  advancement of the rights of the poor and  their  property rights. The director maintains the Church has to be in solidarity and relate with them on an equal  footing.  

Society has  developed but the number of the poor continues to increase. Faces of the poor are many and different: the sick, those because of accidents can't work,  those looking for work,  irregular workers, foreign workers.... 

We have abolished absolute poverty but our development has brought in another type of poverty caused by a lack of technological skills and resources.  At present poverty means being handicapped  financially. The need for both husband and wife to  join the work force is an indication of the change.

One example of this situation would be two students in elementary school. One student  is going to an academy after school and goes traveling with parents  on vacation, the other  child does not. This child will feel deprived in comparison, and the parents feel a burden.

The International Monetary Fund's entrance into Korea decreased the middle class. And those living in poverty increased. A graduate of an engineering school lost his job and began working as a taxi driver. He was a member of the middle class but his life style  changed. We need to move from support for big industry to  a win-win society for the workers: concern for the unemployed, irregular workers and daily workers and work for their betterment.

The director mentions the problem with structures of poverty and the gap between the rich and poor which we have also in the church. In many ways she helps the poor but the poor don't find it easy to approach the church because of time and financial burdens.  They feel more at home in a large Church community than a smaller  and more  active one.

To  help the poor in parishes, industry and organizations, he concludes, is not simply raising funds and sharing it with the poor. The Church needs to be in solidarity with the poor, be one with them and  speak together with them of  the joy of the Gospel.