Ross Chmiel (Letters, 10 July) is under the impression that “if it had made it a priority, the Church could make a real, positive and lasting contribution to the quality of life for poor people all over the world, including here in Scotland”.
The Catholic Church is the world’s second largest international development body (after the UN), and the second largest humanitarian agency (after the Red Cross).
Caritas Internationalis, the 60-year-old Rome-based confederation of 165 national bodies of Catholic charities in more than 200 countries, estimates its combined budget at more than $5 billion (£3.2bn). In Africa, the Church runs a quarter of all the hospitals and provides around 12 million school places each year. Globally, it runs more than 5,000 hospitals, 17,500 dispensaries and 15,000 homes for the elderly, along with tens of thousands of schools.
The Catholic Church is indeed the largest and most influential actor in global civil society.
In the UK, the Church is a massive contributor to the common good of the nation, conspicuous at the sharp edge of society, caring for those whom society has either left behind or scorns – the elderly, the disabled, children, young offenders, the homeless, migrants without papers, travellers and gypsies, seafarers; Aids sufferers, prisoners, alcoholics, drug addicts and prostitutes.
As for the Church’s appeal to raise money for its marriage campaign, please be aware the Church believes that marriage is a natural institution between a man and a woman; other kinds of union are not marriage.
This is not an anti-gay rights position, but a pro-marriage one. As always, the Church is doing its best to serve the common good of society, unfortunately, many people still fail to see this.
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