Monday, September 21, 2009


WASHINGTON—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) announced that they have reached over 250,000 Catholics through their Catholics Confront Global Poverty initiative, a renewed nationwide effort to address the root causes of global poverty through education and advocacy. In less than seven months, they have reached one quarter of their goal to mobilize one million Catholics.

Launched in February 2009 on the heels of Pope Benedict XVI's 2009 World Day of Peace Message on “Fighting Poverty to Build Peace,” Catholics Confront Global Poverty calls on Catholics to learn about and share the stories of those struggling to rise above extreme poverty, to pray for the poorest members of our human family, and to advocate with policy makers on behalf of poor people worldwide.

“The global financial crisis is having a devastating impact on people here and the poor around the world, and the progress that has been made could be wiped out for decades to come,” said Ken Hackett, CRS President. “In a world where an estimated 1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty, the message of the Church is clear. As Catholics, we are called to help our brothers and sisters in need.”

With the release of his latest Encyclical Letter, Caritas in Veritate , Pope Benedict XVI reiterated his plea for richer nations to stand with people living in poverty and take action, especially in light of the global financial crisis.
“Through support for economically poor countries by means of financial plans inspired by solidarity … not only can true economic growth be generated, but a contribution can be made towards sustaining the productive capacities of rich countries that risk being compromised by the crisis,” said Pope Benedict.

“Pope Benedict tells us that fighting global poverty and alleviating the financial crisis are not conflicting goals,” said Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, N.Y., Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace. “In fact, by serving the world’s poor, we encourage human development and create a stronger foundation for the global economy. That is just one way Catholics can make a difference as part of this initiative.”

To date, more than 250,000 Catholic individuals in parishes, schools, religious communities of men and women, and universities have been connected to grassroots efforts to raise awareness of global poverty. In addition to social networking, presentations and prayer, many of them have sent messages to and visited with their elected officials regarding key legislative issues that require attention to fight global poverty.

This grassroots advocacy is already paying off. Last July, the tremendous response from U.S. Catholics to resist cuts to the Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill helped to protect funding for poverty-focused initiatives.

“This is a great example of how our advocacy work benefits those we serve overseas while at the same time providing opportunities for Catholics to act on their faith and join in the work of CRS,” Hackett said.

For more information on Catholics Confront Global Poverty, visit or .

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