ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

H.O.W. Can The Catholic Church Help The Poor: A Moment With Bill Reflection

Updated on August 12, 2014

Some Background

Since its early days, the Roman Catholic Church has been one of the largest landowners in the world, but that is just the tip of the iceberg when discussing the wealth of the Catholic Church.

In addition to real estate, the Church owns billions of dollars in gold, stocks, bonds and physical property other than land. Because of the secrecy of the Church, it is practically impossible to even guess at an exactly figure of its net worth, but experts agree that it is quite possibly a greater possessor of material riches than any other single institution, corporation, bank, or trust in the world, and most definitely greater than most nations.

To illustrate this point, let’s take a closer look at just one archdiocese in the United States, namely the Boston Archdiocese. The estimated real estate value for the Archdiocese of Boston is $1.4 billion. Meanwhile, there are 2.069 million members in that archdiocese and they give an average of $438 every year in contributions, which literally generates hundreds of millions per year.

And that is just one archdiocese among 2,795 dioceses in the world, with countless parishes residing within those dioceses and a total of over 1.2 billion Catholics.

You do the math.

The Catholic Church defines its purpose as three-fold: To spread the message of Jesus Christ; to administer the sacraments; and to exercise charity.

If you haven't got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.
Bob Hope

The church of my memories
The church of my memories | Source

Blessed Are the Poor

Poverty is defined as a lack of a certain level of possessions and money. It is a somewhat nebulous determination that changes with each nation. Absolute poverty, however, refers to people who are lacking necessities for life, namely food, shelter and the like. The World Bank estimates that there are currently 1.29 billion people, or slightly over one in seven, living in absolute poverty in the world.

This, of course, raises an interesting question.

There can be no doubt that the Catholic Church is involved in charitable activities. The following is a list of charitable organizations sponsored and/or owned by the Church in New York City alone:

  • Astor Home for Children
  • Cardinal Hayes Home for Children
  • Cardinal McCloskey School and Home for Children
  • Hayden House
  • Eight other nurseries and homes for children
  • Carmel Richmond Nursing Home
  • Ferncliff Nursing Home
  • Francis Schervier Home and Hospital
  • Jeanne Jugan Residence
  • Kateri Residence
  • Nine other homes for the aged
  • Benedictine Hospital
  • Bon Secours Community Hospital
  • Calvary Hospital
  • Good Samaritan Hospital
  • St. Anthony Community Hospital
  • St. Francis Hospital
  • St. Joseph’s Medical Center
  • St. Vincent’s Hospital
  • Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center

In addition, the Catholic Charities, located in Alexandria, Virginia, is the second largest social service provider in the United States, providing services to over eight million people each year in the United States, surpassed only by the United States government. A full 90% of donations goes directly to those in need, an admirable percentage in this day and age.

Catholic Relief Services, founded in 1943, provides aid to 90 different countries and over 130 million people each year.

Caritas International, a confederation of 164 relief agencies, services over 200 countries and territories and has been in existence since 1891.

The Bigger Picture

So, H.O.W. can the Catholic Church help the poor? The title of this article would appear to be misleading since obviously the Church does more than its share already, but I think, on a certain level, a central point is missed.

While I fully support feeding the hungry and providing clothing and shelter to the poor, I can’t help but wonder if more could be accomplished by putting the poor to work so that they can provide for themselves.

“give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”

The ancient proverb quoted above holds the key, I believe, to ending poverty in many nations around the world. Teach a man to fish….teach a man to support himself….give a man a means of providing his own basic needs.

Although I have always had problems with the Catholic Church, and although their recent scandals are certainly upsetting, there is no denying that they have done wondrous things to help the needy. That does not, however, mean that they cannot do more.

It is time for the Catholic Church to put the past behind it and move forward as a new leader in the world with regards to humanitarian issues. It is my hope that the new Pope Francis realizes this fact and acts as a spearhead for change. With strong, determined leadership I believe the Catholic Church can rise above the ugliness of the past and truly be a world leader in helping the poor.

Sit with me awhile

Here Is What I Would Love to See Happen

First, I want the Pope to do a world tour, and I want him to cast aside politics and forcefully denounce injustice in this world. I want him to travel to nations that are predominantly Catholic and I want him to be a beacon of transition. Meet with world leaders and demand change. Considering the fact that one in seven people are Catholic, this could be a meaningful action in the political arena.

Second, I want the Church to begin selling off land and using the proceeds to establish businesses that will put people back to work.

Third, I want other lands owned by the Church to become low-cost communities for the poor and homeless. I have no doubt that every major diocese in every major city has land that could be donated and restructured as low-income housing. It is time at least one civic leader in the world do something constructively to end homelessness, and who better to do that then the Catholic Church, which preaches charity?

Fourth, I want the Catholics of the world to start acting like Catholics. What would Jesus do? Well, what he wouldn’t do is turn his back on those who are suffering. What he wouldn’t do is speak one thing but live a different thing altogether. What he wouldn’t do is practice apathy and complacency when faced with enormous societal problems.

What he would do is use love as his guiding principle.

Putting five bucks in the collection basket does not absolve one of their sins, nor does it make one a good human being. Those things can only be accomplished by walking the talk.

Do you believe the Catholic Church could to more to help the needy?

See results

So There You Have It

Pope Francis, there is no need to thank me. I know you are appreciative of my suggestions and that’s good enough for me.

I will say that I believe you are a good man. You are burdened by tremendous responsibility and I’m sure it weighs on you daily. I am also sure that you want to do the right thing. I’m just helping you along in case you have forgotten that Jesus didn’t have a penny to his name and yet managed to leave a legacy that has lasted over two thousand years.

Imagine the legacy you could leave with the resources that you have at your disposal.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      letstalk, all very true. I also taught in the Catholic school system. I've seen it all, or seemingly so, and I totally agree with what you said. Thank you for sharing that.

    • letstalkabouteduc profile image

      McKenna Meyers 2 years ago from Bend, OR

      I attended Catholic schools for 12 years and then went on to teach at one. Although there's the stereotypical image of nuns (strict, humorless, etc.), that's only partially true. These hardworking, devoted women really sacrifice to help those in need. They are the leaders in the fight for social justice (in the trenches doing the grunt work), not just preaching at the pulpit. Last month I attended my nephew's ordination as a deacon (next year a priest) and saw how different it is for men. There's so much pomp and circumstance for them -- fancy vestments, years of study (6 to become a priest), and lots of special treatment. The whole thing reminded me of Richard Chamberlain in "The Thornbirds"! The nuns are the ones to admire for all their sacrifice and humility.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Larry! I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to do everything you can to help those who truly need it.

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 4 years ago

      Billybuc,

      I want to compliment Mklow for an excellent observation and to state I am full agreement with both of you. It takes people everywhere to make changes. I do not volunteer a lot of time and I could give a long list of reasons is but the bottom line is that we can all do more.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mklow, thank you my friend. The types of changes that we need to see in society must start with us. Waiting for corporations or governments or organizations to right wrongs is a long wait. There is so much that each of us can do....and by your comment I see that you understand that.

    • profile image

      Mklow1 4 years ago

      As always, you have written a well thought out and interesting article.

      While I read the article, I couldn't help but hear the words "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." (Ironically spoken by a Catholic! lol)

      I think this is where the problem is. We are waiting and expecting others to to more and do better, but not expecting any more from ourselves. As a member of the Catholic church, I don't think I have ever felt that the church could do more. But I have felt that I have not done enough. The failure lies, in ourselves. I do give money, but I rarely gave my time, until now. I think if there are changes to be made, they have to be made from within its members.

      I do feel exactly the same as you about the Pope. I hope he is an inspiration.

      Go to Ted Talks and watch William Ury. He is speaking on conflict, but your article makes me think of his "third side" reference. Thanks for the article.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, I do too. I have a good feeling about this Pope as a human being. I think he really cares.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      While the church does much to help the poor, I think that the new Pope is much more open to possible new opportunities to helping out around the world. Hopefully this gets to the right eyes.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You and me both, Rasma! Thanks for taking the time to visit and reflect.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up. There is always something more that can be done to help the needy. However at least the Catholic Church is trying. Made me wonder about others. Passing this on.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carly, it is a tough issue. We all could do more....and yes, we must start with our homes. That is where the true poverty in this country is.

      Thank you for that reminder and yes, it does sound like HOW. :)

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Hi Bill, I read this the other day, and then didn't know how to respond after reading all the comments. What do they say about religion and politics? Anyway, people seem to be very opinionated, some have valid reasons and some are speaking and not really clear on Catholisim.

      I grew up Catholic. I loved my Catholic up brining.

      I came back to make one little humble comment: Mother Theresa. She is the Catholic you write about above. She is an amazing Catholic nun who lived among and served the poorest of the poor.

      "We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty."

      Mother Teresa

      Sounds like H.O.W.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Next, indeed, Deb! LOL

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Vote passed. Next!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dahlia, I look forward to your smiles, so thank you once again. Sending you a hug and blessings my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzie, amazingly since I am a fallen Catholic, I have good feelings about this Pope and his intentions. There are little signs that point to the fact that there is a new sheriff in town and he plans on shaking things up, and I love his vitality and willingness to upset the applecart.

      Time will tell. Thanks for your perspective and as always, just for being you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Larry, patience is not needed. I love a good dialogue about matters such as this one. I'll have you know that I agree with every single point that you raised. My first intention was to point out the wonderful things that the Catholic Church has done and continues to do. I think in many ways the Church has gotten a horrible rap, and I don't think it is fair.

      There is still much to do, and there is much to do for all of us. This issues you raised are all valid and must be looked at if we are truly going to solve the problems in society.

      Well done and thank you!

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I like your point Bill, thank you. This is like an eye opener.

      Sending you smiles.

      Voted up and sharing!

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      Another well pointed H.O.W article on the Catholic Church. Not raised a catholic in "holy catholic Ireland" where I am in the 3% minority I have seen so many inhumane acts the catholic church has to answer for. Yes they have powers and money they could be putting to better use, I agree, and it is time for positive change which the new Pope is well placed to oversee. As Bill mentioned, we visited Vatican City and the art and wealth there is staggering. Pope Francis would do well to take your suggestions on board and start working on a new legacy to leave.

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 4 years ago

      I hesitate to write this, since I seem to be in something of a minority. We all agree churches could do more, and that includes the Catholic Church. However, Hawaiiandoysseus makes a very good point about when the boundaries of the church and state become blurred.

      I do want to repeat and maybe in a little more detail (I know I can get long winded) a problem that exists regarding the idea of the Catholic Church using its land to build youth centers or educational facilities, etc. Naturally, they would be opened to all denominations. However, if it is a Catholic owned and run facility, there will be a statue of Jesus, a statue or picture of Mary and a Crucifix in the building. That is going to bother some people.

      More importantly, at least in my city, is providing the method of getting the people to these facilities. Baton Rouge, LA, my hometown is a classic example of urban sprawl. You cannot get there from here. We have a bus system--woefully inadequate. There are not enough busses, the routes are too long and the fares are not all that cheap. So if you build a youth center on land that is near the church, it may not be available to the people who need it the most, those that belong to another Catholic parish in a poorer part of the city, which does not own land or have money to build. Money can be transferred, but land cannot be moved to a new location. As I noted last night, as a news reporter, I covered thousands of city council, parish (county) councils, zoning commissions, etc. (over a 16 year period) and people do not want certain facilities in their back yard. There is a plot of land in my city between the Catholic Hospital, which is a Regional Medical City and a Trauma I emergency room, and a Catholic Nursing Home, that does not accept Medicaid patients, because the reimbursement by Medicaid does not cover the cost of care provided by that facility. In the middle of those two facilities, is a lage area of land. There has been talked of building a halfway hourse, or a home or unwed mothers. Neither has been built or received much discussion because of zoning laws and opposition voiced by businesses along that street. The bottom line is that because the church has money and has land, does not mean it is in the right place at the right time. As I noted, selling the land is problematic in many cases because of restrictions added to the act of donation.

      When I worked in a little place called Morgan City, the newspaper I worked for, urged the churches of the area to develop some coordinated method of giving immediate aid to the needy. We had documented how people went to one church for a food voucher, another for a gasoline voucher, the next for a night in a local motel and then start over again with the same people rotating to the next church. All the major churches got together and did this. All vouchers came from one place. More people were served and those that abused the system were weeded out.

      Helping people is something we all need to do. Some people need more help than others. However, the use of church resources, Catholic and all churches has to be wisely managed. For a couple of years, the collections at my church were down significantly, but because of maintaining adequate reserves, services were maintained, the teachers in the adjacent Catholic school did not get pay cuts and all the bills were paid.

      I think every church tries to help in its own way. I know during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the churches played a vital part in providing shelter, food, clothing and medicines to thousands of people, through a coordinated effort among the churches. The Catholic Church hears operates a center for homelss men, a center for abused womenand several thrift stores, where usable and needed items are given to the poor and others are sold to help the poor.

      We are all called upon to help our fellow man. For years, my wife and I tithed on our gross income. We are both retired--my retirement was not by choice. We still give, but not as much, but as our SS payments kick in, our contributions will increase.

      Finally, the comments about the Vatican selling its treasures. The United States has a lot of treasures in the forms of Gifts that have been presented to the President by heads of foreign countries over the year. They are on display at the State Department, which is not one of the hot spot on the Washington Tours. The White House has numerous patterns of china from prior Presidents that are not used. Some collector would probably pay good money for them. Is that selling a part of our history? I do not know. Again, this has been longer than it should be. I am not opposed to the effort Bill outlined in his Hub. I just know, based on my years of covering news and my own knowledge of the Catholic and Baptist churches, utilizing what some see as available resources is not always as easy or even as practical as some might believe. The concept is great. It just needs to be a united concept.

      Thank you for your patience.

      Larry

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Aloha, Joe, and thank you. I think anytime we are dealing with an entity of this size, we should be vigilant and have concerns about their political power and dealings. I think there is a great deal going on that we have no clue about with churches of this size, and maybe we are better off not knowing. LOL

      Thanks buddy and have a great day.

      Aloha

      bill

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Point well taken, Bill. I appreciate so much of what the Catholic Church has done for the poor, and--yes--as it's true for other churches as well, the Catholic Church can do more. What I am honestly concerned about is the potential for danger that can occur when the boundaries between church and state become more difficult to discern and keep separate. The further a corporate entity is removed from the people, the greater the potential for some sinister things to happen. Kinda like government? : ) I enjoy your writing immensely, my friend. Your articles and personal essays provoke and stretch my capacity to think and explore on my own. For that, and more, I appreciate you. Aloha, and have a memorable and productive Tuesday, Bill!

      Joe

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Abby, that is always my goal....to generate thought and then hopefully action. How else can we solve these problems if we are not willing to discuss them? The Church, and other churches, have done wonderful things in the past, but that is the past. It is time to find new solutions to age-old problems and move forward.

      Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL....Catholic schools are very tough in sports here as well. I'll forgive them for that. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      We should indeed, vkwok. Thanks for stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cat, I'm not sure why, but I thought this would upset more people than Larry. No reason why it should....the central message is we can always do more.

      Thanks as always my friend. You are appreciated.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Michael, for an eloquent comment. I especially love the last sentence. There is so much that can be done in a positive manner and direction, and regardless of what an institution has done in the past they can always do more.

    • Abby Campbell profile image

      Abby Campbell 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Good morning, Bill.

      Thank you for your insights. I didn't realize that the Catholic church helped so many. Though I was amazed at how wealthy the church is monetarily, I was also quite surprised at how little each of its member gives each year. While I was a part of the Protestant church for many years, we were always taught to give at least 10 percent of our earnings to the church. If each church member gives $438 per year, that means their average income is about $4,380 per year, and under the poverty level. For many years, my husband and I gave more than this amount in just one month... as did many of our co-church members. Just imagine if every Catholic member did give 10 percent of their earnings. That would be an astronomical WOW on how much the Catholic church would have to give out.

      With that being said, I've been going through a 'soulshift' over the last 5-6 years. I couldn't stand seeing the majority of my tithings go towards paying for buildings, electricity, and such for the institution. My heart was in providing help for the needy, which I believe is what Jesus would have wanted us to do. This is when my husband and I made profound changes.

      Could the Catholic church do more? Absolutely! Teaching a man (or woman and child) to fish is certainly the key to becoming self-sufficient. For many centuries, a needy person had to work to earn his/her food. I remember the Bible story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz. Ruth and Naomi were poor and hungry. Boaz would allow Ruth to glean the fields so that their needs were met. In other words, she had to work to get food. Through her hard work and loyalty, she was rewarded. Great appreciation and love then followed due to the love she was shown. Should not the church be like this now?

      As you have said, "Love" is the guiding principle. Anyone's needs can be met, but showing someone how to fish is great love and much appreciate. That great love is not felt just through a check sent in the mail but by the quality time spent with the person in need.

      Thank you for sharing a well-written hub and getting our hearts and minds to think.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. I am very proud of our 2 neighborhood churches. They are both very active in our community. They are models except for 1 thing. They are fierce competitors in sports. But that's another story...

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 4 years ago from Hawaii

      This is a really great hub. We should all do our part to help.

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 4 years ago from New York

      Billy,

      Well, I had a plethora of comments building as I read this, but lost many as I distracted myself reading the comments of others. I had to check how many people might've taken this offensively. You seemed to have fared quite well. :D

      All in all, I really appreciate the sentiment and I always think anyone could do more and it seems those with the least do the most... why is that?

      I'll refrain from referring in any manner to Catholics or the Catholic churches as I believe I've scared enough people already! lol

      Anyway, the man who is given the fish today is hungry tomorrow. I never want to see anyone go with needs unmet, but there is no better solution than helping someone become self-sufficient.

      Voted all kinds of stuff!

      Cat

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 4 years ago

      Godd evening billybuc.

      Significant. Staggering statistics of wealth and business Roman-Catholich church as you've presented proving the direction human choose to go under the name , " holy, 'Christian' 'church ' ", instead of following the lead of Jesus of Nazareth , who came - God, to finalize the Creator's purpose of man.

      After man's rejection trusting the Creator in the Garden ( that what it is regardless of other suggestin) - man receive new sets of rule how to poses the land, and a very first " blessing " was ' in the sweat of your face shall you earth your bread...' simply , you want to live, work, provide for yourself ( church anarchy went directin consequences of we are witnessing to). Additionally it the Jesus of Nazareth has showed and emphasized " service " istead of talking only, even that gospel is being alternated to ' as it fits.

      I'm nod denying all positive services the " church organizations " are doing. Many commenters talk about eloquently.

      You have come with an excellent proposal, a solution to " sell the church's land, and to provide opportunity for the people's imployment. Great idea! But, my question would be who ants this ? Churches, governments ? Under present socialistic- marsistic wast of education, the point is being missed, since neither church or government are teaching people to work if they wan to eat, and the church on you of everything needs to live godly life " from the top" as well as parents lead their children by the example to be hard working, truth living, honestly providing...

      My hope is that this article would serve as a starting point of implementing suggested ideas before too to late. Spreading word about in our " neighborhood " , even that helps. When I have chance to talk about how simple solution to prosperity is, people act as if never heard , ' if you refuse to work , you're telling me that you want to give up o eat.'

      Voted up, interesting and useful.

      Have a blessed night . Shalom.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Larry, an interesting response, and quite frankly rather defensive for no reason that I can see. I am simply saying the Church can and must do more. The same can be said for any major religion and for us as individuals. Thanks for the lengthy comment but most of it I have no problem with at all.

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 4 years ago

      billybuc;

      I wrote a rather long reply to this Hub this morning, but can find no trace of it. I do not think you deleted it. It just got lost. So here is the short version.

      Much of the property owned by Catholic churches cannot be used for the reasons you set forth for two major reasons--local zoning laws and stipulations placed on the use of the property by the donor.

      The Vatican has many priceless art objects. Vatican City is a museum. Do we really want to have a garage sale and have those items spread throughout the world?

      You had three challenges for Pope Francis. I am certain he will make a world tour, just as Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, and Pope John Paul II, who played a major role in ending Communism in Eastern Europe.

      Catholic missions are located throughout the world.

      Can the church do more that it does?Yes it can. All churches can and all of usasindividuals can do more to help our fellow man.

      My son was adopted through a Catholic agency. My parish supports a mission church in a part of town that cannot support a church. Considerable amounts of money are given each week to people who need groceries, cannot pay the rent or the utility bills or need help with a sick relative.

      The size and history of the church makes it a major target. It has taken on the issue of child molesters. They will not be hidden away any longer. That is not a problem unique to the Catholic Church. The Baptist Church I previously belonged to hired a youth director after I left. He was caught and jailed.

      The various Orders of Priests and Sisters (Nuns) do a tremendous amount of work throughout the world, with little pay and sometimes with no benefits for their later years.

      On the street where my church is located are six houses donated to the church. One was stipulated to be a home for a priest. A second was designated to be used as a youth center. Two are being renovated and one is being provided to a parishioner with a special needs child. I do not know if they pay any rent or not.

      You said you have had problems with the Catholic Church in the past. I would like to discuss them with you someday.

      As I said the original version of this was longer and a little more eloquently worded. I guess it just got lost in cyberspace. Those things do happen. Maybe it was intended to see what response you received before I answered. I do not know.

      I converted from being a Southern Baptist to Catholic about 20 years ago. My wife was a Catholic all her life. I didnotconvert until we had been married for eight years. am a better Christian as a Catholic than I was as a Baptist. It was not the fault of the Baptist church. It was my own failings. As a Catholic, I have found that I think more of other people than myself and give with joy and not out of obligation.

      One final observation. One commenter noted that the Vatican had wealth beyond its needs. Many of those objects, like the property given to churches, are done so with stipulations.

      Next, there was the comment about give a man a fish or teach a man to fish. In Louisiana, the Catholic School enrollment rivals the public school enrollment. There is one Catholic university in the state. Catholic school doors are open to people of any faith as room is available.

      Spreading the Good News and helping people are the two major earthly goals of the Church, at least as far as the United States is concerned. I cannot speak about other countries since I have never traveled overseas.

      Thank you,

      Larry Wall

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Bill. I have never been to the Vatican but I have seen some of the great churches in America and there is no doubt that wealth exists. I just want to make sure they don't rest on their laurels and that they continue to spearhead great change.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, I thought you would approve of this message. I love the charitable work the Church has done, but I'm the guy in the corner who is constantly asking "what have you done lately?" I guess that's my role in life.

      Blessings and a hug coming your way,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, Catholics are no different than any other religion in that there are good one and bad one, poor ones and rich ones, and all other segments of society. They have a chance to do incredible things with the wealth of the church. I'm just the little fire that won't go out. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Efficient. The Catholic Church is huge and they seem to have no limit regarding wealth. There is still much to do in this world and the church is in a position to affect great changes.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      manatita, great reflection.....worrying about image and pleasing all. An impossible task, is it not? :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, there is no doubt that Christians do great things around the world. I just want to make sure I keep the fire burning and that no one person or organization stops the effort and leaves things the way they are...because we are a long way from helping everyone. :)

      blessings always,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      mylinda, I understand what you are saying and I agree completely. This country has more than enough "working poor."

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Bill, while I have always wondered about the vast fortune of the Catholic Church it really hit home when we visited Vatican City and the Vatican Museum. There would appear to be enough treasures there to solve all of the world's poverty issues. While I do understand that a lot of these things are historical and one of a kind works there is no doubt that the Catholic Church has wealth beyond our wildest dreams. I really agree with your sentiment that the Catholic Church should put more emphasis on educating the poor instead of simply meeting their needs. Teach a man to garden and fish and he will figure out how to feed himself.

      A great message Bill.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      It would be a defining moment, wouldn't it, Billy, if your suggestions came to fruition. As you know I just wrote about hungry children and what one person can do. This suggestion kicks it to those in powerful positions who can make a difference on a grand scale.

      And it should not just be limited to the Catholic church but to all of the major denominations who have influence and money to make a true difference.

      Voted up ++++ and know my Friend that Angels are on the way to you this evening. ps

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I am not Catholic either and had no idea they did so much good, so thanks for that knowledge. I had an angry time about their molesting priests they and the law let walk away from their crimes Scott free and even put them back in the ministry in unsuspecting other places, so that tells me they can be as dirty as our government. I am against worshiping Mary because the bible only says she would be blessed among women not worship which she clearly is. Also it has been my impression that Catholics let the priest be their God in a sense and the hail Marys are nonsense to me but other than that (lol) I have nothing against the Catholic people as a whole and am sure they are doing as they were raised to do and any I have known personally seem very devout good people.

    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      I didn't realize the Catholic Church was so wealthy, but I am glad they are involved in a lot of charities to help those less fortunate. I love your idea of turning the land they own into affordable housing, because housing is a big expense and takes a big chunk out of the paycheck to keep a roof over your head (at least in all the cities I have lived) and I'm talking 700 - 1200 sf, not a big mansion. This is a thought provoking article, thanks for sharing and voted up.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 4 years ago from london

      A bit like Obama, perhaps, our Pope. A good man who could do without lots of powerful external influences. Many good men, unless they are a Gandhi or Luther King, or better yet Mandela, Mother Theresa or Abe Lincoln, get caught up in what we call in Christianity 'self-love'. They wish to do good, and yet worry about image and pleasing all. Not possible.

      Good research there. They seem richer than I thought them to be. Keep up the good work. Much peace.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Yes, all can do more no doubt, even the church. I cannot speak for the Catholic church, as I am not Catholic, but I do know they actually do a lot around the world, and I am sure can do more, just as any one of us can do more and any other church. Christians do provide much relief to the suffering all around the world through countless organizations. In fact, they provide more in humanitarian efforts than any other group. Those who can really do more, those who have millions upon millions could step up too to do more. Billy Graham and his son have countless organizations to help the hungry. There is Compassion International who help starving children. I could go on and on. Christians go into the parts of the world that no others dare, at the risk of their owns lives to help those who are starving or needing fresh water and they build wells, etc.

      Anyway, my point is there are many who really do their part and then some, but then are many who do nothing when they could really do much.

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • mylindaelliott profile image

      mylindaelliott 4 years ago from Louisiana

      This is a very interesting perspective. Unfortunately the majority of the time that someone says 'teach the poor to work' that seems to mean we just don't want to deal with them any more. Yes, I have seen many people go to work. Then they become 'working poor'. They are still poor though. There has to be some other piece that's missing. I do believe in working and working hard, I do it. It just isn't enough....

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Jo, thank you so much. I hear the Church of England has a rather extensive real estate portfolio as well. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Anna, so good to see you my friend. What a surprise, and what a wonderful comment filled with some serious wisdom. Thank you for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Dora, and thank you for taking the time to comment.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, another very impressive write!... the Catholic church have had some pretty awful press in recent times, now is probably a good time to regain their credibility by being seen to be whiter than Caesar's wife. They could do a lot worse than to start with some of your recommendations. Exceptional work, my best as always.

    • AnnaCia profile image

      AnnaCia 4 years ago

      Hi Bill. your hubs are , as always, very interesting. It hits me hard when the word "poor" is used anywhere. We need to define poor and really understand what are the necessities that need to be met in order to ease the lives of those who suffer a lot due to the obnoscious ways the economy, media, social status, etc. play a huge role in the USA capitalism. We also need to see that not only in the Chatholic church, but also in many other religions the ones who need the most are used in the name of "who knows what". Generalizing about all participants in a religion is too broad and needs revision at times…that is when stereotyping comes in and everybody pays for some who do not follow the beauty of empathy and compassion. Nice hub.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      The Catholic Church is also a governmental structure, so it might be difficult to put politics aside. That said, I commend them for their humanitarianism. Thanks, Billybuc, for bringing this positive aspect of the church to the forefront.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beth, thank you...I do not have my own website regarding helping others, but we started H.O.W. and that has its own website for sure. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Lizzy, that last sentence of yours was a classic...help rather than clear our conscience. I love that.

      Thank you oh wise one!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I was sure that some of that information was outdated. I just wanted people to know how much the church does do...and thank you for policing it for me.

      No doubt that church is doing great things. Imagine what they could do if they turned loose all the dogs. :)

      Thanks as always my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Sha, thanks for remembering. No, I did not pick an office. This is an off year for positions that are up for election. I had no desire to be on the school board, and after that the positions were not great enough to knock my socks off. I'll take a look at the next election and see if anything comes up I'm interested in.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michele, we have a similar program here called Meals on Wheels....great program doing wonderful works of charity.

      Thank you and I agree...hope is never a sin.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, you are right of course. The other religions get no free pass on this. We actually have one church in town that gives it's property to the community for a community garden, and another that has offered land for a community home project for the homeless...but there is so much more that churches could do.

      Thank you my friend. I'll let you know if the pope contacts me. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MJ, I'll take a rebel any day over some boring, complacent pile of apathy. Sign on the dotted line my friend and let's go piss some people off.

      Yes, the Church. I was born and raised in it, and my dear mother could never understand why I wold question it.....little did she know that I didn't tell her all of my problems with the church.

      Perhaps you should move to Italy....oh, wait....YOU ARE! LOL Say howdy to Pope Francis for me, will you?

      Thanks buddy. Have a great week.

      bill

    • profile image

      Beth37 4 years ago

      My husband is a 12-step junkie... which I s'pose is kind of funny if you think about it. I need to point him your way... as a matter of fact, it seems like you need to be singled out in someway for your work encouraging those with addictions. I really think you could inspire the masses. Maybe your own website, do you have one?

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      I love how you think outside the box. Western culture tends to think that if there's a problem, just throw money at it. This solution has yet to work. What do they say about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? It's like the funds we're sending to Syria--does our government really believe that this is the answer to that country's problems? Let's start thinking about how we can use our wealth to help people, not merely clear our consciences.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      First off Bill, St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan went bankrupt and Benedictine Hospital in Kingston, New York is being sold to a Health Alliance, Mount St. Alphonsus, a Redeptorist Retreat Center on the Hudson River in Esopus, New York was sold to the Bruderhof. I mention these because the Church is selling off lands it can no longer afford... aging properties and/or religious populations are dwindling.

      Catholic Charities has a "Welfare to Work" program, another is "Wheels and Ways to Work"....you get the picture. My purpose here is just to say the Catholic Church, in pockets around the globe IS trying to help people by doing more than just giving handouts. Can it do more? Certainly. Can the new Pope help most definitely.

      Your hub, as always, makes very good points but I'm not one to leave an empty comment ;) ... I think you know that my friend.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      You certainly have some wonderful and logical solutions that would work, provided the Catholic Church takes you up on it. What are they doing with all the land now besides what you mentioned above? Charity begins at home. Obviously, the Catholic Church is one of the largest 'homes' in the world, so it makes sense they do more.

      A while back you mentioned you were considering running for office in your area. The proposals you make in this article remind me that you would be a voice that can promote change, Bill. Have you decided which office you will run for?

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Hi Bill I agree. I don't go to any certain church, but I donate to places in town like our food pantry, and (cr-p can't remember the name right now) that delivers food each day to the elderly) it is only $25 per month but it does help. It is not a Tithe to the church. Hope it is not a sin. It just goes to people.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      As i read this i was again full of hope. You are such a wonderful writer. I agree that the catholic church could do more, but let's not leave out the other religions, they could do much more too. Instead of building multimillion dollar church buildings, worship outside. I live six miles from a little town in In. where they have an outside service. People come in their cars, blue jeans, shorts etc. Thank you for sharing. I wish the pope could read this, i'm sure he would agree....

    • profile image

      mjkearn 4 years ago

      Hi Sir Bill

      The Catholic Church, boy oh boy do I know something about this and as a good friend has said to me in the past, "it is something that I have an opinion on".

      That said I will refrain from sharing that opinion and simply say that having spent 35 odd years in Northern Ireland that not just the Catholic Church but other Churches are very well placed to do a lot more for a lot of people globally.

      Having been branded a Catholic and not something I care to recognize I have little time for any church. That said I have all the time in the world for anyone who does good work regardless of color or religion.

      Perhaps I should move to Italy and have a word with your man in the big house. Maybe not they might decide to keep me, LOL.

      Your thoughts Bill on what you want to see happen are admirable and doable. If you are signing up rebels I'm there. I have a little experience in kicking the church.

      Seriously most churches do good work but when you take a close look at the Catholic Church there does seem to be a huge amount of hypocrisy.

      Another great piece of work Sir Bill.

      Have a great spiritual day.

      MJ.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Walter, being a saint is highly overrated. I kind of like it rubbing shoulders with the sinners. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey, DJ! No chance the Church will pay any attention to this, but I felt better writing it. LOL It's all about me you know. :)

      Thank you my dear friend and have a great week.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Walter, only you would think of that. Let the poor die so they can go directly to heaven. You have an interesting mind, Walter. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, there is no doubt the Catholic Church has helped many. Now I want them to do more. :) I'm never satisfied..

      Thank you my friend and have a great week.

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      DJ Anderson: "You brought up some super proposals for putting some of those riches to work for people in need."

      Billybuc no doubt brought up some super proposals. But I foresee that he's about to be burnt on the stake and later declared as a saint, LOL.

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 4 years ago

      Another great hub, Bill.

      It never seemed right to see all the wealth at the Vatican,

      and people starving in the streets. As the old saying goes,

      "What is wrong with this picture?"

      You brought up some super proposals for putting some of those riches to work for people in need.

      Sounds like a winner to me!

      DJ.

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Matthew 19:21: Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

      I think the Catholic Church should let the poor alone, rather than jeopardize their chance of having treasure in heaven. If the Catholic Church wants to be a great possessor of material riches, let them be. Churches don't go to heaven, anyway.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      the nature of men...enjoy money for just money. My father in law once said, Money is only good for the pleasure it brings..which he meant as charity, helping and taking care of our lives. The Catholic church as always worked hard and helping others. First and foremost we have to take care of ourselves..and if everyone did that the poverty level would go way down. How many people buy a flat screen before paying their bills...????? I know there are many who cannot take care of themselves..but if you were to do a poll you might be amazed at how many can..

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Graham, it does not surprise me at all. There is great wealth in the real estate holdings of these major churches, and for what? What is the point of all that wealth?

      Thank you my poetic friend and have a great week.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, there is always more that each of us can do...that is the message and I hope others hear it.

      Have a great week, Janine, and thank you sincerely.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mike! I have limited myself on these types of hubs. I get too emotionally invested in them and then I find they affect my mood for weeks. When I do write one I want it to be impactful, so thank you for the kind words.

      I hope you are well. Blessings to you and your family.

      bill

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Bill. I think this is well said. You are right in your thoughts and reflections. I did read once that the largest landowner in Britain is the church of England, though I don't claim this to be true. I think this is a brave hub Bill, I shall await further comments.

      Graham.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      You said a mouthful here Bill and being a practicing Roman Catholic, myself, I couldn't agree with you more about having the church do even more for those less fortunate and needy. Really loved your ideas you laid out here and seriously hope you can get someone in Rome to hear you on this!! Thanks as always and have voted and shared all over. Have a wonderful Monday!!

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      I absolutely agree, Bill. Hoarding wealth just for wealth's sake is, to me, a sin. Remember that whole rich man, camel, and eye of a needle thing?

      And I have thought for years that by giving the starving food and not teaching them we are building a society of people who want nothing more than handouts. But if we teach them, give them the tools to better themselves then we set them up for success. Just feeding them we are setting ourselves up for disaster.

      Well done, and voted up. Just your normal day at the office, Sir William.