Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pray for more to find a vocation of charity!

Found this article on red tape and charity today. In it, Maria Peceli describes the difficulties she had in getting one package of diapers out of a food bank, without having to put her kids in day care.

This is the legacy of a government-funded "charity." If I recall correctly, it was John Paul II the Great who told us that a government cannot give people love. As the title of Papa Ben's first encyclical ought to remind us, the root word of "charity" is "caritas," love. If a government cannot give people love, how can it give people charity?

The red tape is pretty much an insuperable problem for a government aid organization. Government agencies of all types inevitably attract the attention of some crusading politician who searches it for fraud and/or waste, and when he inevitably finds it, he gets on his soapbox and "does something about it" so he can brag about that, come the election. The result is the sort of red tape that almost strangled the charity out of the food bank where Maria Peceli sought one package of diapers.

One of my older rants expresses my discomfort and dislike, when it comes to tax-funded relief and aid, particularly grants to faith-based charities. But something I realized later, and never put there, is this: there are two sides to Matthew 22:21. The first is to give to the government the things which are proper to it, such as defending our lives, liberty, and property. The other is to give to God the things which are proper to the Body of Christ, such as charity and good works. We have handed over the work of the Body of Christ to our Caesar, and then congratulated ourselves for it. How should we answer if God should ask us, "Why did you stop doing My work, and assign it to others who do not follow Me?"

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