Why not Charity Begin at Home? (Part III) By Fr. Anand Muttungal
14 Mar 2010
Catholic Church is rated as the most organized organizations in the world. Its top ranking office bearers spend much of their time in planning meetings. The reports of these meetings would provide us with beautiful strategy to implement but there would be no word about the budget. One might feel why it functions in this way. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Indian Church as a single unit is not in a position to implement any specific programmes for the Christians in India . We can name a few a scheme of scholarship to poor Christian children; poor children who excel in their studies, targeted programmes for the youths, empowerment of women, employment generation for poor Christians etc. remain on papers. The Church has many departments to deal with almost all issues with chairmen at national and state and executive secretaries but no word on available resources. It would not be an exaggeration to say that after all these marathon meetings every individual units, (Dioceses & Religious Orders), decides everything in their own way.
The Biblical economics is designed by God to increase the share of the poor. It proposes to offer tithe to meet the religious requirements and assisting the poor. The Church became very rich with these offerings of the people. As St. Paul collected offerings from the Church of Greece for the famine struck Church in Jerusalem , our fore fathers supported the missions across the world. Even today this support is continuing to a great extend. The rich churches supported the Christians living in the mission areas. They supported to build educational and health infrastructures, social apostolate, income generating projects, Churches, convents etc. It was all meant to strengthen the Christians and thus the Catholic Church. The laity regardless of rich or poor contributes to Church in the form of tithes, monthly contribution, offerings during the Holy Mass, collections for various celebrations etc. Even in the missions, the willingness of people to support Church is growing.
The efforts of our beginners and dedication of the laity did bear fruit. The Church in India became rich but life of a good section of laity remained very little improved. The institutions have become source of income generation. The money collected from these institutions are sent to the expansion of such institutions elsewhere. This has given these religious organizations a status of industrial units. The religious congregations and dioceses have developed an institutional work culture. As a result, expansions of institutions are fast growing. Priesthood and religious life has become institutionalised. A new concept has stemmed from this that at all possibility we must give best quality service and maximum profit to support the expansion of missions. It has resulted in an indifference towards the poor Christians at all levels.
The Church as a single unit must set up a common fund and common programmes for the empowerment of laity and the poor Christians in particular. It can be used for the work of different commissions and common cause of the Church. Lay people in the Church are contributing to the running of the Church. We have a number of institutions earning crores every year. Why don’t such institutions contribute to the development of lay people in whose name they are working? Catholic Bishops Conference of India, the apex body, must initiate steps to do it. It is the right of the people to have a share of funds raised by these institutions. If the Church initiates national and state level budgeting, the Indian Church will become economically strong. This strength of the Church will unite and strengthen the Christians. If the Church as a single unit does not initiate such steps, the poor will continue to be neglected, meetings and plannings will remain on papers and above all an official Church might find itself fighting against the poor of the Lord Jesus . Probably it is fitting to say let us reflect on the great saying,” CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME”.