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(Starting to) Practise What You Preach


(Starting to) Practise What You Preach

Following Pope Francis' admonition that "poverty calls us to sow hope," the Vatican has opened its own homeless shelter near St. Peter's Square, and Francis turned up on one of its first nights to greet and bless residents. Designed to host 34 men for up to a month - and joining an existing shelter for women - the new housing is one more small welcome sign Francis actually seeks to do what he says and offer, as the shelter's name implies, the "Gift of Mercy."


You could also ask who provides the most social services, hospitals, orphanages, help for the poor and elderly? Yep the catholic church. So sure if you want to pretend that the Pope owns all the churches and properties like some potentate (though he does not) then sure you could ask that question.
A fairer question is why don't all churches, temples and mosques have facilities for the homeless to shower and wash clothes in the USA. Why don't atheists provide such rudimentary services since they are needed. The catholic church actually provides the most of any religious organization. Give credit where credit is due. Criticize when it is due but give credit where it is due.

This Pope is a good and decent human being. To offer showers is a mercy.

edit added.

The cited reference quotes a 170 billion provided by the Catholic Church for the homeless, schools, medical care and social services. Somehow for all the griping it would seem that 170 billion is still a lot of help given to the poor.

Also many groups talk about but go no further towards Starting to practice what is preached. So where are the progressive free showers and haircuts etc? This article's headline seemed a bit mean spirited and undeserved. Please correct me if I am wrong about all those atheist showers that must be around out there. To me 170 billion seems more than just starting to practice what is being preached...!


Yes, but the vast majority of those $170 billion in services are provided by the women of the Catholic Church, the very people this pope has said he has "closed the door" to their equality, to say nothing of their birth control. If he plans to overcome poverty and climate change without the full participation, including leadership of half of human race, he is pretty delusional. That said, yes, it is great that the Vatican now has a men's homeless shelter and that the pope visited.


I can't debate when someone reduces things to simplistic sound bites. I can guess at what you meant in your comment but I suppose it feels right to you to say what you did and you were venting rather than reporting.

Seriously what would be the point of addressing such a comment? It doesn't even make sense really. But like I said you wanted to vent not discuss or debate.

Do you really think that this shelter is all there is to it? Oh wait... part of your venting is that you feel something has to be proven to you rather than you doing even basic research and finding out the real facts beforehand? Seems you didn't do that and so all I can say is >>> He vent thata'way!!!


Though I am a secularist, I will give credit where it is truly due.

In my home city in the States, Catholic Charities in its distribution of food and clothing is making a huge impact in the community for those in poverty and the homeless.

The only other organization in my home city involved in the large scale distribution of food to those in need is The Salvation Army. They also provide a modern, well-equipped homeless shelter.

While these two organizations are distributing large amounts of free food to the needy every day, the need is always greater than the supply. If you are able, I ask you to financially support these two organizations. Without them, many would literally starve.


Staples Singers 1971 always stuck in my mind.

If you disrespect anybody that you run in to
How in the world do you think anybody's s'posed to respect you
If you don't give a heck 'bout the man with the bible in his hand, y'all
Just get out the way, and let the gentleman do his thing

I mean If the Dude is doing the right thing............


yeah it is as simple as that. You pick what side you are on every day. You help the needy and you pick the side of the angels.

You help only yourself at the expense of others and you pick the other side.

God or mammon... not both.

Lol ...capitalists

They say you can't take it with you but even if they can't, capitalists will still need to take their accountants and their lawyers with them when they go. Lol.

That eye of a needle thing wasn't intended to be a comfort to the very rich.


Anti-Catholicism is the accepted predjudice in America, and the most pervasive...Arthur Schlesinger Jr. There are about 60 million Catholics in America, a country of 300 plus million, the remainder is overwhelmingly Protestant, yet, in my years on CD, why have I never heard a critical word, or any word at all, about Protestant denominations such as the Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, et. al. Their absence from the discussion is curious indeed.


He’s not there again today. He has been there every day for years. You’re actually worried. Why? He is just a homeless guy. He’s not there again today. For months you passed him by without a thought. One day you figured, what the heck I’ll give him a buck. He smiles and says thank you and god bless you, and he means it. He’s not there again today.

You started carrying a couple of extra bucks just for him. A couple of times you even brought him coffee. Just a routine, barely a second thought. Doing something nice, giving back, helping out. He’s not there again today.

Do you ask around? Do you put up flyers? Do you call the hospitals or the police? Where did he go? Is he okay? He’s not there again today.

Does he know that you’re worried? Does he know that you care? Before he was gone you had no clue how much he meant to you. He’s no longer just some homeless guy. He’s not there again today.

You knew his face, his smile, his way. His dirty coat, old and frayed. You never even knew his name. Why is he not there? Why did he go away? All you know is, he’s not there again today…

- Courtesy of TalkPoverty.org


As a Catholic, I don't mind the corrective criticism I read, here or elsewhere, if it's the truth.

Jimmy Breslin, I believe, once described the Catholic Church as "the marine corps of the religions." Perhaps it's true. Although Vatican II relaxed a lot of those old rules; perhaps a new analogy is in order.

Beautiful day in Dubuque, so I must get outside!


I agree. It is also a beautiful day in northern Illinois, the fall colors are spectacular, my favorite time of year. There is something special about October light, melancholy but positive and light-light.


Thanks, Abby, for this news story, as it probably won't make many periodicals, and maybe not all diocesan newspapers, as my guess is not all US prelates are fond of Pope Francis. Beloved by the people, though!

Nice comment, Wereflea. "Criticize where it is due but give credit where it is due." Fair enough. Give credit for the pope promoting this corporal work of mercy.

Best wishes.


Is it that Martin Luther King is rarely given the respect of his calling and not usually referred to as Rev. Martin Luther King because being an atheist is supposedly more progressive?

Is it that so many Protestants have a bizarre anti-catholic paranoia that they think the Vatican wants to control the world and owns huge amounts of it and keeps a pile of treasure the size of the Great Pyramid in its vault? It is that old timey conspiracy theory that 'still taints even where it ain'ts'?

Is it just the opposition to abortion that both Catholics and Protestants preach? Is it that many an atheist takes it personally that women can't be priests (I'm not kidding about this?) although fundamentalist Protestants talk a 'Obey and submit to the husband' religious line and that is no longer the church's view.

I think when people do good and not evil... when they help the homeless instead of ignoring them... it IS what we seek by trying to speak truth to power and convince people of the truth (that is usually left out by the media and the government).

Since when does religion have no place in progressive circles? Whether it is Rev. Martin Luther King or a Dorothy Day or Elizabeth McAlister religious folks are progressives (and more so than most).

The radical right fundamentalists have given religion a bad name to be sure and there are issues in organized religion but give credit where credit is due and criticism where criticism is due but it isn't supposed to be about religion... or do progressives intend to be orwellian and rewrite or rather erase the Reverend from in front of MLK's name?

No religion? No Rev. Martin Luther King. No Rosa Parks either btw.

Ooh ooh!!! Ooh! I gotta new cause!!! Oohs...um ... oohness!!!

Free religion from the Fundamentalists!!! We can agree on that I hope.

Free religion in progressive circles!!! We need to start agreeing about this however.

Hey lefties I got a new idea... how about supporting >>> Freedom of religion? We could try it, ya know. We are progressives after all.

Geeze! Who knew it was this tough to be Pope. Give the guy some credit. My guess is that if he were an American... he wouldn't vote republican!


Excellent, I've experienced something similar.


"the marine corps of the religions" I love it.
Would that be the Dominicans or the Jesuits...LOL


Hey guys times are changing and Pope Francis is clearly making a contribution. Why nit pick a great article?

Wrote about my personal experience in being the chair of the board that established the first homeless shelter in Solano County, CA way back in the 1980s, but deleted though I kept quotes from the Administration at the time.
Any idea by any of you "numbers" people if under the current GOP controlled House there has been any improvement in funding and/or attitude toward those in need? Or maybe candidate Trump and GOP et al.

"In December 1983, Edwin Meese 3d, then counsellor to the President and now Attorney General, spurred a controversy over the issue of the homeless, when he said, ''I think some people are going to soup kitchens voluntarily. I know we've had considerable information that people go to soup kitchens because the food is free and that's easier than paying for it.''

In January 1984, Mr. Reagan said that he thought some of the homeless people sleeping on grates in cities were doing so ''by choice.''



I was just in Northern IL (well, N Suburban Chicago IL) last week and made remark to my hosts about the LACK of fall colors at that time! Has there been a sudden, VERY sudden turn around?!


Yes, it has been truly amazing, not more than six or more days ago I was commenting on how late the fall is this year, and within days the maples, in particular, appeared in near full color, almost over night. It is true, some trees are still green, but all in all, it is beautiful out there today. From my window I see, sycamore, ash, locust, and maples all in full color. OH, on edit, the burning bushes literally turned that special red within three days. There are other maples with that "tipped" look, partially green, partially a pinkish red fluorescent look. I'm actually somewhat south and west of where you were, but not that great a distance, I'd check with your northern suburban friends today. Last night was the first night when the temperature dipped below freezing. I will not question your question mark, other than to say, I don't make things up!!! and why would I.???


My, oh my, miracles never cease, you made my day when you mentioned Pascal, Aquinas, Augustine, Maritain, Teiilhard de Chardin. These people are not only important to Catholics, they're important in the history of philosophy and mathematics. I wonder how many techies know that pascal the computer language is named after Blaise Pascal, the French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher. He was a child prodigy who was educated by his father, a tax collector in Rouen.


That is the thing with me. People ignore the Oscar Romeros, the liberation theologists, the courage of nuns and the faith that inspired them. Here in this country my faith is a rebellious one born of radical priests, married priests and nuns, catholic workers and so many others. I was a catholic but am ...lol... an independent now. I love the true christian faith shown by this pope. That love of life and the poor and God by this pope.

People need to stop looking for simplicity and media style quickie understanding of things. You hit the nail on the head ... the catholic church is not one single person... there are and always have been progressive catholics... lol ...like St. Francis