Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 9, 2009
Economic crises underlines imperative to give during Share Lent campaign
BY DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA — The economic crisis is a reason for Canadian Catholics and the federal government to give generously to the world’s poor. Otherwise an economic crisis could become a humanitarian crisis.
That’s the message of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace annual Share Lent campaign this year.
“Let us not forget our brothers and sisters of the Southern world who equally need our financial and moral support this Lent and beyond,” said Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast at a Feb. 26 launch of the campaign.
Gatineau Archbishop Roger Ebacher called on the Canadian government not to reduce its budget commitment to the Global South in the stimulus package now being debated in the House of Commons. Though the new budget did not reduce previous commitments, it did not address international development at all.
“It is essential to remember that it must not neglect its responsibility to provide an adequate budget for international development,” Ebacher said.
“Too often in the past this budget has been reduced and this has affected aid programs for the development of the poorest countries.”
The two archbishops joined a small gathering in front of the Canadian Human Rights Monument in Ottawa’s downtown to mark the beginning of the annual fundraising drive for the Catholic bishops’ overseas development agency.
In its Share Lent brochure, D&P acknowledges some Canadian Catholics may have already lost their jobs or seen their pension fund “melt away like butter in a skillet.”
“Even when we are directly affected by the crisis, God calls upon us to look towards the very poor and become their Good Samaritan,” it says.
It also points out that various government stimulus packages have poured trillions into banks but provided nothing for poor countries.
“It is said that the financial crisis has already turned into a profound economic crisis,” the brochure warns. “It will soon become a widespread humanitarian crisis.”
Because of the current crisis, the number of people living on less than $2 a day is expected to increase by 100 million.
The Share Lent campaign culminates in Solidarity Sunday, March 29, the Fifth Sunday in Lent, where the Canadian Church holds its collection for international development.