Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Friday, February 27, 2009

An article by our new archbishop

The Most Rev. Timothy Dolan, recently named archbishop of New York, writes an article in the latest issue of Commonweal, entitled Blueprint for Peace: Pope Benedict’s Call to Fight Poverty:
Pope Benedict XVI’s New Year message to mark the World Day of Peace came at a time when the world faces the worst economic recession since World War II. Amid the dire economic news, a message of peace may hardly seem relevant to people worried about how to make the next mortgage payment, but the pope’s words could not have been more timely or significant, especially now, as we begin the season of sacrifice, Lent.

Right at the start, the pope makes clear that the way to build peace is to fight poverty. He quotes Pope John Paul II: “The conditions in which a great number of people are living are an insult to their innate dignity and as a result are a threat to the authentic and harmonious progress of the world community.”

The threat that poverty and hopelessness pose to harmonious progress was demonstrated often last year, with food riots breaking out from Haiti to Egypt, and violence once again engulfing the Holy Land. Half of Gaza’s 1.5 million people were already dependent on food aid before the latest round of conflict.


It is tempting to turn inward during an economic crisis, to let our material anxieties blind us to those whose plight is far worse than our own. Now more than ever, though, we must ensure that the needs of the poorest of the poor are on the agenda of our government and in the minds of every American Catholic, that the poor receive the compassion and assistance our faith calls us to bring them. Pope Benedict calls on Christians and all people of goodwill “to expand their hearts to meet the needs of the poor and to take whatever practical steps are possible in order to help them.” This is not a new mission for the church, but its urgency has never before been so clear.

We recommend reading the entire article.