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Bishop calls on MPs to take up Pope Francis’ call to “Give a Voice to the Cry of the Poor”

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Bishop calls on MPs to take up Pope Francis’ call to “Give a Voice to the Cry of the Poor”

22nd November 2013

Please see the latest news from our partner, CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network):

Bishop John Arnold, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster and Trustee of Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) has called upon parliamentarians to take inspiration from Pope Francis and be a “voice on poverty in our world”.

Addressing over 35 parliamentarians and representatives from 26 leading Catholic Charities at CSAN’s annual parliamentary reception yesterday afternoon, Bishop John Arnold emphasised the importance of “shining a light” on those living in poverty in the UK.

In his address Bishop John Arnold highlighted that “we should judge the success of our society and our civilised living on measuring how well we help those most in need, the most vulnerable in our society”. He noted that “Poverty is a challenge to the whole sense of justice, to the very fabric of our society”

Emphasising the inspiration of Pope Francis, Bishop John Arnold highlighted the “freshness he brings not only to our Church but as a voice in our world...because of the priority he places always on the defeat of that insidious thing called poverty”.

Bishop John Arnold’s words follow last week’s statement from the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales on the importance of tackling rising levels of poverty in the UK. In their statement, the Catholic Bishops’ of England and Wales said:

“Pope Francis has consistently emphasised that the care of the poor, and serving those in need are fundamental to the life of the Church, and that “among our tasks as witnesses to the love of Christ is that of giving a voice to the cry of the poor”. He challenges the whole of society to remember the poor; to recognise the dignity and gifts of each person; to resist stigmatising the poor; to persevere in creating the common good by actively engaging in our local communities to alleviate poverty and address social injustices. Jesus tells us in St Matthew's Gospel that in serving the poor we are serving Him: “Insofar as you did this to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt 25:40)”

Emphasising the work Catholic Charities are doing to address domestic poverty, Helen O’Brien, Chief Executive of CSAN said:

“The challenges before Catholic Charities have grown. Despite some signs of economic recovery, we are seeing record numbers of people queuing at foodbanks, unprecedented levels of in-work poverty and explosion in demand for support services.”

“Catholic communities have been inspired by Pope Francis and his emphasis on the centrality of care for the poor and vulnerable in the Church’s mission and we are definitely witnessing the a “Pope Francis effect” with an encouraging focus on the poor and marginalised in our communities and parishes.”

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