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Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Church to launch new social justice agency
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¬†In a bid to raise the profile and voice of Catholics involved in social justice, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales is to launch its new agency, Caritas -social action at the House of Commons next week. John Battle MP will host the event, while Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor will officially launch the agency. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said: "In a society marred by deepening division between rich and poor, privileged and excluded, Caritas - social action reinforces the gospel by actualising the commandment to love our neighbour." John Battle, MP, said: "For years this work has gone on in local communities and been a light underneath the proverbial bushel. In recent years, the Catholic Church has rediscovered its historic mission to reach out to the poor and marginalized. Caritas - social action is an organization whose time has come in the life of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. All of us should get involved and ensure Caritas - social action is properly supported. For each and every one of us it is an integral part of our Catholic practice." The Catholic Church has always played a major part in community initiatives to eradicate poverty and meet need, from the promotion of social justice to the care of children and the elderly. In the UK, the Church employs approximately 2,000 people and 35, 000 volunteers in these capacities, working with £60 million to meet the needs of over a million beneficiaries. Catholic charities in this country alone are responsible for the placement of more children than any other voluntary sector agency. Contributions from Catholic individuals and organisations represent a wealth of expertise and a great resource to the development of society. Caritas -social action seeks to continue this work firmly grounded in Catholic social teaching, which provides guidance steeped in gospel values and the tradition of reflection on these values and their expression in the world. The values of compassion, justice and human dignity are integral to any thriving society. Through its work, Caritas -social action encourages its members to demonstrate these values in their work, offering hope to those they work with. Sarah Lindsell, Director of Caritas -social action said: "After a year-long consultation with Catholic professionals and other groups and agencies dedicated to social welfare and justice, it was felt that the way forward for the Church to make a stronger impact in meeting need and eradicating poverty was to have a national presence in a more structured and strategic way. We could not have achieved so much without their participation and commitment. "The work, impact and future development of Caritas -social action relies on involvement and participation. There is so much to be gained by the thousands of us with an interest in social action joining together to have a national presence and voice and we look forward to celebrating this at our launch on the 4th March". Over 250 people representing all the major Catholic charities, welfare and justice organisations, as well as academics, journalists, MPs, bishops, religious and ecumenical colleagues are expected to attend the launch which will be held on Tuesday March 4 from 4pm to 6pm at the House of Commons. Caritas - social action was born out of an amalgamation of the Catholic Agency for Social Concern, Catholic Child Welfare Council and the Social Welfare Committee of the Bishops' Conference.
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