Care for the Poor, Quite A Challenge

BY CHRIS KERRJanuary 8, 2014

James Martin, S.J.’s offered up a concise summary of Pope Francis’ message since taking on leadership of the Catholic Church in March on the Colbert Report last night: “Christ invites you into simple living and to help the poor as an invitation to be part of the reign of God.”  Fr. Martin later noted, “If you have a problem with Pope Francis.  You have a problem with Jesus.”

In recent weeks Pope Francis’ comments on the global economy have received critique in the media from a small number of wealthy Catholics who have expressed concern that his message is disconcerting to some people.  In his tongue-in-cheek manner, Colbert questioned Martin on this asking, “Why is he gunning for the big money people?”  Martin’s response: “Jesus tells us to care for the poor…The Pope said I care for the poor and the rich alike.  But he has a responsibility to tell everyone that the rich need to care and respect the poor.”

How are we responding to this message as individuals, as a country and a global community?  Quite a challenge, don’t you think!  Here at ISN we feel a special connection to Pope Francis’ strong social justice message grounded in his Jesuit roots.  We know we have some work to do to respond to his call.  We hope you will join us!

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Christopher Kerr

Chris joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) as executive director in 2011. He has over fifteen years of experience in social justice advocacy and leadership in Catholic education and ministry. Prior to ISN he served in multiple roles at John Carroll University, including coordinating international immersion experience and social justice education programming as an inaugural co-director of John Carroll’s Arrupe Scholars Program for Social Action. Prior to his time at John Carroll he served as a teacher and administrator at the elementary and secondary levels in Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Chris speaks regularly at campuses and parishes about social justice education and advocacy, Jesuit mission, and a broad range of social justice issues. He currently serves on the board of directors for Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ). Chris earned a B.A. and M.A. from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. He and his family reside in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

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