Catholicism and Charity

This week’s reading was by Professor Spickard and was about understanding catholic worker house masses. The prevalence of charity in the article reminded me of my time studying abroad in Salzburg, Austria. As students, we were required to do a good deal of volunteering and a part of that volunteering was through a Catholic organization called Caritas. Their reach extended to nearly all realms of charity and was at a state level. As a student volunteer, I did activities like cooking dinner for a children’s shelter as well as serving food at a shelter for refugees and homeless Austrians. I see similarities in values and practices with the organization discussed in this article. This reading brought up so many questions for me, like is there something about Catholicism in particular that allows for charity originations or acts of charity to be commonplace? Or do we see it in our daily lives so prevalently because of the sheer volume and reach of the Catholic Church? With just over a billion Roman Catholics in the world, it isn’t surprising to conclude the prevalence is because of sheer number of adherents, but is there something else?

It was also interesting to learn that this Catholic group which was in the realm of radical Catholicism had a relatively traditional mass. The type of mass that you could find all over the world in a Catholic church. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of traditional practices coupled with the types of progressive activities they were involved in. It’s a testament to being able to being able to do good in the world and interpret religion for the benefit of others.