Catholic Charities and Their Relevance

Abstract

1. Introduction

1.1. Purpose and thesis statement

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2. Brief overview of catholic charities

2.1. History of catholic charities and their evolution

3. Management of catholic charities

3.1. Leadership

3.2. Financial management

3.3. Human resource management

4. Services provided by catholic charities

4.1. Health services

4.2. Financial services

4.3. Spiritual services

5. Literature review

5.1. Arguments for catholic charities

5.2. Arguments against catholic charities

6. Impacts and contribution of catholic charities to the world

6.1. Impacts on globalization

6.2. Impacts and contributions on politics

6.3. Impacts on poverty and related vices

7. Recommendations

8. Conclusion

Abstract

One of the worthwhile activities in which we as human beings can engage in is the protection of our environment, our dignity and our future. To take up this noble cause for our survival’s sake, many individual activists and organizations have engaged themselves in various activities all aimed at the protection of our livelihood.

The Catholic Church in particular boasts of a significant number of activists. Some of these activists are motivated by the peculiar dangers that face the world as a result of disease infestation, poverty, illiteracy, moral decadence and the dangers that can occur due to the prevalence of these factors.

1. Introduction

History has it that in most of the successful ancient civilizations, economic inequality was commonplace between the ruling class and the ruled. This status quo mostly resulted in anger and resentment between the two groups due to the great economic divide. These historical realities are still very much alive today in our present day society where income inequality is rampant.

Traverso (2003) asserts that the difference between the rich and the poor in terms of economy has continued to expand over the last years with the rift between the middle and rich stretching even further. These facts reinforce the supposition that income inequality is at its all time highest level in the world.

Social and economic trends such as change in family structures, increasing numbers of immigrants from poorer nations and globalization have led to rich and middle-income countries experiencing rising economic and social inequality. Ironically, all this is against a backdrop of great economic growth and prosperity that has been experienced by most of the countries in the world.

Mapes (2004) suggests that such inequalities are positively related to social vices such as homicide, substance abuse and racism which inevitably foster social instability.

With these daunting realities in mind, it makes sense to explore the most prevalent types of inequalities as well as the efforts that some organizations have put to come up with solutions and measures that can be used to reduce their effects on a global perspective.

1.1 Purpose and thesis statement

Catholic charities have been a beckon of hope and providence to many people suffering from various inequities around the world. Their contribution to the promotion of world peace, unity and equality cannot go unnoticed in many global situations (Kerby, 2009).

This paper shall set out to explore whether Catholic charities have been helpful in diminishing social, economical and political hurdles in the world. This shall be accomplished through an extensive and articulate study of what catholic charities entail and the various factors that have contributed to their success.

Their various measures employed to curb various issues shall also be highlighted and their respective effectiveness showcased. This shall be in a bid to provide a better appreciation of the charities thereby leading to an enhanced understanding of what they are, how they affect different societies and consequently, how they can be helped in their fight against these issues.

2. Brief overview of catholic charities

Catholic charities are nonprofit organizations located in almost all parts of the world. As the name suggests, they are church owned charitable organizations prominent in championing various relief efforts especially in developing countries around the world. They use their acquired resources in the provision of food, shelter, clothing, education and health aid to the less fortunate across the globe (Friedman & McGarvie, 2003).

2.1 History of catholic charities and their evolution

According to Hehir (2010), catholic charities have been in existence for more than a century. It is believed that the catholic charities network was founded in 1910.

During that time, they could only provide human relief to people from all religious denominations within a few countries. Later on in 1923, it was acknowledged as being among the best provider of these services to a more diverse population as it covered more countries. By 1950, they had expanded their services to accommodate community and health services.

Today, according to the organization’s official website, www.catholiccharitiesusa.org, the main purpose of the organization is fighting poverty, providing assistance to families and empowering the masses towards the realization of successful and moral living through the preservation of human well-being (Friedman & McGarvie, 2003).

3. Management of catholic charities

According to Maurutto (2003), management entails the effective and efficient utilization of resources that are available to an organization with an aim of achieving organizational goals and objectives. The author reiterates that it involves planning, organizing, leading and controlling of the organizations activities and resources.

Despite popular belief, the catholic charities network is run by professional specializing in various fields of study. Like any other business, these charities also face the various challenges present in the economy. Therefore, they require an effective and efficient organizational structure if they are to remain relevant in today’s dynamic business environment.

3.1 Leadership

Leadership most often refers to a process through which one person uses the help and support of others towards achieving a particular goal or task (Palmer & Randall, 2003).

Considering the current state of affairs in the world, the leaders of these charities are always under so much pressure to deliver. As such, their leader have to be knowledgeable professional in the field of expertise, having a proven track record of achieving set goals and objectives and the ability to motivate and delegate effectively.

Leaders also ought to be able to cultivate and identify talent and exhibit sound judgment even under pressure (Brody, 2005). In addition, owing to the diversity of the services offered by these charities, the leaders often apply both the transitional and situational leadership styles so that they can effectively cope with the ever changing situations

3.2 Financial management

As mentioned earlier in this paper, catholic charities are nonprofit organizations. Therefore, they depend on well wishers, their church, donations and grants as some of their financial sources (Belcher & Deforge, 2008).

With such sources, the need for accountability is always so high. As such, the charities have a team of highly qualified and dedicated team which is tasked with the duties of distributing, following up, and accounting for, all funds allocated to the charities.

This has been deemed as a daunting task since the number of people in need is often more than the funds available (McKinney, 2004). Therefore, the decision making process in such cases is always tricky and seldom appreciated by many.

3.3 Human resource management

The network has employed a large and diverse workforce mainly due to its expansive (global) nature. Man’s desire for knowledge and success has over the years expanded beyond the restrictions of localities and regional boundaries (Burlingame, 2004). As such, business mergers and other agreements have been made between countries in search of a larger market base, resources and human capital.

The occurrences of such interactions have over the years brought the human race closer to each other than ever before despite their varied differences in cultures, goals and objectives (Denhardt et al, 2008). Consequently, the advantages realized from globalization in terms of social and economic wellness have been great to say the least.

Since the charities operate in different locations all over the world, they have employed competent people from these locations to oversee the on going projects with minimal complications (language barriers, geographic know-how and cultural barriers). Having such a diverse workforce has significantly contributed to the success of these charities (Denhardt et al, 2008).

4. Services provided by catholic charities

The main aims of these charities gear towards the preservation of human well-being (Dionne & Chen, 2001). As such, there are many issues that have been addressed by the charities in a bid to fulfill these objectives. They include, but are not limited to:

4.1 Health services

Good health is by far the most important aspect to the human race. Without it, there could be no development or growth in the world. That is why most governments have made it their priority to offer reasonable health services to the citizenry (Foster, 2010). However, most countries lack adequate resources to provide these services.

Better health care can in most cases only be achieved by means of reforms. Denhardt et al (2008) describe reforms as meaning positive change. In the developing countries, this would imply coming up with sustainable and efficient systems.

In a developing nation’s perspective, the reforms cannot take place without involving external donors since most of these nations are plagued by poor, inefficient and corrupt governments. While it can be irrefutably stated that donors are under no legal obligation to aid poorer countries improve their health sectors, they do feel morally obliged to lend a helping hand.

The aid that donors extend has resulted in the accomplishment of significant results e.g. the eradication of small pox through large scale vaccination and the lowering of infant mortality (Foster, 2010). Without the assistance of these donors health in the poor nations would not be appealing. It is for this reason that catholic charities provide aid to the developing nations.

The aid offered is not only limited to material help but also comes in the form of technical aid since most poor nations lack the expertise to set up complex healthcare systems and keep them running.

Without technical assistance, all the monetary and material aid offered would be misappropriated hence setting back any reform efforts. McMillan (2010) articulates that provision of aid would be inconsequential if no expertise accompanied it.

Catholic charities have stepped in to assist the government and other medical organizations in the provision of health services. They have been instrumental in building hospitals, health facilities, recreational and counseling centers in different locations where they are needed (Mapes, 2004).

In addition, they have managed to provide these services at a considerably low cost. This has been very useful to many people especially those with low financial capabilities who account to a large percentage of the total global population. The input of these charities in the health sector has enabled many people who would have otherwise despaired get through difficult situations in their day-to-day endeavors.

4.2 Financial services

The campaigns spearheaded by the catholic charities point out to the notion that their projects will lead to creation of more jobs for the local populace. The leaders assert that the creation of social and health amenities opens up employment opportunities (Palmer & Randall, 2002). As such, the charities often extend financial services to local churches so that they can avail such amenities.

In addition, they offer loans to aspiring entrepreneurs with the hopes that they will in turn create more employment opportunities. Also, they offer financial aid to people who have been struck by various disasters around the world. This is done to help the victims have a fresh start with minimum constraints.

4.3 Spiritual services

At the present, most economies in the world are working towards recovering from the credit crunch that hit almost all countries in the world. It is a reasonable assumption that most organizations were forced to make changes that included cutting on costs or laying off employees so as to remain profitable.

In such times, there is need for a flame of optimism to be fanned in the organization (Mapes, 2004). At the heart of the efforts of catholic charities are the campaigns to empower the masses through spiritual interventions. One of the philosophies behind actions by the charities is that with God’s guidance, everything is possible. As such, they endeavor to ensure that Godliness comes above all other things.

They have therefore built churches in various locations to ensure that people in different predicaments find solace in the house of God. To support this notion, Basil & Herr (2003), assert that many people suffering from various ailments have been documented as having found peace and comfort in God where everything else had failed.

Burlingame (2004) state that an optimistic nature is one of the defining behaviors associated with a transformational leader. A person who can enthusiastically talk about the needs of the people and draw a compelling image of the bright future that all in a given setting can look forward to is capable of making a difference in the world.

In regard to this, the catholic charities and churches have over the years provided the people with leaders of such stature. The priests and counselors have been known to be good listeners and preachers of hope.

In addition, all organizations and communities often experience contentious issues which elicit different reactions at some point in time. How these issues are resolved, may spell out the difference between success and failure in these settings. Therefore, the presence of a person who can manage such crises in a diplomatic fashion may be crucial to the success of the organization.

Diplomacy entails the using of power and authority carefully so as to achieve positive outcomes by being unanimous or arriving at a consensus. Arguably, this cannot be achieved without spiritual and moral interventions which are core principles in catholic charities (Belcher & Deforge, 2008).

5. Literature review

Many scholars and critics have documented different views as regarding the existence of these charities. The proponents argue that they have provided viable ways to cope for many while the “nay-Sayers” argue that they foster some ill sentiments among the masses.

5.1 Arguments for catholic charities

Burlingame (2004) argues that catholic charities have been instrumental in the promotion of moral ethics, human rights and unity around the world. He cites the protest against abortion as one of the charities significant successes in the recent past. The charities argued that this practice is unfair to the unborn children since they too have a right to live.

This campaign has to a significant extent been a success for the charities as many countries are yet to legalize abortion. In addition, the author claims that these charities have helped communities that have been abandoned, mistreated and neglected by their governments cope with their sad situations.

One of the latest campaigns by catholic charities is to educate the masses about the effects of the war in Iraq and most parts of the Middle East.

By financing major campaigns and promotions, the charities have managed to provide people with valuable information about the war all the while promoting peace, unity and diplomacy as means to end this costly affair. Dionne & Chen (2001) claim that war and political instability are among the core factors hindering globalization.

As such, the author supports these charities and their recommendations claiming that the full benefits of globalization can only be realized if the human race sets aside their differences and work together towards a common goal.

5.2 Arguments against catholic charities

Of particular concern is the speculation that religious organizations have been funding and inciting terrorism across the globe.

According to Flanigan (2006), most terrorists attribute their actions to their religious beliefs as regarding to what is moral or immoral.

That means that their acts of terrorism are directly related to their beliefs. In relation to catholic charities, they have been blamed for interfering in international affairs which in some cases have led to the death of innocent civilians who are viewed as sympathizers.

In addition, McMillan (2010) argues that like any other business, all charities should be taxed accordingly in a bid to ensure fair competition within a market setting. This he attributes to the fact that charities also work according to the forces of demand and supply, they buy raw materials and use similar modes of production as other companies.

6. Impacts and contribution of catholic charities to the world

Despite the various arguments that have been raised as regarding to the presence of catholic charities, they have evidently been more useful to the people than they often get credit for.

6.1 Impacts on globalization

Due to rapid industrialization and development, many a firms have in the past decades sought ways and channels through which they can further tap the market and scarce resources to satisfy their monetary and developmental needs. As a result, they are always looking for new markets and sources of such resources. This has consequently led to investments and establishment of new branches in other countries and regions all over the world.

As such, the best way to ensure that an organization remains relevant in today’s global society is by ensuring that it has a diverse workforce which can blend in with new markets and provide valuable leverage as well as competitive advantage against the rivals. The catholic charities have effectively mastered this result and in the process, these charities have created numerous job opportunities for many people across the globe.

This has in turn reduced, even if it is by a small margin, the rate of unemployment around the world, which also affects the rate of poverty and finally, the rate of crime in different areas.

In addition, their fight against such social vices as substance abuse, abortion, corruption and war have been instrumental in unifying many countries across the globe.

These being common problems among many countries, the countries have come together in conjunction with the charities to fight against these life threatening affairs. In so doing, they have been able to set aside their differences and work together as a unit.

Finally, they have been credited for leading by example, through their various initiatives, governments and other organizations have been forced to act ethically in all their dealings (Green & Webb, 2008). In addition, the charities have been a source of inspiration to many individuals (philanthropists) who would like to make a difference in the world.

As such, it can be arguably noted that these charities have impacted the way human beings view each other and at the same time, they have influenced our personal perspective to poverty, diseases, illiteracy etc. through the provision of schooling facilities in different parts of the world, these charities have bridged the communication gap by ensuring that more people understand and speak plausible English.

This will in turn facilitate the interaction between different people from different social and ethnic backgrounds to come together and merge in the interest of global development.

6.2 Impacts and contributions on politics

The goodness of an organization can be inferred by the manner in which it treats the people who work for it as well as those around it (Smith, Bucklin, & Associates, 2000).

The relationship that a company enjoys with its employees and targeted audience can be gauged by looking at the rate of employee turnover. Benefits that individuals accrue from the existence of a given organization therefore lead to increased loyalty (Sargeant & Woodliffe, 2007).

The catholic charities have been very instrumental in advocating for change in many countries. They have in some instances fought against political injustices and decisions that could have detrimental effects on many lives. In addition, they have also offered great advice on national matters in the interest of protecting the masses against bad governance.

6.3 Impacts on poverty and related vices

The efforts of these charities towards eradication of diseases and providing education have yielded great fruits. This is because these initiatives have enabled many people have the ability to work hard (due to good health) and acquire valuable skills (education) that enable them to look for work.

In addition, through their campaigns and civil education, many people have been able to learn about the effects of drugs and consequently get help when necessary. This has in turn contributed to the reduction of violence, theft and discrimination across the globe.

7. Recommendations

Arguably, the work that these charities do is very important to the less fortunate people in various localities. As such, governments should ensure that they provide ample assistance to these charities in terms of security and acknowledgement to ensure that they offer their services with ease.

In addition, people all over the world should know that the eradication of these inequalities can only be effective if they become partners in the fight. If each individual contributes in addressing these issues, they will have played a pivotal role in the preservation of life, promotion of peace and unity and ultimately in ensuring that the whole world lives in harmony.

8. Conclusion

Catholic charities are necessary in today’s environment. Their contribution towards the preservation of life cannot go unnoticed. From this paper, the various aspects surrounding these charities have been explored.

The impacts of the same in different sectors have also been discussed. As such, it is important that we as a human race learn from these charities and work hard to ensure that the generations to come have a safe and morally upright future.

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