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The Busted Halo Question Box
Ask our spiritual experts virtually anything!
This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

Have your own question? Then pitch it to us!

Caitlin Kennell Kim
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
Our readers asked:

Do I have to serve the needs of the poor as a Catholic?

Neela Kale Answers:

In a word, yes. Our whole moral law rests on the great commandment given to us by Jesus: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. … You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (see Matthew 22:36-40). It is difficult to imagine truly loving our neighbors without attention to their needs, especially if they are poor. And one of the most beautiful and challenging implications of Christianity is that everyone is our neighbor. Just because someone looks different or lives on the other side of the world doesn’t mean that he or she is not my brother or sister. I still have a responsibility to any fellow human being in need.

That can be a daunting responsibility, and the way that you are able to serve will depend on your own resources and circumstances. Maybe you can volunteer with an organization that helps the poor in your community; maybe you can dedicate time in prayer; maybe you can donate money to help those in need. No matter who you are, you have something to give, and as a Catholic you have an obligation to give it.

The Author : Neela Kale
Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.
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  • Marty Smith

    I just heard a wonderful quote from Pope Gregory the Great about this very question: “When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice”.- St. Gregory the Great, Regula pastoralis 3, 21

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