Pope Francis, in Evangelii Gaudium, reminds us that “each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society” (187).
In our country, more people are being dragged into poverty by the cost-of-living crisis. This is demeaning of human dignity and where there is such an acute need, the Catholic community is called to a Gospel response of truth, justice and compassion.
We are inviting the Catholic community in England and Wales to raise a prophetic voice in the face of this urgent humanitarian need. We know how generous the Catholic community is in responding to need at the grassroots. Our CSAN members are involved in thousands of projects all over the country to help to relieve the damaging effects of poverty. But we are called to do more than just relieve poverty.
Again, in Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis reminds us that solidarity is more than “a few sporadic acts of generosity” (188), it is “working to eliminate the structural causes of poverty and to promote the integral development of the poor” (188). It means thinking in terms of community and “the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few” (188).
In line with the Bishops’ Conference and their Department for Social Justice’s briefing paper https://www.cbcew.org.uk/briefing-cost-of-living-crisis/ we are calling on the government to make urgent changes to the welfare and tax system for the benefit of the most vulnerable in our society. We are also calling on them to work with the Catholic community and all other faith groups on a vision for a poverty-free country, in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal No. 1: No Poverty. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/
Please join this mobilization of the Catholic community in the stand against poverty by writing to your MP. You will find a template letter in the link below, revised following the Autumn Statement on 17 November 2022, which you can adapt in your own words, although we would urge you not to change the four ‘asks’ of the new government. You can find out who your MP is here https://members.parliament.uk/members/commons and either write to them or email them.
It would be helpful if you were able to add an example from your parish or school community of the impact of the cost of living crisis and what the Catholic community is doing in response. You might also ask to meet with your MP, perhaps with some others from your parish, to engage in constructive dialogue about the ‘asks’ of the new government and how they might help.
We’d also be grateful to know if you have written to your MP and if you’d like to share any stories or case studies from your community. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, please put Cost of Living Crisis in the subject header.