In good times and bad, Christians called to stewardship

  • November 3, 2008
{mosimage}TORONTO - Poverty ought to motivate Christians to decisive action in good times and bad, 1,700 diners heard from politicians and prelates at the 29th annual Cardinal's Dinner in Toronto, Oct. 30.

It was the night before Halloween, but the speakers were betting that donors might already be spooked.
"The faith community prays a lot. I think prayer is going to become more important," said Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion. "But prayer without action is useless."

As in years past, McCallion gave the longest speech and drew the most sustained applause, aside from the standing ovation accorded to Archbishop Thomas Collins.

McCallion put in blunt terms some of what Collins would later explain in his address on stewardship and faith.

"Some of the economic woes in our world today is greed," said McCallion to another outburst of applause.

It was up to Collins to put McCallion's plain talk into the context of Catholic theology.

"Reality always wins in the end. Bubbles always burst. Houses built on sand always collapse," he said.

A diving stock market should have no bearing on the basic commitments of a Catholic community, said Collins.

"Every parish should be animated by the spirit of stewardship," he said.

The basis for that spirit is clear thinking which distinguishes between the real and the illusions of a media-saturated environment, according to the archbishop. Keeping in mind the vision of the last judgment in the Gospel of St. Matthew 25, Catholics should look for three signposts of sanity, he said. Personal dignity, the common good and the principle of subsidiarity  are reliable guides in good times and bad.

"We all need to dig deeper. We also need to think clearly about what makes a healthy society," Collins said. "The folly of selfishness is banished by the common good."

In the 29 years of the Cardinal's Dinner the event has distributed more than $5 million to charities throughout the archdiocese.

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