2013-12-05 Vatican Radio(Vatican Radio) The Catholic Church in England and Wales has warned that the poor are being left behind despite signs of economic recovery. The warning came in a press release issued on Thursday by the Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN), the social action arm of the Catholic Church. It said although the UK is seeing some economic growth, they are also witnessing soaring levels of poverty and hunger and tackling this must be a social and political priority. Helen O’Brien is the Chief Executive of CSAN and she spoke to Susy Hodges.
Listen to the full interview with Helen O’Brien of CSAN:
O’Brien says it’s “very sad” to see these soaring levels of poverty and hunger and says those who are suffering are not just the jobless but include people on low wages. “Even those people in work are still struggling to reach the end of the week with sufficient money for food and heating.”
Asked for her feelings about Pope Francis’ newly-released Apostolic Exhortation where he criticizes the current global economic system, social exclusion and trickle-down economics, O’Brien says the Pope’s remarks on these issues have “resonated hugely” and this reaction has spread far beyond the confines of the Catholic community. “The population as a whole is pricking up its ears and is hearing what Pope Francis is saying….. we’ve been relying on these trickle-down economics and it doesn’t seem to be helping those people who are at the poor end and actually it’s getting worse for them.”
She says the papal Exhortation has not only boosted their own “determination” to tackle these problems but has created “a lot of respect” in general for Pope Francis’ stand on these issues.