On Saturday morning I went to the Catholic Diocesan Faithful Citizenship Workshop held at St. Roberts Church. It was interesting to learn about what factors faithful Catholics (and in my opinion, people of faith in general) should consider when voting.* After listening to a main speaker, there were three break-out sessions offered and I chose to attend the one on economics. The dialogue in general was frustrating and insightful. The topic of social welfare and government funding of welfare programs was a hot topic, especially under the Catholic teaching of the preferential option for the poor. One of the panelists, Creighton Economics Professor Tim Bastian, argued that people living in poverty should be taught the skills needed to successfully function within society. He said, “we need to teach a man (or woman) to fish”. While I agree that teaching skills is important and more sustainable in the long run, there are other factors that need to be considered. This man or woman also needs a clean lake to fish, a rod that works, and bait that will attract the fish. They need to be given the opportunities to use their skills. If a person who now knows how to fish but is fishing in a polluted lake with a rod that only works some of the time and has no bait, then how is it even worth teaching him or her to fish in the first place? We cannot expect people to effectively fish if they are not given a healthy environment to do so.
*If you would like to learn more about what I learned from this conference or to talk about any of the topics I brought up in this brief post, and which I am deeply interested in, I would love to have a conversation about it with you!
Just food for thought,