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You Will Thirst Again & Again

In our New Oxford Note, “Charity Case” on Catholic Charities, we noted that the California Supreme Court ruled that Catholic Charities “does not qualify as a ‘religious employer,'” because, among other reasons, it does not inculcate religious values. And we suggested that because Catholic Charities is not religious, it is not Catholic. Many orthodox Catholics have long suspected this, but it’s good to see an ostensibly neutral party (the California Supreme Court) affirm it.

Catholic Charities gives water to the needy, but as Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst…. [It] will become for him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (Jn. 4:13-14). But Catholic Charities won’t give the needy the water that springs up into everlasting life. That is, Catholic Charities won’t tell people about Jesus.

In our New Oxford Note, we sort of went out on a limb by saying: “Everything with ‘Catholic’ in its name should be a vehicle for direct, oral teaching about Jesus!” Well, it turns out that Pope John Paul agrees with us. In his address to the bishops of the Provinces of Seattle, Oregon, and Anchorage on their ad limina visit, he declared: “Her [the Church’s] many religious, educational and charitable institutions exist for one reason only: to proclaim the Gospel…. [to give] clear corporate testimony to its saving truth” (L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, June 30).

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