Loving thy neighbor during hard times

Donations to non-profits are way down. No surprise.

On Friday, Fairfield University’s Center for Faith and Public Life and the Knights of Columbus are together hosting a “summit” on the role volunteers can play in helping their communities to recover from the financial crisis.

It will be at the Marriott East Side in NYC from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Among those groups sending representatives: Habitat for Humanity, the United Way, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, the National Fraternal Congress, the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, General Electric, the Foodbank of Greater New Jersey, Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Goldman Sachs and Volunteers of America.

Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, says: “A lack of concern for our neighbors within our financial system contributed greatly to the critical economic situation we face today. By sharing our ideas, experience, and creating a solid plan for the future of volunteerism, our nation’s volunteer-promoting organizations, from a variety of sectors – have the ability to be a wonderful force for good as they facilitate neighbors helping their neighbors to rebuild their lives and their communities.”

And Fairfield President Jeffrey P. von Arx, a Jesuit, says: “The global economy is facing one of its biggest challenges in a generation. While this economic crisis is still very much in its early phase, what seems indisputable is that we are about to enter an extended period of increased hardship within our communities, and increased poverty of resources in communities and nations around the world. It is certainly incumbent on our governments to respond to this crisis with alacrity, but we also know that governments can only do so much, and that we will have to look to our religious institutions, to our Universities, and to the non-profit and volunteer sectors in general to rise to the occasion and find creative solutions to the problems that we need to confront.”

And he didn’t even get here yet

Americans like Benedict XVI — by a margin of 4 to 1.

According to a new poll by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion and commissioned by the Knights of Columbus, 58% view the pope favorably and 18% unfavorably.

66% of Catholics said they would like to attend a papal event in the U.S. — and 42% of everyone, Catholic and non.

tjndc5-5jaa71la5a1dokguab2_layout.jpgLarge numbers want to hear the pope talk about: “allowing God to be a part of their daily lives (73%), finding spiritual fulfillment by sharing their time and talent (71%) and how they can make a positive difference in the world, their state, and communities (70%).”

As far as the Catholic Church goes, 65% have a favorable view and 28% a negative view.

The numbers were released today by KOC Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who was speaking at the National Press Club about his new book Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Transform the World.

Anderson said:

The bottom line is that, despite years of very negative stories about the Catholic Church scandals, and dissenting view of the Pope as some sort of ‘panzercardinal’ determined to pursue the unorthodox to the ends of the earth, the American people have a very sensible and balanced view of Benedict and the Church. And they are very open to hearing his views on matters of how they might live their faith and put it into action in their daily lives.