Europe’s top Catholic charitable agency has published a ‘road map for social justice and equality,’ urging all Church members to defend the poor and marginalised.
“The financial and economic crisis that started in 2008 proved a ‘stress test’ for European social models,” said the Brussels-based Caritas Europa.
“Solidarity mechanisms have fallen under more pressure because of the austerity measures taken by governments,” it said. “Even before the crisis, about 120 million people were living in or at risk of poverty in Europe — a clear indication that current social protection systems are not keeping their promise.”
The 44-page report said Caritas groups had amassed data on poverty and exclusion to set out “building blocks” for a more-just Europe, which provided welfare for all. It added that inequalities could be reduced by improvements to labour markets and social protection systems, as well as by pro-family measures and the redefinition of “social rights as human rights.”
Among more than 60 policy recommendations for a Caritas social model, it called for universal and enforceable access to social services and benefit entitlements, monthly child allowances and affordable child care, as well as an adequate minimum wage, social housing and equal pay for men and women.
Picture: A homeless man eats his meal in 2015 at a soup kitchen run by the Archdiocese of Athens in Greece. Europe’s top Catholic charitable agency has published a ‘road map for social justice and equality,’ urging all Church members to defend the poor and marginalised. (CNS photo/Yannis Kolesidis, EPA).