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global wealth copy"Many of us are much more comfortable worrying about “poverty” than “inequality”, because the former is about helping others, while the latter comes close to questions about the appropriateness of the income of themselves and their peers. In other words whilst we can embrace the idea of charity - sharing from our surplus - we are reluctant to address the structures that create inequality as this might pose a threat to our own privileged status. An issue highlighted by Brazilian bishop Helder Camara in his often quoted statement "when I feed the poor they call me a saint, when I ask why they are poor they call me a communist".    (Edmund Rice Justice Bulletin)


Bishop Camara's well known comment is absolutely bang on!

'Privilege' is a word that people really need to look at closely but often seem unwilling to do so.

As you know, I belong to a minority which gets a bad time at times, but I'm white- that's huge privilege and I'm educated, which is further privilege. I'm employed and have always been employed and I have enough to eat and somewhere to live and clothes to wear and decent health care. A safe water supply and means of keeping food fresh. All privilege.

Does it therefore really cost me anything in real terms to consider those less privileged and to share what I have?

My own background is working class with poor Romani and Jewish antecedents so I know how far I have come.

I myself am very aware of this inequality but, as an individual, feel helpless to do anything about it. I salve my conscience by giving my pennyworth to those who call to my door seeking help. There must be some other way of finding a solution to the problem.