Today is Pope Francis’s inaugural Mass, so without a doubt you will be hearing about it in the news. I know some of you non-Catholics are beginning to think, ” Enough is enough, if I have to hear one more thing about the Pope…”. It is a large world and I realize not everyone is Catholic, but who gets elected Pope matters. It matters not only to those of practicing faith, but should matter to non-believers as well.
Regardless of popular opinion, the Church has been and continues to be a force for good in the world. Throughout history is has contributed to art. music, architecture, education, and science.
As of 2012 the Catholic Church runs:
92,847 primary schools;
43,591 secondary schools.
The Church also cares for 2,304,171 high school pupils, and 3,338,455 university students.
As far as charity and healthcare centers are concerned, the Church runs:
5,305 hospitals most of them in America (1,694) and Africa (1,150);
18,179 dispensaries mainly in America (5,762); Africa (5,312) and Asia (3,884);
547 Care Homes for people with Leprosy mainly in Asia (285) and Africa (198);
17,223 Homes for the elderly, or the chronically ill or people with a disability mainly in Europe (8,021) and America (5,650);
9,882 orphanages, about one third in Asia (3,606);
11,379 creches(day care centers);
15,327 marriage counselling centres mainly in America (6,472);
34,331 social rehabilitation centres and 9,391 other kinds of institutions, mostly located in America (3,564) and Europe (3,159).
It is also holds a Permanent Observer Mission in the UN, where it is has spoken out boldly for human rights, opposing forced sterilizations and abortions on women, beseeching assistance to documented and undocumented migrants, and denouncing the lack of religious liberty in places like Cuba, and China.
[Maybe I should of called this post: Why the Church Matters.]
You see my point right? The Pope being the leader of the Church, influences these organizations, schools, and charities; thus influencing, educating, and helping over a billion people worldwide.
My personal hope, in this historic time, is that believers and non-believers alike set aside their differences in doctrine and misconceptions of each other to better help those in need. Wouldn’t it be nice?