Power and the Powerless: The Church’s Witness


Last week’s G20 summit saw the annual gathering of the leaders of the world’s economy. But another conversation partner was present, at least implicitly, brought to the table by none other than Pope Francis himself. In his message to the summit’s participants, the Holy Father insisted that those who have the most influence over the world economy “give absolute priority to the poor, refugees, the suffering, evacuees and the excluded,” those who exercise the least influence on the world’s stage. One can only hope that the participants in the summit — undeniably some of the most powerful people in the world — heeded Pope Francis’ advice and recognized that with great power comes great responsibility, especially for those who have no power at all. At another gathering last week, which received far less attention than the G20 summit, more than 3,000 representatives from dioceses across the United States heard from Sister Constance Veit, a Little Sister of the Poor. As one who has dedicated her life to the service of the elderly poor and sick, her message to the Convocation of Catholic Leaders echoed Pope Francis’ message to politicians: “Being with the poor will give credibility to the Church.” In challenging times for leaders of both politics and religion, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of global problems. But the Church never fails in her daily and often unseen service to those who are most in need, welcoming to the table those who would otherwise have no place there.