5 Catholic Organizations Working Toward Positive Change

Catholicism may be an age-old religion, but it shouldn't have to be one stuck in the outmoded traditions of the past. The organizations included here uphold its beliefs, especially its crucial dedication to charity, while also expanding its boundaries to accommodate greater social inclusivity and justice. All of them are united by a desire to use the Catholic faith to change the world for the better. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

5 Progressive and Socially Active Catholic Groups

Organization Mission
Catholic Charities Fort Worth Provide service to those in need, advocate compassion and justice in the structures of society, and call all people of good will to do the same
The Franciscan Action Network Transform United States public policy related to peacemaking, care for creation, poverty, and human rights
Gay Catholic Priests Encourage acceptance of homosexuality and openness about sex within the Church
Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart Inspire young women to lead and serve, through lives of purpose that integrate faith, intellect, community, social action, and personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom
Catholic Charities of Buffalo Empower individuals, children, and families through comprehensive human services

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In Depth

The Catholic vision of spirituality includes a commitment to working for the good of others, resulting in a longstanding tradition of charitable initiatives. Many of these organizations focus on serving the most vulnerable, such as refugees and people living in poverty, while others educate young people or promote peace and social justice. In no particular order, here are five efforts for societal improvement born from Catholic faith.

Leading off our list at #1 is Catholic Charities Fort Worth. Dedicated to combating poverty throughout the region, this organization offers holistic solutions that combine basic human services with education and case management, to help clients achieve independence. The group's Stay the Course program assists low-income students with college graduation, while initiatives like its Transportation Program help impoverished individuals overcome barriers to success.

Several of the projects from Catholic Charities Fort Worth are aimed at helping immigrants and refugees, such as its assistive services for citizenship, or the Translation and Interpretation Network for linguistic aid. CCFW's Padua initiative works toward a comprehensive solution for poverty, working with clients to develop personal strengths in conjunction with a community support system. The organization also offers affordable dental care through its local clinic.

CCFW's Padua initiative works toward a comprehensive solution for poverty, working with clients to develop personal strengths in conjunction with a community support system.

Next in our overview at #2 is the Franciscan Action Network, a voice for social change in the United States, rooted in the ethos of service embodied by Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. This organization calls for changes such as the alleviation of poverty, better care for Earth's ecosystems, and the strengthening of human rights. Through writing, networking, and activism, FAN argues for social and environmental justice.

Highlighting Catholic social teaching on the human duty to care for the poor, the victimized, and the Earth, FAN publishes essays on topics such as compassion for refugees and support for workers. The group also participates in direct actions ranging from Earth Day celebrations to anti-war demonstrations, and offers resources for education and dialogue on the role of spirituality in advocacy.

Entry #3 is Gay Catholic Priests, created by Richard Wagner, Ph.D., a priest and Clinical Sexologist certified by The American College of Sexologists. This project shares news and opinions about the ongoing struggle over issues of feminism, sexuality, and abuse surrounding Catholic institutions and clergy. It works to encourage acceptance of homosexuality and openness about sex within the Church.

It works to encourage acceptance of homosexuality and openness about sex within the Church.

Along with sharing informational resources and critical discussions on sexuality and Catholicism, Dr. Wagner is the author of Secrecy, Sophistry And Gay Sex In The Catholic Church, an indictment of the Church hierarchy's handling of issues related to homosexuality. His initiative shares stories of the struggles undergone by closeted priests, and calls for reforms including women's ordination and an end to rigid clericalism.

Next up at #4 we have Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, an educational institution for girls from grades one to twelve, rooted in Catholic values but welcoming students from all cultures and faiths. Stone Ridge aims to foster confidence in young women, offering college counseling, leadership preparation, and community service opportunities. Students hear from female role models and speakers who challenge disempowering gender narratives.

Students hear from female role models and speakers who challenge disempowering gender narratives.

Stone Ridge's programs include STEM learning and critical exploration of the humanities, along with arts instruction and numerous athletic offerings. The institution places a strong emphasis on developing an ethos of service, with initiatives including off-campus social action and frequent charitable drives. Stone Ridge also participates in the Sacred Heart Exchange Program, giving sophomore students a chance for cross-cultural learning and engagement.

We'll conclude with #5, Catholic Charities of Buffalo, serving a broad range of needs within Western New York. This group's programs include several options for youths, such as high school equivalency assistance and multisystemic therapy for behavior challenges, as well as workforce and education services for adults. Catholic Charities views spirituality and service as linked, working with local faith groups to collect needed goods and organize outreach.

Services from Catholic Charities of Buffalo include food assistance, nutrition and childcare education for mothers, and psychological counseling. The group offers aid for seniors struggling with everyday tasks, foster care and adoption resources, and help for immigrants and refugees, among many other programs. Catholic Charities also provides training for organizations and individuals interested in working for change.