Home Up



"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food,

they call me a communist."


 Archbishop Dom Helder Camera
Recife, Brazil





The information below has been reproduced with the gracious permission of the

 Office for Social Justice : Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis:



Charity = Direct Service

Justice = Social Change/Advocacy

     Scriptural Reference: Good Samaritan Story

The Gospel story does not attempt to survey the causes of highway banditry. The Samaritan provides temporary and immediate relief.


            Scriptural Reference: Exodus Story

Moses does not ask for food and medicine for the Jewish slave-labor force. He challenges the institutional system with
the message: "Let My People Go."

Private, individual acts

Public, collective actions

Responds to immediate need

Responds to long-term need

Provides direct service

Promotes social change in institutions

Requires repeated actions

Resolves structural injustice

Directed at the effects of injustice: symptoms

Directed at the root causes of social injustice


                                                          The work of JUSTICE  =  ADVOCACY. 


To be an advocate is to ask the question: why are there so many poor?       

Advocacy is being the voice of the voiceless:

the powerless, vulnerable and marginalized.





Remember the River...