The Church must be involved in the people’s struggles
One of the greatest problem Malaysians face today is financial woes. With the escalating cost of living the ordinary worker is under tremendous stress to make ends meet. Catering for the needs of a family is becoming more and more difficult by the day. Even basic needs like housing, education and healthcare have become beyond the means of a vast the majority of wage earners.
The government to a great extent has abdicated its responsibilities to provide these basic needs by its privatization policies. Rampant corruption, abuse of power and non-accountability at all levels of the government machinery have contributed to this unhealthy situation where the rich are getting richer and the poor get poorer.
Obtaining quality health care in particular has become a great burden for the people. Emergency medical treatment can run into thousands which few can afford. Instead of providing an affordable quality health care, the government has embarked on a national health insurance scheme which would only deny the poor access to prompt treatment even in dire emergencies.
Of late we are witnessing our own Catholics being caught in such desperate situations where they are unable to obtain adequate and prompt medical treatment due to financial constraints. We have those with major traumatic injuries needing proper care which they can never obtain. There are those awaiting major surgery, dialysis and other costly medical treatment that never come their way. It is pitiful that some of them die while waiting for such definitive treatment.
They are desperate and have no one to turn to for help, not even the church, where they have been active workers for many years. No one, including the parish priest and the Church organisations,come forward to offer a helping hand. Many are willing to offer prayers but few are in positions to offer financial and moral support.
The lame excuse often given is that the Church cannot help as it is afraid that such generous deeds may act as a precedent for abuses by others in the future. The Church encourages others to help but itself not willing to do anything. Is it morally right to withhold help to save a life for fear of the unknown future?
The Church is in a position to offer aid, both financial and moral, to those in need, at least her own parishioners. I am sure setting up of an emergency fund at parish level will not pose much a problem as the Catholic Church, with its large number of generous faithful, has the wealth and expertise to do so. What is really needed is the will to help which is sadly missing.
The Church collects money for so many reasons, I am sure helping the parishioners in need would be a worthy cause which would get the whole-hearted support of the people. When a medical tragedy suddenly strikes, the whole family is thrown into chaos. Financial constraints make the effects of the tragedy even worse. A little help will go a long way to ease the burden of those inflicted with such serious ailments and allow them to get back to normal as soon as possible.
It is rather sad that the Church is not taking seriously the problems of the people. It is not taking pains to understand and appreciate their plight. It cannot and should not alienate itself from the struggles of the people; rather it must get involved in them if it wants to remain relevant in their lives which have become so challenging in the modern world.