Fr. Daniel Groody opens Catholic Social Ministry Gathering
The Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, an annual event put on by the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development at the U.S. Bishops’ Conference, kicked off here Saturday.
The event brings together Catholic activists and groups working on social issues “relating to poverty, war, injustice and the promotion of human life and dignity” across the country and the world. This year, according to event organizers, a whopping 42% of the participants are first-time attendees.
NCR will be live tweeting some of the event, which runs until Tuesday. Follow the action @togoforth and #togogforth.
“Being gathered here today gives us a chance to reflect on the God of Life that’s being born in our midst,” said Holy Cross Fr. Daniel Groody, a theologian at Notre Dame University, in a keynote address.
“But we come here today because we also want to, kind of, stretch beyond our comfort zones,” he added.
In a 50-minute speech on the subject of globalization and the role of spirituality in addressing injustice, Groody rattled off a litany of stats.
“We have almost 7 billion people today, who are living on planet Earth…” he said. “If you were to proportion that 7 billion and put it into a village of 100 people, this is what the demography of our world would look like:
“Sixty-one  in our global village are from Asia; 10 are from Europe; 15 are from Africa; 14 are from the Americans; and less than one percent [are from the continent of Australia]…
“If you look at global income and wealth,” he said, “the numbers get rather staggering…Right now, 19% of the world lives on less than $1.25 a day; 48% of the world lives on $2 a day; 75% of the world lives on less than $10 a day; 95% of the world lives on less than $33 a day; and the top 5% percent of the world lives on more than $33 a day. So if you make more than $33 a day you are in top the top 5% in terms of earning in the world.
“Now, in terms of wealth…if you have more than $150,000 to your name, you are in the top 5% of the world…” Groody said “This statistic came out last week…the richest 1% of the world will have as much as wealth as the other 99% by 2016.”
Another sobering truth that Groody mentioned:
”The richest individuals in the world have as much as the poorest 48 nations,” he said. “But the top richest 80 people in the world have collectively as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people, or half the world’s population.”
Groody furthered his 100-person-village “snapshot” of the world:
”Right now…15 would be under nourished,” he said.
”One  would be dying of starvation.”
”Four  would die [from not having] access to adequate sanitation.”
”Eleven  would not have access to adequate drinking water.”
”Twenty-three  would live in sub-standard housing.”
”Seventeen  would not have access to electricity.”
”Sixteen  would be unable to read.”
”Only seven  out of 100 would have a college education.”
”Eleven  would have an automobile.”
”Forty  would have access to the Internet.”
”And twenty two, only 22, would own or share a computer.”