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02 Dec 2016 Articles Comments (1)

What happens when an atheist encounters Christ? This poet found out for herself

"Until two years ago, I was a really committed atheist and I really hated the Catholic Church," said poet Sally Read, as she explained how all that dramatically…

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03 Feb 2016 Q&A Comments (1)

Does "the Black Pope" wield the true power in the Vatican?

Full Question I heard that the Vatican is run by an individual called "the black pope," who holds all the real power. What do you say to th…

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02 Oct 2015 News USA No comments

A tale of two papal meetings

During his visit to the United States, Pope Francis waded into the US culture wars with two private visits. But how Church officials managed the narrative of…

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31 Jul 2016 News No comments

‘Go out into the world,’ Pope tells priests at St John Paul II shrine

Francis celebrated Mass at a shrine dedicated to his Polish predecessor Catholic priests and nuns must renounce their personal interests and create a church th…

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27 Apr 2016 News No comments

Cardinal Ortega, who played key role in US-Cuba diplomatic thaw, retires

Cardinal Jaime Ortega was named Archbishop of Havana in 1981 and oversaw three papal trips to Communist Cuba Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who oversaw a warming of re…

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15 Sep 2015 Americas News No comments

Pope Francis’ impact on Cuba, and its Church, is already being felt

As the countdown to Pope Francis’ maiden voyage to the United States winds on, it may be easy for Americans to forget that before he touches down in Washington …

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19 Sep 2015 News Vatican No comments

Every homeless child is ‘a cry rising up to God’, says Francis

Pope says he's troubled by 'the increasing number of young girls and women forced to earn a living on the street' It’s a disgrace that children live on the s…

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20 May 2016 Articles Comments (1)

Pope Francis’s Commission on Women Deacons: 12 Things to Know and Share

Pope Francis has agreed to create a commission to study the possibility of women deacons. Here are 12 things to know and share. 1. What happened? On…

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05 Sep 2014 Vatican Comments (1)

Holy See calls for action in Iraq, and UN sends a mission

Vatican City, Sep 5, 2014 / 12:03 am.- The Holy See on Monday urged the UN to provide humanitarian aid to Iraq during a special session of the Human Rights Coun…

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Must I give money to panhandlers?

Full Question

I frequently bump into beggars on the street who ask me for small change. Is it okay to refuse to give them money?


There is no obligation to give money to panhandlers, especially those who do not appear to need it or who appear as though they would waste it. If your personal safety is not at risk, you could politely offer them information on the nearest homeless shelter. Since you regularly meet panhandlers, you might ask a nearby shelter for business cards with contact information that you could distribute instead of money.

In any event, if you meet your obligation to support the Church and you give to reputable charities, you need have no qualms about gently refusing to give spare change to panhandlers.


  1. Arianna Gonzalez Reply

    Is hypnotherapy against Catholic teaching?

  2. MNTCATH Reply

    I don’t like this way of handling those in need. It scream judgments of a person’s condition and the causes but it also does not recognize that their needs are *immediate*. A person who is in need could do a lot more with a cash/food in hand rather than being told they need to update their resume or need a mortgage. But more importantly, we as a culture have to understand that poverty is not a punishment for those who don’t save up or get fired for having long hair. As our controversial liberation theology brothers point out: (1) Poverty is a form of oppression
    (2) No one is born oppressed, and (3) People are made poor by others. Don’t like being “hassled” on the street by someone with their hand out? Well then, end the causes of poverty in society and reform those institutions that thrive on bandaid solutions.

  3. Michelle Reply

    I think we don’t have a shelter for panhandlers. That’s why i gave small amount.

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