Ernesto Cortés, Jr.

Ernesto Cortés, Jr., is the Southwest regional director of the Chicago-based Industrial Areas Foundation.

Recent Articles

Faith, Charity, and Justice

In her book Men in Dark Times , Hannah Arendt recounts a story in which Pope John XXIII asked one of the Vatican gardeners, "How are things going?" The worker replied, "Badly, badly, Your Eminence," telling Pope John what he earned and how many family members he had to support. "We'll have to do something about this," said the Pope, only to be told later that raising the wages would cut the funds available for charity. The Pope's response: "Then we'll have to cut them. For & justice comes before charity." I was always taught that what is owed in justice should never be given in charity. Please don't misunderstand me: I think charity is sometimes required. People need to eat, and children need shoes and school supplies -- today. But charity only addresses the immediate needs. It does not lead to sustainable change, to self-sufficiency for families, to dignity in the workplace, or to justice. Charity does not reduce inequality. It does not lead to justice. When Ben Bernanke,...