Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez has never been shy in taking slaps at the Catholic Church, especially the archdiocese of Los Angeles. And then there was his February 18, 2007, column, in which facts and truth went by the wayside. Wrote Lopez,
Look, I was never a perfect student in Catholic school. But I recall a thing or two about the Christian duty of looking after the neediest amongst us. And if I've learned anything in the last two years, it's that this city has a lot of need.
It's time for [Los Angeles Cardinal Roger] Mahony to lead his army of Christian soldiers down the hill and into the service of their fellow men. I know from experience that one person can make a difference in someone's life. I'd even volunteer, selflessly, to make some introductions.
Well, the Reverend Monsignor Gregory A. Cox, Executive director of Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, wrote a letter to the Times in response to Lopez' words. And - surprise - the Times actually published it. Here it is (bold and hyperlink added by me):
In his comments concerning Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony's role in directing Catholics to serve the neediest among us, Steve Lopez has offended the thousands of Catholic volunteers and staff who are providing services and programs to the area's homeless and other needy residents.
Since 1919, Catholic Charities has been one of the largest social service providers in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
In more than 50 offices and community centers, the agency rendered more than 1.2 million services during the fiscal year 2005-06. Nearly 95% of Catholic Charities' clients live in extreme poverty, with yearly incomes of less than $17,000.
Last year, the agency served 242,000 individuals, delivering quality services to them by leveraging community relationships and partnerships with other organizations committed to helping those in need.
Volunteers at the Cathedral Outreach Center make more than 1,000 lunches each Tuesday and Thursday, then deliver them to the homeless in the area. Catholics around Los Angeles have been actively and intimately involved in helping the homeless and others in need under Mahony's leadership.
The church believes that serving the neediest among us is not just a Lenten observance but a responsibility 365 days a year.
MSGR. GREGORY A. COX
Catholic Charities of Los Angeles
Gee, did Lopez say that he'd "volunteer" in some way? Maybe beyond "making some introductions," he could contact any one of the several regional offices of Catholic Charities of Los Angeles.