I recently gave a talk at the University of Notre Dame. It was sponsored, in part, by ND’s Center for Social Concerns. The Center is recognized nationally for it’s community-based learning courses. What’s more, students do “immersion experiences” in gang war zones in Chicago, migrant farm labor camps in Florida, in the back woods of Appalachia… Students also go throughout the Third World to help with providing food, health care, adequate housing, education… for those in dire need of all of these. In addition, the Center sponsors seminars on such subjects as: human trafficking, authentic human development, poverty… Executive Director Rev. William Lies, points to Catholic Church teaching that explains: “Solidarity is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good…” Average Joe translation: If we know 24,000 people are starving to death every day in the world, we in America need to be sacrificing our butts off (way less food, way less energy use, way less entertainment…), so people in the Third World can have at least the basics in adequate food, medicine, shelter… That is, if we’re taking the Gospel message seriously.