One of the world’s greatest self-inflicted ills of mankind is "Poverty." More humans throughout the world suffer from poverty, that is, hunger, shelter, and clothing, than any other problem that can be solved by common sense amongst mankind. True, there are some horrific ills of mankind but with the available resources, poverty can be resolved. Unfortunately, no matter how much good the faithful of the Catholic Church and others accomplish, hunger prevails throughout the world. With the inability to influence the politics of a nation especially in the Americas, hunger has a great impact. The results of hunger are immeasurable.

One might ask why the Catholic faithful do so much to solve hunger and the illness still continues at a high level. It might be that Catholics have lost their influence in American politics and politicians, although helpful, have found the problem of hunger at a level that is too costly to solve completely. Yet, some reports indicate that 40+ percent of our food production is wasted.

Solving the hunger problem is probably the most significant activity in solving many other ills. In the 1930’s, the USA government implemented the Work Projects Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) that provided employment to my father and oldest brother and, as a result, our family avoided hunger. The impact of our government politicians in solving poverty must be addressed.

Today, Oct. 2013, the USA government is furloughing many citizens into unemployment because of politics and the hunger line increases. There are many manmade ills that have entered into the USA political arena. A few critical issues, for example, abortion, same sex marriage, have been made legal by our politicians (including Catholics).

To understand the status and knowledge of the Catholic voter is the first step in solving the self-inflicted ills of our citizens. In addition, severe poverty is a result of an inadequate jobs program. Abortion has been legalized because of many politicians accepting abortion as a solution to their family problems and re-election. Same-sex marriage is a result of many politicians having family members with the illness of homosexuality and, consequently, politicians influencing others to vote in support.

With all the obvious wrongs and the large numbers of Catholic voters, why is there a decreasing Catholic influence on American politicians? There are many explanations but the statistical explanation is that the Catholic faithful who vote are nearly equally dispersed between the two parties and the differential is ineffective. True, political allegiance, too often, is fundamental to their voting direction.

Why then is party affiliation overriding their Catholic position? There are many considerations and they must be understood. Influence from Catholics in the media ranks high. While I most often watch C-Span as my source of unadulterated political presentations, the Catholic pundits on MSNBC (for example) including Chris Mathews, Lawrence O’Donnell, Chris Hayes (and others), provide support to abortion and same-sex marriage in a regular commentary. It is unbelievable, when watching other TV networks, the Catholics have their differing political agendas. I am an ardent watcher of EWTN and even there, on the Catholic network, their news programs are dividing Catholics on serious issues. My education via C-Span provides me with a healthy knowledge of Obamacare and its potential solution to the medical problems of twenty + million Americans and thereby providing a healthy workforce to avoid poverty and its ills. Yet, news reporter Raymond Arroya, of EWTN, too often, provides lengthy opposition to Obamacare. Without fully explaining that he opposes Obamacare because of his interpretations of its conditions on abortion, etc., he blatantly opposes Obamacare in its entirety. While I appreciate Raymond Arroya for his good attributes, his political stance in support of one political party divides his Catholic listeners and minimizes our required Catholic and political togetherness on major issues.

There is an underlining cause to the problem of losing the proper influence of Catholics in American politics. The most significant problem is the lack of Catholic education amongst a large number of Catholics. A historic statistical review of Catholics indicates that during the last 50 years, too many Catholic faithful have lost interest in their Catholic teachings. The percentage of Catholics attending Sunday Liturgy has decreased measurably. The number of priests and sisters has decreased reaching a crisis point. In 1963 there were 56,540 priests, 177,154 sisters, 47,574 seminarians, 4,609,029 Catholic elementary students and 1,004,927 Catholic high school students. In 2012, there were 39,718 priests, 55,045 sisters, 5,015 seminarians, 1,489,511 Catholic elementary students, and 623,613 Catholic high school students. The obvious analysis is that we have lost our primary religious teachers, priests and sisters, and significantly, the lack of seminarians indicates that we are in a continuing, ever-lasting, deepening crisis.

In 1963, in the USA we had a Catholic population of 43,851,538 and in 2012 we had 69,110,606 Catholics in accordance to our bishops’ annual report to Rome. The major increase of Catholics when coupled with the horrific decrease of priests and sisters plus the disaster of a decrease in seminarians indicates a less effective education of the faithful and, in turn, their acceptance of national ills of poverty, abortion, same sex marriage, etc.

Our Church Leaders are thoroughly exhausted by their own inability to solve the priest and sister shortages and apparently their lack of acknowledging the existing crisis has allowed for the existence of Catholics in politics to continue their wayward travels. As Pope Francis recently declared that there is a lack of focus and, prayerfully, he is going to create a mess to offset our ills.