Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright recently summed up the state of current events this way: "The world is a mess." And that blunt comment is an understatement. Perhaps adding the word "desperate" would make her statement more accurate.
What to do? Pope Francis' recommendation: Go out to the fringes of society, serve the poor, the sick, the hungry, the migrants, the refugees, the dying. Often, these locations are conflict-filled.
Thank God, then, for Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops' international relief and development agency, and the work it does in the major hot spots around the globe.
Catholic News Service wrote about the life-saving work of CRS in Gaza, right in the epicenter of carnage, fear and horrific desperation.
Over the course of the past couple of weeks, U.S. media outlets have hosted CRS leaders to discuss the work of CRS. Here's a summary of those stories:
Bill O'Keefe, CRS's vice president for advocacy, appeared on "Hardball with Chris Matthews" to discuss the persecution of Christians in Iraq. He was quite good about the work that CRS is doing there.
There was also a piece on "NBC Nightly News" on the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa -- and CRS was interviewed as part of that segment.
CBS ran a story on gang violence in El Salvador, and the one bright spot featured in a very difficult and depressing situation is the work that CRS is doing with kids and teens there.
Finally, the local Baltimore ABC affiliate, WMAR, featured CRS in a more in-depth segment of the Ebola crisis.