I know that there is suffering in the world and that there are people in need. What really irks me, though, are the people who use that reality to take advantage of others.
After Mass this evening, one of my parishioners came back into the church to tell me that there was someone begging outside. I went outside to see a woman standing with a younger girl at her side. The girl was holding a very young child. They were asking for money.
I assessed the situation quite quickly and told them to leave or I would call the police. They turned around and started to walk toward the front entrance of the church. I hollered and pointed to get away from that entrance as well.
My instinct was absolutely correct. They went straight to a nicer car than I would ever drive, got in, and drove away. There were not in need. There were merely trying to bilk others. When that happens, though, and people find out they were taken, they are less willing to help someone who is truly in need.
I don’t wish them ill, especially since there were carrying a child around with them. But I sure would call the police on them if I ever see them again.