Mere charity is a band-aid that cannot bring liberation. Neither can ardent calls for justice from those who live separately from the oppressed. Both fall short of true compassion. Paulo Freire wrote: “The generosity of the oppressors is nourished by an unjust order, which must be maintained in order to justify that generosity…The man or woman who proclaims devotion to the cause of liberation yet is unable to enter into communion with the people, whom he or she continues to regard as totally ignorant, is grievously self-deceived.”¹ Both of these general approaches increase the distance between us and suffering. We become apathetic to the struggles and sufferings around us. Apathy comes from a Greek word apatheia, which is made up of two words: a meaning “without” and pathos meaning “suffering.” Apathy is a spiritual disease that renders us incapable of empathy.
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