In Pakistan, one need not wait too long to hear some update or the other, regarding the massive humanitarian crisis which has gripped our nation, and practically sunk it. It's all over the local print media, on the news channels, blogs, and other popular social networks. Almost every street corner has a stall or two where one can make a donation, drop off supplies and/or offer to help. Have we taken a stand and offered help to our fellow citizens? Yes, countless have, and in whichever way they can.

The devastation is pitiful, the suffering - unimaginable. Some have done a remarkable job of voicing the true extent of our people's need. Others, have given up family, work and their regular activities to spend time there, attempting to help, while feeling lost and helpless at the same time. They send in regular updates, and leave the rest of us feeling numb, and unable to grasp even a fraction of what they're looking at. 

I cannot get those tragic pictures out of my mind, I cannot stop thinking about children just like mine dying out there, of women giving birth in filthy conditions, and no one to attend to their needs. I've watched people galvanized into action, pulling in donations, sending out truckloads of supplies, coming together, swearing at the government, raging at the international community for not doing enough, embarrassing people into giving more, and with the best of intentions, putting their hard earned money into the hands of corrupt folk, in order to do their part. 

Not to be outdone, the RCC in Pakistan has taken up it's own "Relief Efforts" after encouragement from the Pope himself. I don't know how the entire archdiocese is handling this situation, but the church closest to me, finally spread the word enough for us to hear about it. And, as much as I tell myself they can't do much more to shock me, I'm wrong every.single.time.

There are countless relief efforts taking place in Karachi, from large to small organizations doing their bit. NGOs and the bigger outfits like Edhi leading a large portion of relief work. And, every single one of the smaller trusts which I've come across have special bank accounts set up for incoming funds for flood relief vicitims. But, not the RCC just down my street. If you wish to donate towards their flood relief campaign, then you must deposit the money into the church account.

So, let's talk accountability.

Charitable efforts are never questioned in the RCC of Pakistan... I mean, they're questioned, but never beyond living rooms, and dinner parties. And, we all know how massive your regular official church account would be. Daily offerings, Sunday offerings, monthly tithing, occasional donations, and/or possible misc incoming funds.

And, now donations for flood victims.

With nothing to show for it later (not that anyone would dare ask), except what I feel would be some random figure amounting to hundreds of thousands flung at the media, with the complimentary caption of "The Catholic church in Pakistan assists it's brothers and sisters in their time of need."

We're pathetic if we cannot stand up, and demand a more streamlined and transparent form of charity work, and very specially for this present crisis, where every penny counts. We don't care enough if we're just happy to go dump a couple of bundles of old clothes at the nearest church compound. We're deliberately blinding ourselves if we don't insist on holding them accountable for what we work hard to earn and give. And, we're a sorry lot if we remain silent because we fear ridicule from the community/church leaders.. Specially, when we're doing it at the expense of millions who need us to be stronger.

On a side note... It's time for the Catholic youth to place less focus on their smart phones, and get more involved. Are they out there lending a hand? Or is it still the same small, handpicked group of the religious elite running around looking important? Where are the mini-melas? The fundraising "Talent Show" events? The food fairs? Aside from one tiny Pakistan Day event, I've heard nothing about fundraising from the community youth. I'd love to be proved wrong, and I hope I am.