Resources for Educators: Poverty
St. John Chrysostom vigorously recalls this: "Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs." "The demands of justice must be satisfied first of all; that which is already due in justice is not to be offered as a gift of charity": When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice. CCC 2446.
“One of the most striking aspects of development in the present day is the important question of respect for life, which cannot in any way be detached from questions concerning the development of peoples. It is an aspect which has acquired increasing prominence in recent times, obliging us to broaden our concept of poverty and underdevelopment to include questions connected with the acceptance of life, especially in cases where it is impeded in a variety of ways.” Caritas in Veritate n. 28.
“By cultivating openness to life, wealthy peoples can better understand the needs of poor ones, they can avoid employing huge economic and intellectual resources to satisfy the selfish desires of their own citizens, and instead, they can promote virtuous action within the perspective of production that is morally sound and marked by solidarity, respecting the fundamental right to life of every people and every individual.” Caritas in Veritate n. 28.
Important Church Documents:
- Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI (2009).
- When Did We See You Hungry? A Statement from the Bishops of Maryland (January 2012).
- "How to Vote Catholic: Poverty," CatholiCity.com
- “Catholic Campaign for Human Development: Basic Principles of Catholic Mission.”
- “Reflections on Poverty in America,” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
- "Poverty." CatholicnetLinks.com
- Monsignor Charles Murphy, “The Good Life from a Catholic Perspective: The Challenge of Consumption.”
- Howard Hubbard, “Fighting Poverty to Build Peace: Pope Benedict's challenge to the world,” America Magazine (February 2009).
- Dave Borowski, Working to reduce poverty in America,” Catholic Herald (June 2009).
- “Address of Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi,” 91st Session of the International Labour Conference (June 2003).
Dates to Note
November 8 is the birthday of Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement.
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