Faithful Citizenship: Preferential Option for the Poor and Economic Justice

In our series focused on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Faithful Citizenship guide, we again look at how to apply Catholic teaching to public policy issues facing our nation. This week we look at the preferential option for the poor and economic justice.  We encourage our network to read the document in full, as there is insufficient space here to cover all the issues it raises.

The preferential option for the poor calls Catholics to make economic decisions based upon “whether they protect or undermine the dignity of the human person.”  The document reads, “Social and economic policies should foster the creation of jobs for all who can work with decent working conditions and just wages.” Catholic social teaching supports “the right of workers to choose whether to organize,”… and also affirms “economic freedom, initiative, and the right to private property.”

The document further states that “Welfare policy should reduce poverty and dependency, strengthen family life, and help families leave poverty through work, training, and assistance with child care, health care, housing, and transportation. …[i]t should also provide a safety net for those who cannot work.” The Church supports programs like Social Security, which provides support for the elderly and those who are disabled. It also supports food security for all through programs like SNAP (food stamps) and the Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).