Church’s Response to the Poor Involves More than Charity

Pope Francis never tires of urging people to “hear the cry of the poor.” Hearing this cry involves not only acts of charity and programs of charitable assistance, but also the adoption of policies that will address the root causes of poverty. In his apostolic exhortation On the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World, the Holy Father strikes a note of urgency:

Welfare projects, which meet certain urgent needs, should be considered merely temporary responses. As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality is the root of social ills (par. 202).

The Holy Father appreciates the value of markets and of economic growth, but believes much more is needed. He would like to see steps taken to create a better distribution of income and more employment. In regards to the current situation he observes: “But the current model, with its emphasis on success and self-reliance, does not appear to favor an investment in efforts to help the slow, the weak or the less talented to find opportunities in life” (par. 209).


Posted: October 2, 2014

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