Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

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					      With regard to Catholic Social Teaching in the public square, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops offers
                                                 “Seven Key Themes”
       The Right to Life & the Dignity of the Human Person             Dignity of Work & the Rights of Workers
       Call to Family, Community, and Participation                    Solidarity
       Rights and Responsibilities                                     Caring for God’s Creation
       Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
“While the common good embraces all, those who are in greatest need deserve
preferential concern. A moral test for society is how we treat the weakest among us—
the unborn, those dealing with disabilities or terminal illness, the poor and marginalized.”
As per Chapter 4 of the Compendium of               an instrument for respecting the principle       eliminate…poverty completely from this
the Social Doctrine of the Church, “The             of the universal destination of goods; in        world. This will happen only upon Christ's
permanent principles of the Church's                the final analysis,…it is not an end but a       return….the poor remain entrusted to us
social doctrine constitute the very heart of        means….                                          and it is this responsibility upon which we
Catholic social teaching. These are the                                                              shall be judged at the end….
principles of:                                      “Individual persons may not use their
    the dignity of the human person, ...which       resources without considering the effects        “the practice of charity is not limited to
    is the foundation of all                        that this use will have…they must act in a       alms-giving but implies addressing the
    the other principles & content of               way that benefits not only themselves &          social and political dimensions of the
    the Church's social doctrine;
                                                    their family but also the common                 problem of poverty….'When we attend to
    the common good;
    subsidiarity; and                               good....New technological and scientific         the needs of those in want, we give them
    solidarity....                                  knowledge must be placed at the service          what is theirs, not ours. More than
                                                    of mankind's primary needs ….                    performing works of mercy, we are paying
“The common good of society is not an                                                                a debt of justice' [Saint Gregory the
end in itself; it has value only in reference       "The principle of the universal destination      Great]….
to attaining the ultimate ends of the               of goods requires that the poor, the
person and the universal common good of             marginalized and in all cases those whose
the whole of creation. God is the ultimate          living conditions interfere with their
end of his creatures and for no reason              proper growth should be the focus of
may the common good be deprived of its              particular concern. To this end, the
transcendent dimension....                          preferential option for the poor should be
                                                    reaffirmed in all its force….
"Each person must have access to the
level of well-being necessary for his full
development ….
                                                       the dignity of the human person…
“By means of work and making use of              is the foundation of all the other principles &
the gift of intelligence, people are able           content of the Church’s social doctrine….
to exercise dominion over the earth and
make it a fitting home….                         the universal destination of goods requires….
                                                      the preferential option for the poor
“Private property is an essential element
of an authentically social & democratic
economic policy, &…the guarantee of a
correct social order.... Christian tradition        “Christian    realism…is     cautious…re-
has never recognized the right to private           garding    ideological    positions  and
property as absolute and untouchable                Messianistic beliefs that sustain the
....Private property...is in its essence only       illusion   that    it  is   possible   to
                                                                                       "Solidarity     highlights     in   a
                                                                                       particular way the intrinsic social
                                                                                       nature of the human person, the
                                                                                       equality of all in dignity & rights &
                                                                                       the common path of individuals &
                                                                                       peoples towards an ever more
                                                                                       committed unity.... Inter-national
                                                                                       solidarity too is required by the
                                                                                       moral order; peace in the world
                                                                                       depends in large part on this....

"It is impossible to promote the dignity of
the person without showing concern for
the family, groups, associations, local         subsidiarity protects people
territorial realities; in short, for that       from abuses by higher-level
aggregate of economic, social, cultural,
                                                 social authority & calls on
sports-oriented, recreational, professional
and political expressions to which people        these same authorities to      “The unsurpassed apex of the perspective
spontaneously give life and which make it             help individuals &        indicated here is the life of Jesus of
possible for them to achieve effective         intermediate groups to fulfil    Nazareth….In him it is always possible to
social growth....                                                               recognize the living sign of that
                                                their duties….subsidiarity is   measureless and transcendent love of
“The principle of subsidiarity protects         opposed to certain forms of     God-with-us, who takes on the infirmities
people from abuses by higher-level social               centralization,         of his people, walks with them, saves
authority and calls on these same                                               them and makes them one....
authorities to help individuals and            bureaucratization, & welfare
intermediate groups to fulfil their                  assistance & to the        "The    Church's social        Magisterium
duties....The principle of subsidiarity is         unjustified & excessive      constantly calls for the most classical
opposed       to    certain     forms     of                                    forms of justice to be respected:
centralization, bureaucratization, and             presence of the State in              commutative,
welfare assistance and to the unjustified      public mechanisms….Various                distributive &
and excessive presence of the State in                                                   legal justice.
                                                 circumstances can make it      Ever greater importance has been given to
public mechanisms.... Various circum-
stances may make it advisable that the
                                               necessary that the State step    social justice....
State step in to supply certain                      in to supply certain
functions....this institutional substitution                                    "It is from the inner wellspring of love
                                               functions….this institutional
must not continue any longer than is                                            that the values of truth, freedom and
absolutely necessary….The characteristic
                                                    substitution must not       justice are born and grow.... No
imply-cation of subsidiarity is partici-        continue any longer than is     legislation, no system of rules or
pation....every democracy must be                   absolutely necessary        negotiation will ever succeed in
participative....                                                               persuading men and peoples to live in
                                                                                unity, brotherhood and peace; no line of
                                                                                reasoning will ever be able to surpass the
                                                                                appeal of love”

   “the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights-for example,
   the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture- is false & illusory if the
   right to life, the most basic & fundamental right & the condition for all other
   personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination” (Pope John Paul II,
   Christifideles Laici