Can poverty count as coercion?


In the French story Les Miserables, one of the characters is a prostitute named Fantine. She became a prostitute because she needed to support her daughter. There were NO other resources, and not resorting to prostitution would have resulted in her daughter dying of starvation.

Now the Church is clear that something is not sinful if coercion is involved, no matter how grave/serious the nature of it may be.

Does extreme poverty count as coercion?


(“Now the Church is clear that something is not sinful if coercion is involved”)

Oversimplified. Coercion may reduce guilt, but that is not nearly the same as removing guilt.


Yes, it does. How much it reduces it is an open question.

The poor have to do things you and I will never have to.


This. We would do well to remember this, too.


Just as Bertha Stone Heart and her partner Killer Jane drive right up and park right next to you, one on either side, and becoming a prostitute is by the only means available to deal with such a situation, that even a prostitute, even by becoming a prostitute and by using prostitution as the means to know and understand Bertha Stone Heart and her partner Killer Jane, and that if the virtuosos and Godly had any concern for the poor at all, or perhaps to even have the sufficient concern for them to make legitimate efforts to assist the poor in meaningful ways that would otherwise allow for someone’s survival, than the one who lives in poverty would not resort to prostitution as a last ditch effort save the very life of her daughter.

Wouldn’t it be true that if Christ came not to call the righteous, but to call sinners, and it is that prostitutes and tax collectors were some of his most loyal and abundant followers of His, than how is it then that someone who would turn to prostitution by the necessity of the only option available to feed her daughter would otherwise be at risk for the gravity of her sins? It is as well, that who would have provided her the opportunity to even bring her to the point of finding the only means of survival, but Christ and the Church alone, even if the virtuosos and Godly couldn’t care less about her to do anything for her in any way?

How can anyone who bears the cost of poverty within them know the force that guides and directs her, and whether it is by the forceful desires of her lovers or by the means otherwise unknown to her, how is it that she is even to know anything but by the means of her prostituting herself in the first place? God gave even the one who lives in poverty and He gave her daughter life as well. It is a worse sin to assure that her daughter will not starve to death by the only means available to her to prevent this from happening than to allow her to daughter to just die?


Absolutely, poverty can be a form of coercion!


I was afraid this thread would be flooded by hard-hearted modern-day-pharisees (the type of people who think that Christians should choose death when coerced with death-threats to do sinful acts [even when the death threats are focused at their children]).


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