Some thoughts on the poverty from a Catholic who has grown weary of the constant focus on the poor by the Catholic Church…
Who defines what is poverty? Who defines who is poor?
Today the poor live better than some kings lived only but a few centuries ago.
The working poor are the people that I care about the most.
Every day the working poor are working very hard to pay high taxes. These are the unsung heroes that have no special interest group to lobby on their behalf. Many women have no choice but to work in order to pay for these high taxes. They’d rather be at home having children and raising them but now they just go to work to pay for the babies of other people.
The reality today is that most taxes go toward entitlements and social welfare programs that help the poor and the needy.
The indolent “poor” here in America have never had it better. 50% of people living in the USA are now on some form of government assistance.Those of us that work for a living have become slaves to the poor. The very same poor that get free cell phones from the government. All the basics of life are provided to the poor, free housing, free health care, free dental care, free schools, food stamps are given out as well. A single “poor” mother can earn an equivalent to $85,000 in benefits.
Here in America there is no excuse for generational poverty. Naturally anyone that comes here will be poor initially but eventually everyone can become part of the middle class if they work hard.
Regarding the “Church for the poor” comment from our dear Pope. The poor have access to all kinds of programs and charity from their local Catholic Churches and Diocese. There are more foodbanks now then ever as well. The Church should be for everyone not just the poor.
I object to the “social justice” notion that poor people and poverty itself should be put on some kind of pedestal. Poverty itself is evil and no virtue. God did not create us to be poor. He said be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth. Our goal should be to uplift people from the scourge of poverty, not to allow them to wallow in it and become dependent on others.
Unless you are joining a religious order, we shouldn’t be idolizing poverty in any way shape or form. Instead we should be promoting the values of opportunity, hard work, education and prosperity. The Old Testament and even the New Testament is full of examples and parables where prosperity, abundance, hard work and proper stewardship of resources are virtues not vices.
Everyone I know has been poor at some point in their life. Sure there are people who through no fault of their own have become disadvantaged and destitute; those are the people we should help, not the lazy. We are obligated to help orphans and widows too.
We should all read 2 Thessalonians 3:
6-9 Our orders—backed up by the Master, Jesus—are to refuse to have anything to do with those among you who are lazy and refuse to work the way we taught you. Don’t permit them to freeload on the rest. We showed you how to pull your weight when we were with you, so get on with it. We didn’t sit around on our hands expecting others to take care of us. In fact, we worked our fingers to the bone, up half the night moonlighting so you wouldn’t be burdened with taking care of us. And it wasn’t because we didn’t have a right to your support; we did. We simply wanted to provide an example of diligence, hoping it would prove contagious.
10-13 Don’t you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” And now we’re getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately—no excuses, no arguments—and earn their own keep. Friends, don’t slack off in doing your duty.
14-15 If anyone refuses to obey our clear command written in this letter, don’t let him get by with it. Point out such a person and refuse to subsidize his freeloading. Maybe then he’ll think twice. But don’t treat him as an enemy. Sit him down and talk about the problem as someone who cares.
Today St. Paul would be called “mean-spirited” but he spoke the truth.