In Ireland this spring, I went to confession with a friar.
Among the things I related was a general unwillingness and a bit of bitterness in giving to the poor (not that I have much to give-- I still owe around 7,000 on school loans and have a much smaller than that bank account).
He replied, “here, the poor should all be on welfare which provides them with ample resources to live. The welfare system here gives them quite a lot. You shouldn’t be giving to them. The poor who really need it should be receiving through the Church-- most of these people on the corner are con artists.”
Of course, it makes sense. We’re not looking to get ourselves and our pearls trampled by swine. But nonetheless, Jesus’ other words haunt me. “As you have done for the least…”
What is right? Should I distrust the poor and believe they are con artists, or support them even if I am suspicious of their motives?