91 – For the Church, the option for the poor is a theological category. I want a Church which is poor and for the poor. The new evangelization is an invitation to acknowledge the saving power at work in their lives

“Oh Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name!” These were the last words pronounced by Madame Roland, one of the vital participants of the French Revolution, before she lay her head on the block to be guillotined. The phrase became legendary for so clearly expressing how certain concepts are subject to manipulation, for this woman was being condemned in the name of the same false ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity that she had formerly defended.

Each epoch has certain omnivalent catchphrases which, when shrewdly employed, serve to provoke the masses and to move those human interests under whose shadow revolutions lurk. If in those days the amulet-word was “liberty”, in our days it doesn’t seem exaggerated to affirm it as “poverty”.

Throughout two thousand years, the Church has always stood out for its love and maternal care toward the needy, so much so that many Pontiffs spoke of a “preferential option” for the poor. However, the connotation of this difficult human condition seems to be suffering a strange metamorphosis…What does the Magisterium teach us regarding the poor? Why does the Church show concern for the poor, and how has it always understood this arduous human predicament? Should the Church be poor? In what manner?

Francis

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Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter in the various parts of our study

ContentsAuthors
I – Who will save us? Christ or poverty?
II –
How the Church always considered poverty and why it has concern for the poor
III –
Should the Church be poor? In what manner?
IV –
The saints, rich or poor, are the true evangelizers in the Church


I – Who will save us? Christ or poverty?


Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The ultimate normative principle: the truth revealed by God himself. To place the poor as the point of departure is a misrepresentation of the faith

Saint Ambrose of Milan

Material poverty is not holy in itself
Not all the poor are blessed

John Paul II

The poor of the Beatitudes are not indigents

Congregation for the Cause of Saints

A needy person could be selfish and cling on to the only coin that he possesses

John Paul II

The rich in God are always blessed with Heaven, whether possessing earthly goods or lacking them

Pius XI

All, rich or poor, must keep their eye fixed on heaven

Leo XIII

Whether we have riches in abundance, or are lacking in them, virtue alone will be followed by the rewards of everlasting happiness

Saint John Chrysostom

Poverty at one time leads to blasphemy, at another to wisdom - according to the disposition of the user

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Perfection consists not in poverty but in following Christ
Perfection can also coexist with great opulence: Abraham was rich
Nothing prevents a vice from arising out of poverty

Saint Basil the Great

Involuntary poverty in itself is not blessed. The poor who are covetous: this poverty does not save, their affections condemn

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The Church receives from Christ the truth of salvation that she offers to mankind
By the power of his Paschal Mystery, Christ has set us free

John Paul II

Salvation can only come from Jesus Christ

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The Redemption, accomplished by Jesus, is made efficacious through the Sacraments

John Paul II

Only those who suffer in union with Christ and the Church can participate in the redemptive suffering

II – How the Church always considered poverty and why it has concern for the poor


John Paul II

The Church’s love for the poor is a part of her constant tradition

Paul VI

The Church's mission cannot be reduced to a simply temporal project.

Benedict XVI

There are many forms of poverty other than material poverty

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Church’s love for the poor extends not only to material poverty but also to the many forms of cultural and religious poverty

John Paul II

The primacy of attention should be for spiritual forms of poverty

Pius XI

No one is so poor as he who is deprived of God’s grace

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The first poverty is not to know Christ
Human misery is the obvious sign of the need for salvation

Paul VI

The deep solicitude of the Church for the needs of men is born of the desire to illuminate them with the light of Christ

Sacred Scripture

The preferential option of Christ: proclaim the good news to the poor

John Paul II

The greatest good we can give the poor: the Gospel

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The preoccupation with bread cannot postpone evangelization

John Paul I

The Church’s pastoral charity would be incomplete if she did not point out ‘higher needs’

Benedict XVI

The witness of charity must go together with the proclamation of the truth of the Gospel

Pius XII

The Church desires that all material redemptions have as their base a moral elevation

John Paul II

The duties toward the poor lies in their dignity as children of God

Paul VI

The option for the poor has as its purpose to raise them to a life in accordance with their dignity as Children of God

Benedict XVI

To change unjust structures we must focus attention on eternal salvation

Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

The Church is conscious that it is impossible to eliminate poverty completely from this world

III – Should the Church be poor? In what manner?


John Paul II

Far from adding poverty to that of the poor, it is necessary to spread true richness
Evangelical poverty is the subjection of all goods to the supreme Good of God

John XXII

Jesus Christ and his Apostles had earthly possessions

John XXIII

The Lord himself had money-boxes in forming his Church

John Paul II

The Church has always claimed the right to possess and administer temporal goods

Benedict XVI

When the so-called paupers’ movement rose up against a rich and beautiful Church, the Mendicant Orders opposed them

Pius X

The external pomp, by which authority in the Church is reverenced, is honor paid to Jesus Christ

John Paul II

The Church has feared no ‘extravagance’, devoting the best of resources to the unsurpassable gift of the Eucharist

Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff

In the divine worship ‘noble simplicity’ must not be confused with ‘liturgical poverty’

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

To serve the dignity of worship: all things should be truly worthy, becoming, and beautiful, as symbols of the supernatural world
creatures

Leo XIII

Pomp and splendor of ceremonies: is to be solicitous for the salvation of one’s neighbor

Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff

The Church will attract men, rich or poor, by putting on the royal mantle of true beauty

IV – The saints, rich or poor, are the true evangelizers in the Church


John Paul II

The Church is universal, not of only one class

Benedict XVI

Evangelization is the proclamation of Jesus as the one Saviour – without a reductive sociological understanding

John Paul II

Holiness of life is what makes a Christian a fruitful evangelizer
Holiness is a fundamental condition for the mission of salvation of the Church

Paul VI

The first means of evangelization: an authentically Christian life

Benedict XV

To enter upon the apostolic life: one must despise sin and practice the virtues
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