Wednesday, August 31, 2005
The Census Bureau released figures yesterday showing that the number of Americans living in poverty last year increased by 1.1 million to 37 million. Of the 37 million, almost one third are children. (The figures also show that the number of Americans without health insurance increased to 45.8 million.)
In Sollicitudo rei socialis, Pope John Paul II called the option for the poor "a special form of primacy in the exercise of Christian charity, to which the whole tradition of the Church bears witness....[T]his love of preference for the poor, and the decisions which it inspires in us, cannot but embrace the immense multitudes of the hungry, the needy, the homeless, those without medical care and, above all, those without hope of a better future. It is impossible not to take into account the existence of these realities. To ignore them would mean becoming like the 'rich man' who pretended not to know the beggar Lazarus lying at his gates." He goes one to say that both our daily life and "our decisions in the political and economic fields must be marked by these realities." (par. 42)
Seems like we have a little work to do here.