“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.” Luke 4:18
The coming election cycle will present Iowans with the opportunity to hear candidates present their solution to the problems of poverty. Catholic social teaching offers insight to Catholics as they consider the many features of the complex issue and candidate’s proposed solutions.
Catholic social doctrine reaffirms our obligation to share our abundant resources with those in need. Whether the resources are spiritual, social or economic, our just treatment of the vulnerable, or the “least among us,” is a command that has the power to improve individual lives and enhance the common good as the ultimate test of our society.
Consequently, how we design public policy to meet our obligations to one another is critically important to addressing the complex issue of poverty. Public policy plays a role in directing needed resources—through both the means of giving and receiving—and Catholic teaching provides a guide for a measure of its success or failure, depending on whether it affirms or diminishes the life and dignity of the human person.
From Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching:
“The person is not only sacred but also social. We are designed for life in community, and how we organize our society — in economics and politics, in law and policy — directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. Marriage and family are the central social institutions that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined. We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.”