Preferential option for the poor

The moral test of any society is based on how the most vulnerable people are treated. God loves all people, but prioritizes and calls us to a unique concern for the poor.

Preferential option for the poor

[The] needs of the poor must take priority over the desires of the rich; the rights of workers over the maximization of profits; the preservation of the environment over uncontrolled industrial expansion; production to meet social needs over production for military purposes.

This is an option, or a special form of primacy in the exercise of Christian charity, to which the whole tradition of the Church appears witness. It affects the life of each Christian inasmuch as he or she seeks to imitate the life of Christ, but it applies equally to our social responsibilities and hence to our manner of living, and to the logistical decisions to be made concerning the ownership and use of goods. Today, furthermore, given the worldwide dimension which the social question has assumed, this level 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 health care and, above all, those without hope for a better future.

Example in action:

Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada applies this preferential principle in its partnerships. During humanitarian emergencies and in our long-term development programs, we work with local partners who are best placed to reach, provide aid to and accompany the poorest and most vulnerable communities. These communities’ stories and testimonies take precedence in our educational materials, providing a space in Canadian society for voices that may otherwise go unheard.

We also raise awareness about how our lives in Canada impact upon and benefit from the lives and work of others, be it through our purchases, our investments or our national policies. Some of our members pay more for fair trade coffee, knowing they will either have less money to spend or less coffee to drink. Others encourage divestment from harmful extractive companies. Members also advocate for an alternative economy, where the poor are not exploited or excluded for the comfort of others.

SEARCH for :


Don’t miss anything about the work of our international partners or our awareness and mobilization campaigns.

Sign up now for our newsletter.