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SOME REFLECTIONS FOR THE 1ST WORKING GROUP MEETING ON THE CARITAS GLOBAL ANTI-POVERTY CAMPAIGN HELEN ALFORD OP ANGELICUM Catholic Social Thought and Poverty.

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Presentation on theme: "SOME REFLECTIONS FOR THE 1ST WORKING GROUP MEETING ON THE CARITAS GLOBAL ANTI-POVERTY CAMPAIGN HELEN ALFORD OP ANGELICUM Catholic Social Thought and Poverty."— Presentation transcript:

1 SOME REFLECTIONS FOR THE 1ST WORKING GROUP MEETING ON THE CARITAS GLOBAL ANTI-POVERTY CAMPAIGN HELEN ALFORD OP ANGELICUM Catholic Social Thought and Poverty

2 An outline Some definitions: poverty, human development, CST Poverty in the Christian tradition  Types of poverty  Condemnation of enforced, degrading poverty; positive evaluation of economic activity that is oriented towards human good;  Condemnation of consumerism and “superdevelopment”; praise of detachment from material goods and forms of simplicity and poverty that are freely embraced  How does the “evangelical counsel” of poverty fit in?  Poverty and misery (la pauvreté et la misère)  Principles, virtues, and encyclicals on poverty  Some concluding thoughts

3 Some definitions CST 1: Catholic social teaching (doctrine) CST2: Catholic social thought (without CST1: Catholic social ethics) CST3: Catholic social tradition (without CST 1 and/or 2: Catholic social movements) CST 3 CST 2 CST1 Catholic Social ethics Catholic Social movements

4 Some definitions Each definition has drawbacks and strengths: WB: convenient but crude (Kaplan, 2012) UNDP: more inclusive, more difficult to obtain accurate data Sen: mostdirectly focused on human person, but not easy to measure Geremek: socially nuanced and significant; difficult to meaure World Bank: cut-off levels for income: LIC, L/UMIC, HIC, with US$1.25 per day as inter. pov. line UNDP: multidimensional poverty index, with income, education and health (sub)components Sen: lacking capabilities to parti- cipate in the economic process Geremek: social status, a “distinct way of life” made up of various factors; “its degrading effect [is] the most significant”

5 Poverty in the Christian Tradition (1)  Classic distinction: material poverty (poverty of possessions) and spiritual poverty (poverty of spirit)  Cantalamessa, Poverty, 1997 Negative material poverty (social poverty to be combatted) Positive material poverty (e.g. of those in religious life) Negative spiritual poverty (absence of spiritual wealth) Positive spiritual poverty (humble trust in God)  Cf Benedict XVI, Message for World Peace Day, 2009 Poverty “to be chosen vs “iniquitous poverty”  St Thomas, “habitual poverty”, Summa Theologiae, II-II, q. 19  Christopher Franks, 2009 “ontological poverty”, or “created lowliness”

6 CST and poverty (2) Evangelical poverty (“evangelical counsel”)  Jesus and the rich young man: “if you wish to be perfect, go and sell what you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me” (Mt 19: 21) Commandments vs counsels? St Thomas: there is one way, the way of perfect charity. The counsels are a useful means, and they become essential to those who have bound themselves to follow them. CCC 915: “Christ proposes the evangelical counsels, in their great variety, to every disciple”

7 Poverty in the Christian Tradition (3) Poverty and misery  A distinction that does not exist in English, but does in many other languages, that is, between a form of poverty with dignity and la misère  Dickens, Hugo  CSDC 2004: Rerum novarum “examines the condition of salaried workers, which was particuarly distressing for industrial labourers who languished in inhumane misery” (n. 89)  Compare medieval situation  Cardijn and YCW, Lebret and the shantytowns of Brazil...  Liberation theology...

8 CST2 principles Common Good Principles Association Solidarity Participation Justice Subsidiarity Option for Poor Universal Destination of goods Prudence, Justice, Temperance, Fortitude/Courage, Solidarity Human Virtues Human Person Confronting Poverty

9 Poverty in the Christian tradition (4) How does modern CST1 confront poverty?  Rerum Novarum  Provide access to property through a living wage different way of speaking to rich and poor often criticised, but compare, say, Cafod document on post-MDGs and the different way in which rich and poor nations are treated.  Centesimus annus  Possession of land is less important than “possession of know- how, knowledge and skill” (n. 32). cf microcredit, social entrepreneurship, social business  CSDC n. 449: the fight against poverty  Should we aim for zero poverty? CSDC n  Caritas in veritate: poverty as isolation (n. 53)

10 Caritas in veritate (1) Are there implications for the Global Anti-Poverty Campaign from a text like this?  When both the logic of the market and the logic of the State come to an agreement that each will continue to exercise a monopoly over its respective area of influence, in the long term much is lost: solidarity in relations between citizens, participation and adherence, actions of gratuitousness, all of which stand in contrast with giving in order to acquire (the logic of exchange) and giving through duty (the logic of public obligation, imposed by State law). In order to defeat underdevelopment, action is required not only on improving exchange- based transactions and implanting public welfare structures, but above all on gradually increasing openness, in a world context, to forms of economic activity marked by quotas of gratuitousness and communion. The exclusively binary model of market-plus-State is corrosive of society, while economic forms based on solidarity, which find their natural home in civil society without being restricted to it, build up society. The market of gratuitousness does not exist, and attitudes of gratuitousness cannot be established by law. Yet both the market and politics need individuals who are open to reciprocal gift (n. 39)

11 Caritas in veritate (2): Globalization The processes of globalization, suitably understood and directed, open up the unprecedented possibility of large-scale redistribution of wealth on a world-wide scale; if badly directed, however, they can lead to an increase in poverty and inequality, and could even trigger a global crisis. It is necessary to correct the malfunctions, some of them serious, that cause new divisions between peoples and within peoples, and also to ensure that the redistribution of wealth does not come about through the redistribution or increase of poverty: a real danger if the present situation were to be badly managed... The transition inherent in the process of globalization presents great difficulties and dangers that can only be overcome if we are able to appropriate the underlying anthropological and ethical spirit that drives globalization towards the humanizing goal of solidarity (n. 42)

12 By way of conclusion... How much could or should the global campaign focus on social enterprise and social innovation?  Muhammad Yunus, Creating a World Without Poverty, 2008  This would be very much in line with Caritas in veritate Up to now, CST1 (unlike CST2 and CST3 as a whole) has not focused much on women.  Can a Caritas campaign on global poverty help create an environment in which that could be remedied? For tomorrow:  From your experience in Caritas locally and internationally, what do you see as common and what different regarding:  the way poverty is understood,  the way it is addressed or confronted

13 SOME REFLECTIONS FOR THE 1ST WORKING GROUP MEETING ON THE CARITAS GLOBAL ANTI-POVERTY CAMPAIGN HELEN ALFORD OP ANGELICUM Catholic Social Thought and Poverty


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