The Catholic Church’s social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amid the challenges of modern society. Here is number four of the seven principles of the tradition.
PRINCIPLE: OPTION FOR THE POOR AND VULNERABLE
A basic moral test is how our most vulnerable brothers and sisters are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, Catholic tradition recalls the powerful and sobering story of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.
Citing an address by St. John Paul II, the U.S. Catholic bishops wrote in 1984: “The needs of the poor 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; the production to meet social needs over production for military purposes.”
Among the poorest and most vulnerable people in Oregon are immigrants and refugees. They escape peril in their homelands, then sometimes face hate and mistrust in a land that is completely foreign to them, a place they have heard is welcoming and eager for their gifts. Catholic Charities welcomes and establishes refugees along with a corps of volunteers. The agency also helps immigrants navigate the legal system in an upfront and fair way.