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New Jersey bishops issue statement on poverty

November 22, 2011

The bishops of New Jersey have issued a statement urging “all people of good will to address the critical needs of the poor who live among us.”

“The Church’s concern for the poor is inspired by the Gospel and Jesus’ unequivocal command,” the bishops said. “His command to welcome the stranger, to feed the hungry, to heal the sick and care for the poor is no less relevant today than it was 2,000 years ago.”

“Catholic social teaching on poverty is based on charity and justice,” they continued. “Charity refers to our duty to provide direct social services to those in immediate need of life’s basic necessities. This may include, among other things, serving the poor in soup kitchens, donating food, money or clothing, or mentoring an at-risk family. Justice means that we strive to correct the long standing inequities in our society. This may involve, among other things, advocating for fair public policies on housing, health care and education.”

“The poor desperately need financial assistance, but they also need other important things from us,” the bishops added. “First, we need to pray for the less fortunate and also for ourselves that we have the will to fulfill our obligations to our brothers and sisters. Second, we must set aside stereotypes. We must accept those in need as neighbors deserving not only just charity but also justice in the truest sense so that they will have at least the chance to become self-sufficient.”


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