Do we have a duty to help the poor? How do we quantify that?
#1
It seems easy to say that we do, but not so easy to quantify it.  Our other duties are rather clear - attend Mass on Sunday, etc.  But this is harder to pin down.  My actual point is a followup question, but I'd like a few responses to this before I get to that.
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#2
This is hard for me to figure out too. We're in a pretty good place financially (esp compared to the rest of the world), but inordinate donations would be really irresponsible for us as well. My husband and I like to give to charities as our Christmas gifts to one another instead of gifts, and we gift donations to charities in lieu of a gift to anyone we think won't be annoyed by it. We also contribute to our diocese's annual Archbishop's Appeal and give as much as we can to organizations like St. Vincent de Paul and Goodwill. It still doesn't feel like enough. I'm interested to see other people's responses on this.
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#3
I think it depends on two things: our state in life (and how much we can afford to justly give) and the degree to which we are striving for perfection. With regard to the former, a father who is the primary bread-winner of his family ought not give away the money with which he provides food, clothing, and shelter to his wife and children. He may give away some money, but not so much that he deprives his family of the necessities of survival.

With regard to the latter, Our Lord advised the rich young man to sell all his things and give the proceeds to the poor. This was not the rich young man's duty, but it was an act that Our Lord saw as being necessary for the rich young man's perfection.

Ultimately, the determination of quantity is a matter that must be completely determined by conscience. It's not something scalable or comparable between individuals.
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#4
(02-02-2012, 05:41 PM)cgraye Wrote: It seems easy to say that we do, but not so easy to quantify it.  Our other duties are rather clear - attend Mass on Sunday, etc.  But this is harder to pin down.  My actual point is a followup question, but I'd like a few responses to this before I get to that.

The Fisheaters blog has a post on this very issue!

http://blog.fisheaters.com/uncategorized...-of-mercy/

I think it covers all I would have to say here and more.

The key is that we are bound to the virtue of Charity because we are Christian. How this virtue influences are interactions is through acts of mercy, which is more than just material aid. We will always have the poor, but Eternal Salvation is singularly of the highest importance for every individual.

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#5
We are bound to help the poor. Sometimes we can only offer prayers, a word of kindness and a smile.

If we have a bad disposition toward the poor, we should aim to change it.
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#6
OK.  Where I was actually going with this is - if we have a duty to help the poor, does that then translate into a right to that help for the poor?  In other words, does a poor person have the right to have his basic material needs met by someone else?
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#7
Quote:With regard to the latter, Our Lord advised the rich young man to sell all his things and give the proceeds to the poor. This was not the rich young man's duty, but it was an act that Our Lord saw as being necessary for the rich young man's perfection

This is an interesting point, I've never thought about it in this way before. Perhaps Our Lord knew that wealth was dooming this person and knew if he didn't give it up, he would end up in Hell.
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#8
(02-02-2012, 06:30 PM)cgraye Wrote: OK.  Where I was actually going with this is - if we have a duty to help the poor, does that then translate into a right to that help for the poor?  In other words, does a poor person have the right to have his basic material needs met by someone else?

Offhand, I would say no, thinking of Paul (?) saying about those who do not work, do not eat.  I could be wrong.
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#9
(02-02-2012, 06:30 PM)cgraye Wrote: OK.  Where I was actually going with this is - if we have a duty to help the poor, does that then translate into a right to that help for the poor?  In other words, does a poor person have the right to have his basic material needs met by someone else?

At first glance, I wouldn't think so. Charity goes beyond justice. We are called to be charitable to all people, but people are not actually owed charity.
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#10
(02-02-2012, 06:33 PM)Spooky Wrote: Offhand, I would say no, thinking of Paul (?) saying about those who do not work, do not eat.  I could be wrong.

I was thinking that as well, but wasn't that actually put as those who were not willing to work should not eat?  What if you are willing to work, but no one will hire you?
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