Do we have a duty to help the poor? How do we quantify that?
#41
(02-03-2012, 01:41 PM)JoniCath Wrote: [quote='JoniCath' pid='968406' dateline='1328286724']

He just spent two complete YEARS in hospitals..........surgeries in a not-for-profit hospital, recovery in the VA hospital. He doesn't need money at this point, he gets SS. now. But, YES, I'm obligated, according to the Word of God to take him out to eat once a week, either myself or my daughter take him grocery shopping once a week, I do his banking, take him to the doctor etc., etc.

I'm not boasting really I'm not, but I feel very strongly about this. There are 5 of us siblings & the others do not agree with me. Charity must be done with love & they feel that "he brought this on himself, he's nothing but a dry drunk, etc. etc." This week, I'm going to take him out for Chinese & to see the movie "War Horse" (got to make sure that it doesn't bring on a PTSD spell first. He served in Vietnam, but the VA. really helped him deal with the aftermath of that.)

Enough of my thoughts, it's God Whose direction we must follow & He made it very clear that we are obligated to help those in need.[/size]
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I forgot something. Receiving charity is NOT  a right. It is an undeserved gift from God, Who uses people to distribute the gift, but then what isn't an underserved gift? Our Faith, our health, our "good works".

EXACTLY!  Well said & God Bless you and your family. 
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#42
(02-03-2012, 12:05 PM)Micawber Wrote: I don't have time now to respond to everything above; briefly for now:  a duty manifestly DOES NOT imply a right; for many reasons, but in part because a right is a "kind of dominion" over one's property and sphere of action & personhood vis a vis other persons, but more specifically vis a vis State power.  To say that someone has a right to appropriate my property, or impinge upon my sphere of action & personhood, whether direclty or via the machinery of the State, is to directly contravene what a right is. This is exactly why Marxists have focused on "rights" language - an infection in language and philosophy that seems to taken hold in many places, including the Church.  A sad state of affairs and much the reason why we are such a mess here in the US and Europe.   

I think you're right. I would add that a duty has an active connotation (i.e. it is something you should do) while a right has a passive connotation (i.e. it is something received). So the question should be: is there an active-passive relationship between duty and right?  Does the duty of one person automatically imply the right of another? I see no inherent correlation between the two.

In terms of rights, we should operate on the premise that all of our rights come from no one other than God. And the rights he has given us are life, liberty, and property. Properly understood, these are biblically defensible. However, healthcare is not a right. Food is not a right. The means of survival aren't a right. When God cast man from the garden of Eden, he told Adam that he would have to labor by the sweat of his brow to survive (rather than simply receive the fruits of the earth, as he had done in Eden). By original sin, we forfeited the right to food and health that God had granted us.

Conversely, Jesus Christ did teach us that it is our duty, in charity, to love our neighbors and even our enemies. This entails assisting with their survival. This could be almsgiving, but sometimes this doesn't necessarily mean outright gifts of money, food, or clothing, but rather teaching them the skills and values needed to assist themselves. Our Lord's imperatives were directed at the heart of man, not at the state. They are for the individual to consider. The individual must make the decision to respond.  It is by such choices that man's love is tested. We remove the opportunity to practice charity and build a society of love when we delegate the care of neighbor to the coercive power of the state.
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#43
(02-02-2012, 06:32 PM)Spooky Wrote:
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.

It's a little off-topic, but St. Francis de Sales has a great section in Treastise on the Love of God where he breaks this down and distinguishes between commandments of God and . . . I forget the other term but it is basically about God calling some people to embrace more and how this verse shouldn't be read as binding on everyone or even advisable for everyone. Good read, that.
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#44
(02-03-2012, 02:43 PM)Richard C Wrote:
(02-02-2012, 06:32 PM)Spooky Wrote:
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.

It's a little off-topic, but St. Francis de Sales has a great section in Treastise on the Love of God where he breaks this down and distinguishes between commandments of God and . . . I forget the other term but it is basically about God calling some people to embrace more and how this verse shouldn't be read as binding on everyone or even advisable for everyone. Good read, that.

Supererogation, perhaps?
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#45
We all seem to be assuming that the state can only legitimately provide those things to which we have a right, but I don't see why this is obvious. The purpose of the state, using that term in its broadest sense, is to promote the common good, not to protect individual rights of dubious existence.
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#46
(02-03-2012, 03:50 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: We all seem to be assuming that the state can only legitimately provide those things to which we have a right, but I don't see why this is obvious. The purpose of the state, using that term in its broadest sense, is to promote the common good, not to protect individual rights of dubious existence.

We are talking about that because a lot of people DO say that health care is a right, and as such the government must provide it to all if it can.  Though I am also interested, if the answer is no, in whether or not the government should do that and why.
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#47
The poor have the duty to provide the basic necessities of life for themselves and their family.  I think that moral theologians say that if a man is starving and truly cannot provide food for himself, he can take food that belongs to others (who do not need it), and it is not considered to be stealing.  Certainly he does not have a right to that food.  Yet  he has a duty to take it, in these circumstances.  The poor may have the duty of taking necessary things that are offered to them, if they have done all they could to earn it themselves.

The problem is that "have done all they could" and "truly cannot provide" are interpreted very loosely today to cover all those who in reality can provide for themselves with some effort.
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#48
(02-03-2012, 03:55 PM)cgraye Wrote:
(02-03-2012, 03:50 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: We all seem to be assuming that the state can only legitimately provide those things to which we have a right, but I don't see why this is obvious. The purpose of the state, using that term in its broadest sense, is to promote the common good, not to protect individual rights of dubious existence.

We are talking about that because a lot of people DO say that health care is a right, and as such the government must provide it to all if it can.  Though I am also interested, if the answer is no, in whether or not the government should do that and why.

Well, I would say that it is ultimately a matter of prudence. If government provision of healthcare turned out the be the best way of giving people access to medical treatment, and this had no negative effects that outweighed the good of universal healthcare, then it would be perfectly acceptable for the government to do this. Although, whether or not this is the best method of providing healthcare is obviously a difficult question.
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#49
But that assumes that redistribution of wealth is a legitimate exercise for the government, which Aquinas seems to take exception to.
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#50
Give where you feel inspired.
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