Do we have a duty to help the poor? How do we quantify that?
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(02-02-2012, 10:10 PM)rbjmartin Wrote: I appreciate your thoughts on this. I think these are good questions.

Being skeptical of the benevolence of government welfare, I don't think the poor would go uneducated or without healthcare in the absence of government safety nets. Because of the world most of us have grown up in, it's hard for us to imagine what it would be like without these government welfare programs. But from what I understand of the not-so-distant past, private organizations (particularly the Church) were able to meet the needs of the poor now provided by the government. I believe that with the rise of government welfare programs, the faithful have allowed the state to play the role that the Church once played. If there were no welfare system, would we perhaps be more generous ourselves, knowing that our poor neighbors had no one to rely upon for help? Would service-oriented religious orders rise again? Would REAL Catholic hospitals, staffed by religious, make a come-back? Would we volunteer to teach the children of the poor in our spare time? Would our Catholic doctors offer to give free service to the very poor? Ron Paul often talks about how this was standard practice for doctors like himself.

I was thinking about this too, and the fact is, I hear it both ways.  As you say it, and that it is literally impossible for charity to cover all of the needs of the people, and that it never has.  The fact is, I am not old enough to know what things were like without these government programs, and everyone who tells me about it tells it differently - everything was great, or people were dying the streets.  In fact, just recently I heard someone accuse Ron Paul of deliberately misrepresenting how bad it was for the poor when he was a practicing doctor.

And of course, I wonder - if things were fine before, why were these programs even started?  Possibly they weren't needed and someone just wanted to brings things under government control, but maybe there was a real need that was not being met.  I don't know, and people on opposite sides say different things.

Quote:In a way, I think government welfare programs have usurped many of the social roles of the Church. In combination with the liturgical and theological chaos of the last 50 years, I think the effect of government taking on the role of benevolent mother has only served to weaken the influence of the Church as a primary provider of the needs of the poor.

I agree with that, although again, I don't know how effective that actually was or would be today.
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Re: Do we have a duty to help the poor? How do we quantify that? - by cgraye - 02-02-2012, 10:26 PM



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