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“A non-optional option”

Written by Alain Pilote on Sunday, 01 January 2023. Posted in Editorial

From a religious point of view, today's society has changed a great deal over the past two generations: whereas in the past almost everyone practiced the Christian faith, today a large majority do not attend churches, and several are even going so far as to deny the existence of God, saying that such a belief is "incompatible with science." Really? Yet, from a simple scientific point of view, it makes much more sense to believe that the world was created by God than by chance.

In fact, it is reason itself that leads us to discover that God exists, and it is Revelation that teaches us that this God sent His Son Jesus to earth to save us, and that, ultimately, all that God does is out of love, that God Himself is love. If people would study the Catechism of the Catholic Church even a little, many prejudices against the Catholic religion would fall away, and Catholics would know what to answer to the objections of unbelievers, such as "if God is so good, why does evil exist in the world?"

Faith is ultimately a grace, a free gift from God, which can be obtained by anyone who asks for it in prayer and humility. "Everyone who asks receives." (Matthew 7:8). Just as pride closed the gates of Heaven to Lucifer and his fallen angels, humility — knowing that you are weak and limited, and in need of God's help — opens them to us. A great example of humility is that of Pope John Paul I, who died after 33 days of pontificate in 1978, and who was declared blessed by Pope Francis on September 4, 2022.

Very often, it is impossible, or even useless, to try to convince the indifferent or the adversaries of the Catholic Faith by words, but all can testify by their example of life, thus making visible the love of Christ. And as Saint John Paul II wrote in his encyclical Redemptoris Missio (n. 42), "The evangelical witness which the world finds most appealing is that of concern for people, and of charity toward the poor, the weak and those who suffer" as well as "a commitment to peace, justice."

Moreover, how do you convince someone who lives in misery that God is good, when he knows only suffering and poverty in his life? Most Rev. Pierre Goudreault, Bishop of the Diocese of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière, in the province of Quebec, recently wrote a book in French titled Les visages de la pauvreté (The Faces of Poverty). According to Bishop Goudreault, "one cannot call oneself a Christian if one despises the poor and if one does not engage in the struggle for their dignity" and he adds that "the preferential option for the poor, for a Catholic, is "a non-optional option." (In other words, we have no choice; if we claim to be a Catholic, we must work to correct social injustices.)

Bishop Goudreault adds: "Many Christians are wary of politics and are content to confine their faith to its spiritual dimension and to occasional charity through donations made to organizations that help the poor. It is, let us not be afraid to say it, a narrow conception of the Christian faith."

It is in this spirit that St. Pope Paul VI wrote in his encyclical Populorum Progressio on the development of peoples (n. 75): "The person who is motivated by genuine love, more than anyone else, pits his intelligence against the problems of poverty, trying to uncover the causes and looking for effective ways of combatting and overcoming them." It is to answer this call from St. Pope Paul VI that MICHAEL and the Louis Even Institute have taken on as their mission the following objective: "To educate on the causes of poverty and on the ways of combatting them".

As a way of combatting poverty, MICHAEL chose to publicize Scottish engineer Clifford Hugh Douglas' solution of Economic Democracy, specifying, among other things, that money should be issued by society, and not by private corporations.

Still in Bishop Goudreault's book, one reads: "(Pope) Francis, in his Apostolic Exhortation The Joy of the Gospel, recalls that "no one can feel exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice." The demand for charity, which is at the heart of the Christian faith, must be accompanied, insists Bishop Goudreault, by a denunciation of the "injustices caused by social structures which impoverish certain people or entire populations."

"We know the true evangelical criterion of justice. It is recorded in Matthew 25: "For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat... Amen, I say to you: whenever you did to one of these least of my brothers, you have done it to me." An updated version of the excerpt, inspired by the preferential option for the poor, would add: I was a victim of an unjust socio-economic system, and you acted to challenge it and to replace it."

Well said, Bishop Goudreault! It is indeed on this that we will be judged. So, let's act on it!

About the Author

Alain Pilote

Alain Pilote

Alain Pilote has been the editor of the English edition of MICHAEL for several years. Twice a year we organize a week of study of the social doctrine of the Church and its application and Mr. Pilote is the instructor during these sessions.


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