Chapter 31. Seventh Commandment: Do Not Steal—Act Justly • 427
• It can never be stated often enough that love and care for the poor
is a major priority for every Christian. “Giving alms to the poor is
a witness to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to
God” (CCC, no. 2462).
• The central interest of the Church’s social teaching is justice for all,
but especially for the helpless and the poor. It involves the removal
of the symptoms and causes of poverty and injustice.
• “The moral law forbids acts which, for commercial or totalitarian
purposes, lead to the enslavement of human beings, or to their being
bought, sold or exchanged like merchandise” (CCC, no. 2455).
• True social and economic development is concerned with the whole
person and with increasing each person’s ability to respond to
Certainly we need to remember that no one can be excluded
from our love, since “through his Incarnation the Son of God
has united himself in some fashion with every person.”
Yet, as the unequivocal words of the Gospel remind us, there
is a special presence of Christ in the poor, and this requires
the Church to make a preferential option for them. This option
is a testimony to the nature of God’s love, to his providence
and mercy; and in some way history is still filled with the seeds
of the Kingdom of God which Jesus himself sowed during his
earthly life whenever he responded to those who came to him
with their spiritual and material needs.
In our own time, there are so many needs which demand
a compassionate response from Christians. Our world is enter-
ing the new millennium burdened by the contradictions of an
economic, cultural and technological progress which offers
immense possibilities to a fortunate few, while leaving millions
of others not only on the margins of progress but in living con-
ditions far below the minimum demanded by human dignity.
How can it be that even today there are still people dying of
hunger? Condemned to illiteracy? Lacking the most basic medi-
cal care? Without a roof over their heads?