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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

God’s call.


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?