From “Economic Justice For All” by The National Conference of Catholic Bishops
Early Christianity saw the poor as an object of God’s special love, but it neither canonized material poverty nor accepted deprivation as an inevitable fact of life….Such perspectives provide a basis today for what is called the “preferential option for the poor.
” Though in the Gospels and in the New Testament as a whole the oﬀer of salvation is extended to all peoples, Jesus takes the side of those most in need, physically and spiritually. The example of Jesus poses a number of challenges to the contemporary Church. It imposes a prophetic mandate to speak for those who have no one to speak for them, to be a defender of the defenseless, who in biblical terms are the poor. It also demands a compassionate vision that enables the Church to see things from the side of the poor.
It summons the Church also to be an instrument in assisting people to experience the liberating power of God in their lives so that they may respond to the Gospel in freedom and in dignity. Finally, and most radically, it calls for an emptying of self, both individually and corporately, that allows the Church to experience the power of God in the midst of poverty and powerlessness.