Our life of poverty is as necessary as the work itself. Only in heaven will we see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God better because of them. – Mother Teresa
Preferential Option for the Poor and Vulnerable:
As followers of Christ, we are challenged to make a preferential option for the poor, namely, to create conditions for marginalized voices to be heard, to defend the defenseless, and to assess lifestyles, policies and social institutions in terms of their impact on the poor. The option for the poor does not mean pitting one group against another, but rather, it calls us to strengthen the whole community by assisting those who are most vulnerable.
From the Scriptures we learn that the justice of a society is tested and judged by its treatment of the poor. God’s covenant with Israel was dependant on the way the community treated the poor and unprotected—the widow, the orphan and the stranger (Deut. 16.11-12, Ex. 22.21-27, Isa. 1.16-17). Throughout Israel’s history and in the New Testament, the poor are agents of God’s transforming power. In the gospel of Luke, Jesus proclaims that he has been anointed to bring good news to the poor (4.1-22). Similarly, in the Last Judgment, we are told that we will be judged according to how we respond to the hungry, the thirsty, the prisoner and the stranger (Matthew 25.31-46).
USD will, most specifically, look at the social teaching of Option for the Poor and Vulnerable through the lens of immigration. In April of 2013, the USD campus received the following email from its Executive Council:
Joining the expressed support on campus for comprehensive immigration reform, President Mary Lyons and the university’s Executive Council have issued a statement of solidarity with those USD students, faculty, and staff concerned about this important issue. In addition, Dr. Lyons has personalized a letter to each member of the university’s Congressional delegation encouraging support of the pending legislation. Please see the links below.
USD will support the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities’ (ACCU): Immigration Reform: Action Plan for Catholic Campuses. For more information on the ACCU Action Plan, please visit: http://www.accunet.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageID=3922
It is with this in mind, that we continue to place emphasis on the impact that poverty continues to have on human life around the world and our domestic issues surrounding immigration policy in the United States. Pope Francis has very clearly made Option for the Poor and Vulnerable, a central focus, prayerful intention, call to action and wide reaching demand of the faithful. Specifically with immigration in mind, he has said:
We pray for a heart which will embrace immigrants. God will judge us upon how we have treated the most needy. – Pope Francis, Twitter
USD Institutional Achievements:
Top Ten Charitable Universities:
Resources for further reading and understanding:
United States Catholic Conference of Bishops: Definition and Scriptural Resources.
From America Magazine, June 3, 2013:
G8 Bishops (and Himself Pope Francis) Urge Preferential Option.
Excerpts, Resources compiled by the Catholic Diocese of Austin, Texas: