As Catholics, we must come together with a common conviction that we can no longer tolerate the moral scandal of poverty in our land and so much hunger and deprivation in our world. (page 1).
"What did you do for the least of these?" Jesus identified himself with the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the imprisoned, and the stranger, insisting that when we serve them we serve him (Mt 25:40). (page 3).
This is about the virtues we practice in our own lives and the values we promote in public life. And this is about whether there is a place at the table for all in our communities, nation, and world. (page 5).
In the United States, thirty-four million people live below the official poverty line
If all these people lived in one state, its population would be larger than the combined current populations of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Idaho, Iowa and Arizona. (page 6).
The principle of solidarity reminds us that as members of one human family, we see every "other" as our neighbor, who must share in the "banquet of life to which all area equally invited by God." (page 13).
Solidarity calls us to care for our neighbors in need who are nearby and for those who are far away and to see all those who suffer as sisters and brothers. (page 13).
Work should not leave people poor but should provide wages sufficient to achieve a standard of living that is in keeping with human dignity. (page 14).
In the Catholic tradition, concern for the poor is advanced by individual and common action, works of charity, efforts to achieve a more just social order, the practice of virtue, and the pursuit of justice in our own lives. It requires action to confront structures of injustice that leave people poor. (page 14).
Our Church's commitment to find a place at the table for all God's children is expressed in every part of our country and in the poorest places on earth
Our faith gives us the strength, identity, and principles we need to sustain this work. (page 14).
The table we seek for all rests on these four institutions, or legs: (1) what families and individuals can do, (2) what community and religious institutions can do, (3) what the private sector can do, and (4) what the government can do to work together to overcome poverty. (page 14).
Here and abroad, our parishes and schools must continue to be clear about their identity and mission and must continue to be beacons of hope and centers of help for poor families and new communities. (page 17).
Work must be an escape from poverty, not another version of it. (page 17).
The Catholic way is to recognize the essential role and the complementary responsibilities of families, communities, the market, and government to work together to overcome poverty and advance human dignity. (page 18).
Those who have more can make choices to use less, to share more, and to advocate for greater justice so that all people have the resources to provide for themselves and their families. (page 19).
For all to have a place at the table, some of us may have to take a smaller place at the table. (page 19).
National unity, global solidarity, security at home, and a more peaceful world are all advanced by the pursuit of a decent and dignified life for all God's children. (page 20).
We may sometimes differ about the specifics of how best to serve those in need, overcome poverty, and advance human dignity, but it is impossible for a Christian to say, "This is not my task." This mission is an essential part of what makes us disciples of Christ. (page 20).
The poor and vulnerable should never be forgotten in our public worship or our private prayer. Just as we worship together worldwide on the Sabbath, we must work together in solidarity the rest of the week to live out the Gospel. (page 20).
As faithful citizens, we should take seriously our responsibilities to vote and to voice our convictions in support of public policies that defend human life and promote the dignity of all, especially the poor and vulnerable. (page 22).
When people join with others to demand respect for their dignity and rights, not only do they help themselves, but they also build up the entire community and advance the common good. Our faith calls us to engagement, not retreatto renew the earth, not flee the world. (page 23).
whatever our national, ethnic, religious, or economic differences, we are all God's children, members of one human family. (page 23).
"Loving our neighbor" has global dimensions in a shrinking world. In our prayer, formation, service, and citizenship, and in our programs of twinning and outreach, we must break through the boundaries of neighborhood and nation to recognize the web of life that connects all of us in this age of globalization. (page 23).
This is a time not for "just words or mere talk" but for "active and genuine" commitment by Catholics in the United States to work with others to make a place at the table for all God's children. (page 24).