Aparecida 391-392: Preferential Option for the Poor and Excluded

The third section of this chapter (sections 391-398)addresses the Preferential Option for the Poor and Excluded. The Aparecida bishops reference Pope John Paul II’s 1999 apostolic exhortation in this paragraph:

391. This broad concern for human dignity is the source of our anguish over the millions of Latin American men and women who cannot lead a life that responds to this dignity. The preferential option for the poor is one of the distinguishing features of our Latin American and Caribbean church. Indeed, addressing our continent Pope John Paul II stated that

for the Christian people of America conversion to the Gospel means to revise “all the different areas and aspects of life, especially those related to the social order and the pursuit of the common good.” (Ecclesia in America 27)

The Pope Emeritus lends his voice as well:

392. Our faith proclaims that Jesus Christ is “the human face of God and the divine face of man.”(Ibid. 67) Hence, “the preferential option for the poor is implicit in the Christological faith in the God who became poor for us, so as to enrich us with his poverty.”(Introductory Address 3) This option arises out of our faith in Jesus Christ, God made man, who has become our brother (cf. Heb 2:11- 12). Yet it is neither exclusive nor excluding.

For the believer, two things. This preferential option is about giving, not receiving. Yet again, a relevant text is Luke 15:11-32. The runaway son has excluded himself, and his elder brother wishes to continue on this approach. But the father is waiting. Seeking out the poor and excluded and caring for them is also about the imitation of Christ. His option for those in need (Cf. Matthew 9:12) did not mean he excluded those well-off (Cf. Luke 18:18ff, John 3:1ff, 19:38ff, among others)–indeed, he was willing to cultivate a relationship with anyone.

For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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