The Aparecida bishops turn to Pope John Paul to bolster their case for a preferential option for God’s poor ones:
395. The Holy Father has reminded us that the Church is called to be “advocate of justice and of the poor”(DI [?] 4) “in the face of intolerable social and economic inequalities,”(Tertio Millennio Adveniente 51) which “cry to heaven.”(Ecclesia in America 56) We have much to offer because
The Church’s social teaching is able to offer hope even in the worst of situations, because, if there is no hope for the poor, there will be no hope for anyone, not even for the so-called rich.(Pastores Gregis 67)
The preferential option for the poor demands that we devote special attention to those Catholic professional people who are responsible for the finances of nations, those who promote employment, and politicians who must create conditions for the economic development of countries, so as to give them ethical guidelines consistent with their faith.
This last paragraph involves the work of justice. Direct aid for a needy person is charity. And while it may be that “the poor will always be with us” as a statement of confidence about human indifference, I somehow doubt the Lord will be displeased to be proved wrong. Political action addresses many of the root causes of poverty: corruption, distribution, greed, and other sins and helps a society as a whole apply resources in public policy to address large-scale inequities.
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.