âI was hungry and you gave me food to eatâ, and
he taught them that mercy towards all of these is
the key to heaven (cf.
198.âFor the Church, the option for the poor
is primarily a theological category rather than a
cultural, sociological, political or philosophical
one. God shows the poor âhis first mercyâ.
This divine preference has consequences for the
faith life of all Christians, since we are called to
have âthis mindâ¦ which was in Jesus Christâ
2:5). Inspired by this, the Church has made
an option for the poor which is understood as
a âspecial form of primacy in the exercise of
Christian charity, to which the whole tradition
of the Church bears witnessâ.
This option â
as Benedict XVI has taught â âis implicit in our
Christian faith in a God who became poor for
us, so as to enrich us with his povertyâ.
why I want a Church which is poor and for the
poor. They have much to teach us. Not only do
they share in the
, but in their difficul-
ties they know the suffering Christ. We need to
let ourselves be evangelized by them. The new
evangelization is an invitation to acknowledge
II, Homily at Mass for the Evangelization
of Peoples in Santo Domingo
(11 October 1984), 5: AAS 77
II, Encyclical Letter
Sollicitudo Rei Socialis
(30 December 1987), 42: AAS 80 (1988), 572.
âAddress at the Inaugural Session of the Fifth General
Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops (13
May 2007), 3: AAS 99 (2007), 450.