“With sharp political differences, how do we remain unified as Vincentians?” This is a direct quote from the Voice of the Poor portion of the website of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. It raises serious questions for Vincentian Family efforts to serve as the Voice of the Poor. The questions become acute when we think of the advocacy that is part of being the voice of the poor and marginalized in society.

There are all kinds of lobbyists for powerful industries. Who lobbies on behalf of the least of Jesus’ brothers and sisters? Are we not called to be the voice of the voiceless?

Voice of the Poor

The issue is not a new one.

The website  continues…

“When Frédéric Ozanam and his friends formed the first Conference, they agreed not to discuss partisan politics.

We are not speaking as Democrats, Republicans, or as the member of any political party.

We speak as Catholics, whose teaching states that we must consider the needs of those less fortunate when forming our conscience.

Catholic Social Teaching , including the US Bishops document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” , as well as our Society of St. Vincent de Paul are clear in those teachings.”

In addition to the above, we ought to keep in mind how Pope Francis echoes the teaching of Popes Paul VI, John XXIII, Benedict XVI. Each of these in their own way  is reminding us of the words of the words of Jesus “What do for the least of my brother and sisters you do unto me’.”

Reflection Questions

  • Do we accept our call to be the voice of the marginalized?
  • What is our attitude to such a consistent teaching of the Popes?
  • What practical initiatives can we as Vincentian Family unite around as voices for the poor?


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