By James L. Heft
Believing students: Ten Catholic Intellectuals, deftly edited through James L. Heft (President and Founding Director of the Institute for complicated Catholic stories and college Professor of religion and tradition and Chancellor, college of Dayton) is a scholarly selection of works depicting the connections of non-public lives of religion and public lives as academics, scholars, and intellectuals informed from the viewpoint of major public figures. together with writings from Marcia Colish, Jill Ker Conway, Mary Douglas, Avery Cardinal Dulles, Mary Ann Glendon, Gustavo Guterrez, Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, Peter Steinfels, Charles Taylor and David Tracy, Believing students is an educated and informative look at glossy Catholic inspiration, and is extremely suggested to Catholic students, theologians, clergy and laymen.
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C on cl us io n: pr ef er en ti al op ti on fo r t he po or as ax is of ch ri st ia n l if e I would like to finish by returning to the title of this lecture. I have three final statements. First, the preferential option for the poor is a perspective rooted in the Bible. Karl Barth, a great theologian of this century, said the God of the Bible always takes sides with the lowly, the outcast, the poor. He said this not because he was reading a liberation theologian, but because he was reading the Bible and that was enough for him.
The option is for the truly poor. Therefore, we are not speaking about an option for the spiritually poor (the spiritually poor are few; it is easy to develop an option for them . ). And what does it mean to be poor, to live in poverty? The word poverty connotes easily and rightly an economic condition of deprivation. But in any ultimate analysis, poverty means an unjust and early death. Let us make the point precisely. ’’ Unfortunately, it is still true in poor countries, like the Latin American ones, where the poor are dying before their time.
We are far in fact from the universality and unconditionality which our moral outlook prescribes. We might envisage getting beyond this by a more exigent sense of our own moral worth; one that would require more consistency, a certain independence from fashion, careful, informed attention to the real needs. This is part of what people working in NGOs in the field must feel, who correspondingly look down on us TV-image-driven givers, as we do on the lesser breeds who don’t respond to this type of campaign at all.