Caring for those who are poor is a widely used concept but carries different connotations
depending upon the setting. In secular society the concept of poverty is narrowly understood as
lacking financial resources and material possessions. In Judeo-Christian terms it has a richer
understanding. The Hebrew and Christian scriptures describe the poor as those who fully turn over
their lives into the hands of the Lord because they have nothing else to rely upon—no home, no
possessions, no power or prestige, no reputation, no name and no public voice.Care of the Poor is an umbrella phrase encompassing many related themes within the
Catholic tradition pertaining to poverty and the poor. It includes a development in Catholic social
thought within the past 30 years that has articulated a preferential option for the poor.
Poverty, as defined by Merriam-Webster is the state of one who lacks a usual or socially
acceptable amount of money or material possessions. It also means scarcity, dearth and debility due
to malnutrition. Thus, broadly understood, it signals some type of deprivation or lack. In its most
severe form, poverty is a loss of life. Nearly all who experience poverty do so involuntarily.