Saint Louis University

Poverty Issues

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One of the teachings of the Catholic Church is that we are created in God's image. This gives our lives human dignity and makes all life sacred. The Catholic Catechism instructs the faithful that good government has two duties, both of which must be carried out and neither of which can be ignored. The first duty is to welcome the foreigner out of charity and respect for the human person. The second duty is to secure one's border and enforce the law for the sake of the common good. The Catholic Church defines common good as "By the common good is to be understood ‘the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily' (Gaudium et Spes 26). The common good are all the conditions of life necessary for individuals and communities to reach their natural fulfillment. There are 3 essential elements to the common good: respect for the human person, social well-being and development of the group, and peace.

In their 2003 pastoral letter, "Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope," the U.S. bishops applied the Gospel and papal teachings to U.S. immigration policy. They identified the following governing principles as to how the church should respond to immigration policy:

1. People have the right to find opportunities in their homeland.
2. People have the right to migrate to support themselves and their families.
3. Sovereign nations have a right to control their borders.
4. Refugees and asylum seekers should be afforded protection.
5. The human rights and dignity of undocumented immigrants should be respected.

For more information on the Catholic Church's position on immigration, click here



Health Care

In 2011, over 48 million Americans, or 15% of the US population, did not have health insurance. Considered by age, 9.6% of children 18 years of age and younger and nearly 30% of people 19-34 years lacked health insurance in 2011. Examined by race, 30% of all Hispanics/Latinos and nearly 20% of all African Americans in the United States lacked any health insurance coverage. Nearly 8% of families with an annual income of $75,000 or greater did not have health insurance coverage. 


Learn more about health insurance coverage in the United Stated by clicking here

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