Morning’s Minion pointed out the increase in the Catholic blogosphere of “private charity” language in the midst of the heath care debates. He is right that such ideas have no basis in Catholic social teaching. Charity is both a personal and ecclesial response to social injustice but is also understood to be the very foundation of just systems. To seek to “institutionalize” charity through just social systems is precisely in harmony with, and the entire point of, Catholic social thought: to create a social order in which it is easier to be good, as Peter Maurin would say. The sectarian desire to keep charity private, as if it should not transform the social order itself, is simply to lack faith in charity to transform the world. It also effectively institutionalizes the opposite of charity, creating social orders in which it is easier to be selfish.
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