Discuss poverty honestly

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Cal Thomas’ opinion column of May 14 (“Is the pope serious about fighting poverty? Redistribute Vatican wealth”) does a disservice to both Pope Francis and the Catholic Church.

I have not read one quote from Pope Francis that would indicate he is asking Mr. Thomas or anyone to sell all of his stocks and piled-up wealth so as to redistribute it to the poor. While early Christians did share their goods with each other, the church has never condemned personal wealth. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ would ask Christians to be good stewards of the resources that God has entrusted to them.

I do think the Holy Father would welcome an honest discussion of the reality of imbalances created by present economic structures. There never has been more wealth in America, yet there seems to be an ever-widening inequity between rich and poor. Pope Francis admits he is not an economist, and while some have criticized his economic analysis as inadequate, as a pastor I believe he is asking us to enter a sincere dialogue as to what obligation we might have to the poor among us.

Do our faith and the Gospel values that Christians profess have anything to say about the economic inequities that exist in our world today? Should we be looking beyond our own selfish desires for a comfortable retirement to focus on those issues that are related to the common good?

The true joy that Pope Francis has in living the Gospel call to “love one another” offers to us all, especially those who are poor and needy, a future filled with hope.

The Rev. Jerry Ragan

Augusta

(The writer is pastor of St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church.)

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Young Fred
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Young Fred 05/24/14 - 02:19 am
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Wow!

Nothing against the rev. As a matter of fact there's been a huge argument going on within the "church" for quite some time.

Some are purely working from a "gut-check", some are working from a "brain-check".

We all want to help the less fortunate, the question is, how best to help those in need?

myfather15
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myfather15 05/24/14 - 04:53 am
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Young Fred

AND, how to you help many who won't help themselves? Do you basically enable them to never work? That's what we are doing as a society, in many cases.

I believe the Bible does mention something about these people: II Thess 3:10 "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."

Now, this of course is for able bodied, healthy people who just will NOT work!! Not for truly, honestly disabled people who can't work.

Also, for good reading; read Amos Chapter 8 in it's entirety!! God tells us HE will revenge the greedy people of this world!! That time is getting very close!!

http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/book.php?book=Amos&chapter=8&verse=+

myfather15
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myfather15 05/24/14 - 04:58 am
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There is no doubt that the

There is no doubt that the balances are out of whack and that GREEDY PEOPLE, are responsible for destroying this world.

My problem is that the LEFT, doesn't care about this one bit!! They are just as greedy as any conservative you could ever show me!! This has been PROVEN, over and over that the left TALKS a good game, but never walks to walk with their own money!!

They use wealth disparity as a political WMD!! Because what person in their right mind WOULD stand up for rich, greedy people; more than the poor? It would be political suicide!! But the LEFT, does it every single day, but turn around and tell everyone their champions of the poor!! It's all about what they SAY and not what they do!!

But the people are just stupid enough to believe them!! Just like Obama saying he is "mad as hell" about the VA!! If you believe that, you're an idiot!!

ymnbde
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ymnbde 05/24/14 - 07:16 am
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income "inequality" is simple envy

promoted by those who would enslave citizens to government
the correct concern should be minimum basic need
the minimum basic needs of our poor are met, and exceeded, substantially
this country has no poor...
Pope Francis and O spent much time in countries that do have the poor, though
real poor people whose minimum basic needs are not met
Pope Francis and O formed their basic world views there
in South America and Indonesia- the poor in those areas think our poor are rich
Pope Francis is most probably speaking of the real poor, and real help
by real Christians
but O is just trying to inflame childish class envy
because he is too incompetent to govern
and he needs to use his "capote" issues to energize the ignorant

RMSHEFF
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RMSHEFF 05/24/14 - 07:51 am
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The Top 50 Percent of All

The Top 50 Percent of All Taxpayers Paid 97 Percent of All Income Taxes; the Top 5 Percent Paid 57 Percent of All Income Taxes; and the Top 1 Percent Paid 35 Percent of All Income Taxes in 2011. If there is 50% paying nothing, this should be the focus of fairness. We can call this group democrats.

Dixieman
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Dixieman 05/24/14 - 08:21 am
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Religious leaders are...

...about as good at economics as economists are at spiritual guidance.
God helps those who help themselves.
People in the top 20% rotate in and out of that status at dizzying speed as do the folks in the bottom 20%.
If we redistributed all the wealth in the world today so everyone was absolutely equal, in a year some would have much more and some would have spent it all. So what are we supposed to do - redistribute this every year? Every decade? Every month? All incentives would disappear.
This nonsense is just a way to pander to voters who will always vote to take money away from someone else and give it to themselves. Remember, if you rob Peter to pay Paul you can always count on Paul's vote.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 05/24/14 - 08:54 am
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Well the pastor should

Well the pastor should mention we are personally responsible for our status-and that we are suppose to work. Christ tells us also to be good and satisfied at whatever position we are in-even being a slave. We are suppose to help others who are in a bad situation but just to get them out of trouble-not forever in fact the bible states loafers should be left to their own design. God only ask for a 10% tithe-govt takes much more-why should they get more than God? The inequity between rich and poor has a lot to do with effort and logistics-the vast majority of 1% tend to be working educated couples who made good choices. Others don't get that education or choose a poor career-and then complain with their choice? You keep hearing progressives make the false argument that the wealthy are dishonest or criminal and basically took from the poor to enrich themselves (they treat the economy like a finite pie). How did my education or hard work steal from someone I don't even know nor ever met, but just noted them on my way to work as they sat on their porch doing nothing.

willie7
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willie7 05/24/14 - 09:02 am
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There are many poor people in
Unpublished

There are many poor people in Augusta---Yes, there are some who won't work and scam the system, it is less than 10 percent. They make the headlines. There are also the working poor. the hotel maids, the nursing home aides and many more earning low wages.
These persons are both black and white. We don't know the poor because many are isolated.
Want to thank the Reverend for this letter!!

Bizkit
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Bizkit 05/24/14 - 09:13 am
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Let's discuss poverty that

Let's discuss poverty that has increased under Obama and his policies.
"In November 2012 the U.S. Census Bureau said more than 16% of the population lived in poverty, including almost 20% of American children,[7] up from 14.3% (approximately 43.6 million) in 2009 and to its highest level since 1993. In 2008, 13.2% (39.8 million) Americans lived in poverty.[8] " He hasn't stimulated the economy with all out tax dollars nor created jobs.

itsanotherday1
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itsanotherday1 05/24/14 - 09:23 am
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Absolutely right Dixieman. In

Absolutely right Dixieman.

In this country, generally, the poor are poor for a reason. If you hit the reset button and redistributed all of the personal wealth equally, in a short while the majority of the poor would be poor again and the wealthy would be wealthy again. Attack the cause of that instead of just taking from the haves to give to the have nots.

Young Fred
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Young Fred 05/24/14 - 09:35 am
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Execellent point Dixieman!

Make everyone equal and they'll be equal for about 1 minute.

"Little" things like reality and history always burst the bubble of lefties.

What do they do? Ignore.

Bod, Kad, etc have an amazing ability to forgive and forget. Forgiveness is a quality I can admire. Forgetfulness is something I abhor. (unless you have a "condition")

Perhaps Bod, Kad, etc have a condition?

dichotomy
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dichotomy 05/24/14 - 09:50 am
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Hey Rev., go for a walk

Hey Rev., go for a walk through the mall and take a look at our tattooed, nose ringed, eye brow and lip pierced young adults walking around looking like they escaped from a freak show. The wealth gap is going to get a LOT worse. Asking "why" is such a stupid question it does not deserve an answer. Self-inflicted wounds.

The old saying "the Lord helps those that help themselves" ends in a PERIOD. It does NOT say he helps those that help themselves to what others have earned. And I ain't helping them either.

Our high schools need to start having two "graduation" ceremonies. One small ceremony to hand out EARNED diplomas and another one to be a combined McDonalds job fair, sign up for welfare booth, and hand out the SNAP cards for the rest of them.

Wealth gap my butt. The "wealth gap" is merely the result of other gaps like learning anything in school, ambition, work ethic, self respect, self reliance, etc.. You fill in THOSE gaps and the wealth gap will take care of itself. I am not interested in "helping" anyone who is going to take what I earned and buy another tattoo, nose ring, and dime bag of pot.

When someone figures out a way to separate the truly needy from the people who are simply "wanty", then I will not mind helping the needy. But until then I would rather cut assistance programs radically. What we are doing now is just making things worse. And I am not worried at all about the self-inflicted wealth gap. Opportunity is out there in abundance but you have to take those rings out of your pierced lip in order to take a good bite at it.

Young Fred
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Young Fred 05/24/14 - 10:16 am
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dichotomy

Man, you have a way with words!

Ben Franklin: "God helps them that help themselves."

While we should always help those truly in need, helping those that aren't is an insidious form of enabling. A form of enslavement that lefties are always willing to embrace.

t3bledsoe
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t3bledsoe 05/24/14 - 10:49 am
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Comment

I am not a Catholic, but I very much like this new Pope! I believe he is very sincery about what he says and does! If we could have more people like him, including MANY more politicians, this whole world would be a much, much better place to live!!

t3bledsoe
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t3bledsoe 05/24/14 - 11:03 am
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Comment

I have read these comments and I think,"How do we determine what is poverty and how we can make it better?" I just find it very difficult to understand conservatives want poverty to go away, BUT you conservatives don't believe in a living wage nor Obamacare. I am reminded of a line from "A Christmas Charol" where Scrooge told the goast of Christmas present that the people with money are taxed to help the ones in poverty. WE ALL KNOW that this is very true, but shouldn't we as consumers have an open mind about the living wage and Obamacare?

Young Fred
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Young Fred 05/24/14 - 11:48 am
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t3

It's very simple. Conservatives like to look at actual outcomes versus what "feeeels good".

It's real easy to jump on the lefty bandwagon. All you have to do is spout platitudes and ignore reality. No sweat. Feel goodism at its finest.

But if you've an eye towards history, if you take the time to observe outcome versus intention, if you actually spend some of those precious moments we all seem to have too little of, and inform yourself, well its like clouds parting with a ray of sunshine illuminating basic truths.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 05/24/14 - 12:02 pm
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The Vatican has wealth equal

The Vatican has wealth equal to many countries-yet they cry for others to address poverty. All the magnificent cathedrals in Europe-gold laden. Then a reprimand for others to address poverty. Given the faiths neglect of pedophilia and extreme wealth it seems a bit hypocritical.

Young Fred
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Young Fred 05/24/14 - 12:40 pm
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The Vatican

is a "country". They've their own secret service, treasury, theocratic elective monarchy, and most important to governments everywhere, an entrenched bureaucracy.

Government inevitably becomes ruled by the bureaucrats they've put in place. Like any other organism, bureaucrats become consumed with self survival. Who cares about the down trodden, when you're concentrating on self-survival?

Many times self survival means "going with the flow", so they're not, as can be seen, immune to worldwide pop culture.

Which is a shame, because most times worldwide pop is the antithesis of biblical teaching.

There is a very good explanation for this, but I'll leave it to others to discover that on their own.

edcushman
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edcushman 05/24/14 - 01:36 pm
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"living wage" t3, if a person
Unpublished

"living wage"
t3, if a person wants to earn a 'living wage' get a skill and people will pay you. Forcing companies to pay unskilled workers more is just another form of welfare. BTW, flipping hamburgers is not a skill.

allhans
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allhans 05/24/14 - 02:38 pm
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THE Bible TELLS us to be

THE Bible TELLS us to be generous but not to be foolish; which we are when we enable those who live off the labor of others.

Young Fred
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Young Fred 05/24/14 - 02:52 pm
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flipping hamburgers

is not a skill? Well I have to disagree.

It is a "skill" that can be learned in about, 60 seconds to 15 minutes. That would make it worth - how much?

Any person working in a minimum wage job for more than three months has either issues or a crappy manager.

If you have issues, you need welfare. If you have a crappy manager look for another job, if your worth a dang, you'll find work with not much of a problem. I promise you, employers want good, hard working people that show up when scheduled. It's good for them, and they usually reward people that are trustworthy.

Young Fred
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Young Fred 05/24/14 - 02:55 pm
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I guess some define living

I guess some define living wage as - if you're living, you deserve a wage.

Tell that to the hard workers that are trying to support their family.

myfather15
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myfather15 05/24/14 - 03:50 pm
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t3bledsoe

The first thing you MUST do is define a living wage. Then, you must come up with a way of paying the living wage, WITHOUT forcing the cost of living to go up on everyone. Because if you start paying convenience store clerks and fast food workers $15.00+ an hour, then the cost of the food, gas, snacks, drinks, etc; will all go up. Then you have basically shot yourself in the foot!!

Why? Because you're paying them $15.00 an hour, but they are paying MORE for everything they buy; therefore they are still struggling!! As EVERYONE on here has stated, the only way for an INDIVIDUAL to obtain a "living wage" is to better themselves through education and personal drive!! They have to work their way out of bottom wages.

gargoyle
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gargoyle 05/24/14 - 03:56 pm
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Watched many come and go and

Watched many come and go and the ones who stick around are reliable, punctual and problem solvers. Problem finders are a dime a dozen, gone after the inevitable down cycle or restructure businesses go through so it is up to the individual how employed they want to be. Poverty has become a political football that government is ill equipped to solve but good at perpetuating. Long term hand outs to able body people rarely work unless the object of the hand outs is to create a dependent class of society. What Government can do is streamline and find solutions for producers who want to make the products we use or consume in this country , now that would put a dent in poverty.

nocnoc
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nocnoc 05/24/14 - 04:30 pm
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Given all the opportunities offered for advancement

I see Poverty as having at least several key reasons for existing.
IQ-DNA, Morals, Ethics, Lack of drive to do better, Failure to obtain a better education, generations of the Government promoted Hand out Culture and do nothing for it.

Seriously there is no need to do better, when the basics are provided by the Government for nothing.

If a person is living in poverty is willing to wait to get married and/or produce kids, get their HS education, learn a trade, live within their means starting out, and do without toys. They can break the chains of poverty.

I know I did it hard way, working my way up the ladder from a Gas Station Bathroom cleaner at $10 a pop, to Principle Arch/International Director of a IT Security Practice for F-300. It took 20+ years 2 college degrees and lots of out of pocket ITSEC classes and DEFCON type trips.

So YES getting out of the Poverty Hole is possible if you want to and have the Drive to do so.

Opportunity never knocks to tell you it there. You have to find it.

nocnoc
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nocnoc 05/24/14 - 04:38 pm
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BTW: I'll help my fellow man every chance I safely can.

But when Government steps in to get in the middle and steals my
self earned money, to give anyone with no requirement to better themselves with it, I have serious problems figuring out who they are helping and why?

That plus the FED's charge a serious overhead fee for stealing $$$ a person $$$$ and giving it out.

Something like every $1 ends up being less the 50 cents after it goes thru the Fed Government.

willie7
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willie7 05/24/14 - 09:15 pm
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The United States was built
Unpublished

The United States was built on free labor for 250 years. In 1850, slave labor was 75 percent of the total wealth of the country.
None of us made it alone. We need to stop demonizing the poor and help them with opportunities.

corgimom
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corgimom 05/24/14 - 10:08 pm
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"Because what person in their

"Because what person in their right mind WOULD stand up for rich, greedy people; more than the poor? It would be political suicide!"

Yes, that's true. Just ask Mitt Romney, he knows firsthand.

corgimom
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corgimom 05/24/14 - 10:15 pm
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Young Fred, sorry, your ideas

Young Fred, sorry, your ideas are antiquated and outdated.

Back when there was an abundance of jobs, and an employee's market, yes, you could find a better job without any problem.

That's not the case anymore, especially in areas like Augusta, that has focused on low-paying industries and has a huge pool of low-level workers.

There are 47,000 people in Augusta living in poverty. There are just too many people and too few jobs.

A part time job at a fast food restaurant, a call center, or a retail salesclerk don't prepare anybody for anything else. Employers want trained workers with demonstrated technical skills, and none of those jobs provide that.

That was true 40 years ago, and is still true today.

Young Fred
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Young Fred 05/24/14 - 10:21 pm
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Nocnoc

GASP! Did you actually suggest DNA may play a part in intelligence and probability of being impoverished?

You do realize that "the powers that be" consider it hearsay to suggest anything of the kind.

Science and politics - is sooo interesting to behold! Politics uses science, science uses politics. Bedfellows, despite what the pop scientist try to claim.

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