Christian response to global issues vocation in action

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What is dignity?

At the heart of the Catholic faith is the sanctity and dignity of life. God gave life and made us all in his image from the moment of conception. So, anything that destroys the sanctity and dignity of life goes against the Catholic faith.

What is dignity?:

  • Love + respect
  • The value of your life
  • Education
  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Hygiene
  • Freedom
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  • Bible commands christians to love their neighbour as themselves.
  • They have to help others to love with dignity.
  • Poor people will struggle to live a life with dignity because they don't have access to basic human rights.
  • The catholic church teaches that the poor have a right to be helped.
  • The bible points out the dangers of both undue wealth and poverty and the responsibility to se resources wisely.
  • People have a responsibility to use part of their wealth to provide for the poor as this is God's work being carried out by his people.
  • Absolute poverty- when a persons income does not cover essential needs in life. (Third world countries.)
  • Relative poverty- When somebody's income and spending is proportionally lower than the national average.
  • Both type sof poverty deserve the same amount of sympathy because they both make people suffer and remove a persons dignity and respect.
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The experience of rich and poor countries.

Rich countries- Food:

  • Food is relatively cheap, varied and easy to come by.
  • Overeating is a cause of many health problems for people in developed countries.


  • Water is taken for granted
  • Even in times of water shortage it is rarely unavailable on tap.
  • People feel frustrated if they are not allowed to water their flowerbeds using a hosepipe.


  • Primary and secondary education is free and all have access to education.
  • The more highly educated you are the more highly paid job you are likely to end up doing.
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The experience of rich and poor countries (continu


  • In the UK fewer than 5 children out of every thousand born, die before their first birthday.
  • In the UK there is free access to local GP's and hospitals and drugs and other treatments are subsised (part paid for out of taxation) or free for children, the elderly, pregant mothers and those on low incomes.


  • More people have jobs and those usually involve higher shill levels and a higher income as a result.
  • Working conditions are monitored and controlled to ensure people are not mistreated or forced to work in dangerous conditions.
  • In times of unemployment there is financial support and opportunities to get back into work.
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The experience of rich and poor countries (continu

Poor World


  • Food is carce, difficult to come by and expensive.
  • Malnutrition is common, leading to disease.


  • 1.2 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water and 2.6 billion do not have access to sanitation causing 2 million child deaths each year.
  • Millions of women and girls spend hours collecting and carrying water.


  • 855 million people are functionally illiterate and 75 million children receive no primary educatiom.
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The experience of rich and poor countries (continu


  • In parts of India 15 in every thousand children die before their first birthday.
  • In many poorer countries hospital provision is poor, so that travel to hospital may take days leading to a loss of earnings. Drug treatments must be paid for  so treatable diseases get worse.


  • Many people have low-paid and low-skilled jobs which offer few opportunities to grow and flourish and barely enough to live on if at all.
  • Working conditions are less regulated so people may have very long days with little approppriate protection or consideration of worker safety.
  • In times of unemployment there is little or no support or opportunities for training, leaving the workers in poverty and with no sense of dignity.

The longer children spend in education, the lower the rate of infant mortality.

Sometimes particular groups are badly affected within rich countries. 

Without these different aspects, it is hard to have dignity.

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Christan response to poverty- old testament

Proverbs 30 verses 8-9: "Don't make me either rich or poor, just give me enough food for each day. If I have too much, I might reject you [God] and say "I don't know the Lord." If I am poor I might steal and discrase the name of God."

This means that I shouldn't be too rich because I may be selfish about my wealth. I also shouldn't be too poor because I may steal and so not keep the 10 commandments. ("You shall not steal"). 

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Causes of poverty

Poverty is caused by natural disasters and through man made activity.

  • Debt- Poor countries had to boorow large amounts of money from richer countries in the past. They now have to pay them back with a large interest.
  • Conflict- War uses up money and other resources which means major factors of a country suffer. It also destroys people slivelihoods and they are no longer safe.
  • Education- People cannot affored to send children to school which means they probibly will not be able to get good jobs as adults.
  • Environmental problems- frequent natural disasters destroy crops, which means communities are seriously weakened. Poor countries cannot cope well in natural disasters so families go unfed, workers become weaker and more prone to disease.
  • Health care- lack of basic healthcare means more lielihood of child mortality and women are more likely to die in childbirth. People die of preventsble illnesses.
  • Trade- Third world countries lose out through unfair trade with big companies so they don't pay them what they should.
  • HIV/AIDS- Many yound adults die or are seriusly weakened causing less people in jobs.
  • Poor leadership- Governments or leaders that are corrupt often spend public money and neglect the poor, this often drags down public morale. This can be economic collapse. 
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The parable of the sheep and goats

Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;  for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'  Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?  And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee?  And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?'  And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'  Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;  for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,  I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'  Then they also will answer, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?'  Then he will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.'  And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

A parable is a story with a meaning. Jesus often used them to get a difficult point across.

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Meaning of the parable of the sheep and goats.

  • Goats represent the bad/ unrighteous and so they go to hell.
  • Sheep represent the goog/righteous and so they go to heaven.

Key messages in this parable:

  • At the end of the world/ life Gog will judge people on the bad things that they have done to other people and also on the things that they have not done to help people.
  • We have a duty to see God in everyone, and actively help them.
  • The good people (sheep) will go to heaven, and the bad people (goats) will not.
  • The parable of the sheep and goats teaches christians that they must help others through prayer and through acts of charity.
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How Christians respond to the needs of the poor

  • "Do not nonour Jesus here in church in silk vestments and then pass him by unclothed and frozen outside."
  • It can be seen as hypocrtical to go to mass but not help the poor, because at mass you say you will help those that are less fortunate than ourselves.


  • Fair trade is providing workers in developing countries with a fair wage with which they can feed, educate and medically provide for themselves and their children.
  • Fairtrade cuts out the middle man meaning more profit goes to the farmer.


  • This is when a person is used by another for the interests of the other at their expense.
  • Very little of what we pay for a produce gets back to the farmers and producers in the poorer countries.
  • RC teaches that exploitation is wrong and business should be just, which is achieved through fairtrade.
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Catholic response and CAFOD

  • Concern for the poor includes trying to prevent the causes of poverty.
  • The commandment 'Do not steal' includes taking a share of the wold's wealth than is justified, therefor, Christians in wealthier countries are challenged to look at their own lives and ask if they are taking too much.
  • 'Neither thieves nor the greedy... nor the robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.'
  • The catholic church teaches that paying unjust salaries, something that is not enough to live on, is stealing.
  • An approach to business that makes the profit motiv the only concern is immoral.

CAFOD- (Catholic Agency For Overseas Development)

  • Works to give everybody dignity and respect, to educate MEDC's about the situations of LEDC's.
  • Originated in England and Wales and help people all over the world.
  • Believes  that the world resources should be shared equally.
  • Long term aid- Help people learn new skills, improve access to water and sanitory, provide education, tools and money to start businesses- give people more dignity.
  • Short term aid- respond quickly to sudden emergencies and disasters through local organisations
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