poverty

(Latin: paupertas, poverty; Old French: poverte, indigence)

In Catholic doctrine and asceticism, poverty is one of the three Evangelical Counsels. Taken as such, it indicates the voluntary renunciation, partial or complete, of the right of ownership either by an individual, religious or laic, or by an entire religious community or order (Mendicant Orders). It involves at the same time the moral obligation to use the goods of earth after the manner of the ordinary poor. Apart from this specific signification, poverty means in general any deficiency in what is desired or desirable or in what constitutes richness. More particularly, it denotes the scarcity or absence of the means of subsistence, or the state of those who suffer the lack of such means. As understood by economists and sociologists, poverty is that economic and social status in which a person, either because of inadequate income or of unwise expenditure, lacks some of the requisites of physical efficiency, that is, normal health and productive capacity; or, to formulate a definition substantially equivalent in meaning to the economic and utilitarian conception, but more in consonance with the dignity of man, it is that more or less chronic condition in which a person for whatever reason falls short of the sum total of material goods requisite for the development and maintenanc; of normal health and strength, of an elementary amount of comfort, of a minimum degree of culture, and of right moral living.

New Catholic Dictionary

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