Inclusion needed like food and shelter

Solutions to poverty need to offer ways to include the marginalised, poorest members of society, says Margaret Archer.

Archer is the President of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences.

She was speaking at the plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, held at the Vatican this week.

The meeting focused on the theme “Towards a participatory society: new ways for social and cultural integration.”

Delegates discussed societal exclusion, which manifests in different ways in different parts of the world.

It can affect the poor and economically disadvantaged, as well as migrants and refugees, religious minorities and people with disabilities.

Throughout the 20th century and the end of the 19th century, the response to the poorest of the poor was to provide them with absolute basic necessities, said Archer.

She said top down approaches that focus on basic needs like food and shelter don’t address needs like societal participation and inclusion.

Finding solutions that address these needs is a major challenge, she said.

“When you have a population of extreme poverty, what do you do? You give them welfare.

“The Pope doesn’t want the simplistic solution of just giving them money, because it doesn’t last forever anyway,” she said.

Pope Francis sent a message to the academy encouraging them in their plenary session and urging them, according to the Church’s social doctrine, to find “ways to apply in practice fraternity as the governing principle of the economic order.”


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