Excerpted from Rule of the International Confederation of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Relationship With Civil Society
Work For Social Justice
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul gives immediate help but also seeks mid-term and long-term solutions. It is concerned not only with alleviating need but also with identifying the unjust structures that cause it. We are committed to identifying the root causes of poverty and to contributing to their elimination. In all our charitable actions we search for justice!
A Vision Of The Civilization Of Love
Affirming the dignity of each human being as created in God’s image, with a particular identification with those who are excluded by society, Vincentians envision a more just society in which the rights, responsibilities and development of all people are promoted. As citizens of one world, Vincentians endeavor to create a more equitable and compassionate social order and a civilization of love.
Vision Of The Future
Our vision goes beyond the immediate future, looking towards sustainable development and protection of the environment for the benefit of future generations.
The Practical Vincentian Approach To Social Justice
The distinctive approach of Vincentians to issues of social justice is to see them from the perspective of those we visit who suffer from injustice.
A Voice For The Voiceless
We help and encourage the poor and disadvantaged to speak for themselves. When they cannot, we must speak on behalf of those who are ignored.
Facing The Structures Of Injustice
Where injustice, inequality, poverty or exclusion are due to unjust economic, political or social structures or to inadequate or unjust legislation, we speak out clearly against the situation, always with charity, with the aim of contributing to and demanding improvements.
Striving To Change Attitudes
Vincentians oppose discrimination of all kinds and work to change the attitudes of those who view the weak or those who are different with prejudice, fear or scorn, attitudes which gravely wound the dignity of others.
The Society strives, with charity, to foster new attitudes of respect and empathy for the weak, so that all are able to understand, recognize and defend the right of each person to be responsible for his or her own life.
The Society promotes understanding, cooperation and mutual love among people of different cultures, religions, ethnic origins and social groups, and so contributes to the peace and unity of all peoples.
Political Independence Of The Society
The Society does not identify with any political party and always adopts a nonviolent approach.
Working With Communities
The Society works not only with individuals in need but also with families and communities. We can help an excluded or deprived local community to develop a sense of responsibility and solidarity which leads it to improve its economic, social or environmental well-being, always retaining the personal contact of members with those who suffer.
What is Voice of the Poor (VOP)?
Voice of the Poor is the advocacy arm of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. We are challenged to create conditions for marginalized voices to be heard, to defend the defenseless and to assess policies and social institutions in terms of their impact on the poor.
Voice of the Poor calls Vincentians to speak to the larger society with a single voice and address root causes of poverty.
How does VOP serve the Poor?
Voice of the Poor activities are a natural extension of our roles as Vincentians. Members of the Society serve on the front lines, in solidarity with the poor by providing food, shelter and other emergency services. However, lasting long-term assistance to the poor requires looking at the larger political and economic picture.
Guided by the fundamentals of progressive social teaching, VOP committee members research and evaluate issues and governmental policies. VOP works to educate Vincentians and decision-makers regarding the impact of legislation on the poor and marginalized.
Position statement of VOP
Here as elsewhere, the preferential option for the poor is the central priority for policy choice.
–USCCB Economic Justice for All
We believe that all people have a right to the basic necessities of life, including:
The time is now to step forward and, in the spirit of justice and charity, help the disadvantaged take their rightful and respectful place in society.