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Abstract

Vincent de Paul believed it was God’s will to serve poor persons as Christ would serve them. Edward Udovic translates the traditional five Vincentian virtues that are necessary to perform this service into modern terms. He discusses the discernment that must be done when considering actions to reduce poverty. Following Vincent’s example, poverty reduction efforts must provide triage services to alleviate the poor’s most urgent problems. Such efforts must be planned carefully so they can respond to continuous need. They should also be conducted with an understanding of the new forms and causes of poverty to bring about long-term, effective change. These efforts are not aimed at creating a utopia. They are instead “grace-assisted . . . reasonable attempts to live in the kingdom of God that exists here and now within the ultimate mystery of the ‘already but not yet.’”

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