Preferential Option for the Poor

Preferential Option for the Poor

In this module, we explore what it means to have a preferential option for the poor and what this means for your school board.  

Module Introduction

People who are poor and vulnerable have a special place in Catholic teaching: this is what is meant by the “preferential option for the poor”. Scripture tells us we will be judged by our response to the “least of these”, in which we see the suffering face of Christ himself. Humanity is one family despite differences of nationality or race. The poor are not a burden; they are our brothers and sisters.[1]


Ms. Jones has invited “T’s” Mum in for a conversation, in fact she has written in “T’s” diary numerous requests to meet her and only lately did his mum come for the discussion with the teacher. ”T’s” mum was fairly aggressive when Ms. Jones spoke about his behaviour. Maggie accused Ms. Jones of picking on “T”. In She said the school has been “picking on my kid since he came here, just like the other school”.

Ms. Jones has tried everything she knows but is at a loss. Some parents are angry and scared and have said “T” should not be in the school and that the Principal should get rid of him.

In discussions with the Principal some parents suggested if it would be better if “T” went to another school. The Principal said she would not be asking “T” to leave. However, now some parents have complained to board members.

Doing Theology

See (recognising the reality of a situation)

What is the main issue in this dilemma presented above?

Judge (reflecting in light of our faith)

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed, go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”[2]

What is your immediate reaction to this dilemma?
How does your belief system/faith/Luke’s gospel reading inform your response?

Act (discerning a response)

In what ways might the school board support the Principal?


This Powerpoint will help your board to discuss, explore and deepen an understanding of the principle of the preferential option for the poor. (Six slides as a part of this presentation.)

Download Principle - Option for the poor
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