198. For the Church, the option for the poor is primarily a theological category rather than a cultural, sociological, political or philosophical one. God shows the poor “his first mercy”. This divine preference has consequences for the faith life of all Christians, since we are called to have “this mind… which was in Jesus Christ” (Phil 2:5). Inspired by this, the Church has made an option for the poor which is understood as a “special form of primacy in the exercise of Christian charity, to which the whole tradition of the Church bears witness”. This option – as Benedict XVI has taught – “is implicit in our Christian faith in a God who became poor for us, so as to enrich us with his poverty”. This is why I want a Church which is poor and for the poor. They have much to teach us. Not only do they share in the sensus fidei, but in their difficulties they know the suffering Christ. We need to let ourselves be evangelized by them. The new evangelization is an invitation to acknowledge the saving power at work in their lives and to put them at the centre of the Church’s pilgrim way. We are called to find Christ in them, to lend our voice to their causes, but also to be their friends, to listen to them, to speak for them and to embrace the mysterious wisdom which God wishes to share with us through them.
 John Paul II, Homily at Mass for the Evangelization of Peoples in Santo Domingo (11 October 1984), 5: AAS 77 (1985), 358.
 John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (30 December 1987), 42: AAS 80 (1988), 572.
 Address at the Inaugural Session of the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops (13 May 2007), 3: AAS 99 (2007), 450.
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