Let us step back for a moment and look at poverty from a wider perspective. If we rank poverty and welfare policies in terms of quantity of money and material goods given to people who are poor, then today’s policies are far more effective than the Founders’. Benefit levels are much higher, and far more people are eligible for support. That is what leads historians like Michael Katz to condemn the earlier approach as a failure.
Instituted by Bl. Pope Paul VI in 1968, the World Day of Peace is celebrated each year on the first day of January. The Pope gives a special message for the occasion, which is sent to all foreign ministers around the world, and which also indicates the Holy See’s diplomatic tone during the coming year.
If Prussia's ultimate goal was the unification of Germany, our major goal, so these men thought, was the unification of hordes of immigrant Catholics into a national consensus based on a northern European cultural model. To do that children would have to be removed from their parents and from inappropriate cultural influence. In this fashion, compulsion schooling, a bad idea that had been around at least since Plato's "Republic", a bad idea that New England had tried to enforce in 1650 without any success, was finally rammed through the Massachusetts legislature in 1852. It was, of course, the famous "Know-Nothing" legislature that passed this law, a legislature that was the leading edge of a famous secret society which flourished at that time known as "The Order of the Star Spangled Banner," whose password was the simple sentence, "I know nothing" hence the popular label attached to the secret society's political arm, "The American Party." Over the next 50 years state after state followed suit, ending schools of choice and ceding the field to a new government monopoly.
Two centuries ago, most Americans—at least 90 percent—were desperately poor by today’s standards. Most houses were small, ill-constructed, and poorly heated and insulated. Based on federal family income estimates, 59 percent of Americans lived in poverty as late as 1929, before the Great Depression. In 1947, the government reported that 32 percent of Americans were poor. By 1969, that figure had declined to 12 percent, where it remained for 10 years. Since then, the percentage of poor Americans has fluctuated but has remained near the same level. As of 2013, the poverty rate was 14.5 percent.
I think the balance of this trip is a very positive balance and so my sentiments are, of course, sentiments of gratitude to the Lord for having accompanied me during these days. We were able to realize the program that was already fixed, to keep the scheduled encounters, and I have to say that these meetings – at the level of civil authority with President Putin and with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Lavrov, and then with the leaders of the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Hilarion – were characterized by a climate of cordiality, a climate of listening, a climate of respect. I would define them as meaningful encounters, they were also constructive encounters. I feel that I have to put a bit of emphasis on this word: “constructive encounters.” Of course, then, there was also the part of the encounter with the Catholic community. Above all thanks to the conversation and dialogue we had with the bishops in the nunciature, it was possible to know from a bit closer the reality, the life, of the Catholic community in Russia, her joys, her hopes, but also her challenges and the difficulties she has to face. For the latter, in part, it was possible to represent them, to expose them to the authorities. I cite one for all: the theme of the restitution of some churches that were confiscated during the time of the communist regime and for which there still has not been any restitution in the face of the need of the Catholic community to have adequate places of worship. So, I would say that in the end – to use this word – it was a useful trip, it was an interesting trip, it was a constructive trip.
Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. St. Monday, and St. Tuesday, will soon cease to be holidays. Six days shalt thou labor, though one of the old commandments long treated as out of date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them.