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My country is full of beggars asking for money, sometimes it's kinda family controlled business, the parents ask their children to beg for money and then steal the money from them, some beggars are really poor, others are just scammers.

But you don't have anyway of telling, the vast majority of people either yell at them or ignore them or tell them to go away or act as if they never saw them.

I don't imagine that one could pay each and every beggar he sees on a daily basis, and the people in my country aren't rich and there are too many beggars out there.

From a roman catholic point of view, how should common people treat beggars? Is ignoring them a sin? What does the church and saints have to say about that?

  • Cf. Acts 3:2-6. – Sola Gratia Dec 26 '18 at 23:54
  • @SolaGratia they didn't have silver nor gold, they had the name of Christ so they gave to him. Common people have money, should they give money ri to every beggar they see? Do any saints or the church talk about it? – Lynob Dec 27 '18 at 0:15
  • I would be cautious in giving beggars money. The reason is the many times one is enabling them to obtain drugs or alcohol. – Ken Graham Dec 28 '18 at 16:37
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Here's an example from St. Robert Bellarmine's life (ch. 30 of 35 Doctors of the Church):

Not only did he give freely to those who asked, but he remembered those who were too embarrassed to ask, too reserved to beg. He sent out men to find such cases and helped them. He was often “taken in” by beggars who were not deserving. Some came back in disguise to receive a second alms. He knew this, but his principle was that it is better to be deceived a hundred times than miss one genuinely in need. No wonder the people of Rome called him “the new Poverello,” referring of course to St. Francis of Assisi, his patron.

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You give what you have:

  • money
  • prayer
  • a hat or mittens on a cold day
  • a cup of tea
  • a coupon or chitty for a meal at a local fast food place
  • a coat
  • look him in the eyes and smile
  • greet him warmly
  • apologise for not having any money
  • basic human contact

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

  • I would be cautious in giving beggars money. The reason is the many times one is enabling them to obtain drugs or alcohol. – Ken Graham Dec 28 '18 at 15:52
  • Understandable. Happily, modern culture gives us many means of showering people with God's love. I listed ten. There's probably more like ten million! – elemtilas Dec 28 '18 at 15:56
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Catholicism: How to treat beggars?

Modern society is so much different than centuries gone by.

Giving money to the less fortunate of society is fine, but one must be cautious about doing so. We do not want to enable them in their addictions if they have some: drugs, alcohol or to a lesser degree smoking.

We should always pray for the poor and the hungry and it is for this very intention that we should remember them when we say grace at meal time.

If we are aware of a place where they can get a meal, we could direct them where to go.

I know people that carry business cards, in order to indicate possible places where they can find some work, at least temporarily. These individuals will actually take a genuine interest in beggars.

The chancery of our local archbishop hands out meal tickets or coupons for a free meal at neighboring fast food outlets like McDonalds. No one is turned away empty handed.

I know of several priests that will make sandwiches for beggars who knock at their rectory doors.

Society is truly so different than days gone by so let us clearly pray for the less fortune every day and at least recite an Our Father for their intentions as well as invoking their patron saints for them daily.

"Pray then like this: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'" - Matthew 6:9-13

  • I believe that the answers from Geremia and @elemtilas are more Christian than saying "one must be cautious about doing so. We do not want to enable them in their addictions if they have some: drugs, alcohol or to a lesser degree smoking". Branding all beggars as layabouts, addicts, and the like is one of the problems we have in today's day and age. Giving them a little change to help them when you can is giving them the opportunity to get some kind of comfort, whether it is from the cold, hunger or whatever. If they choose not to stave hunger or cold, leave it to God to try and help – Chris Rogers Dec 31 '18 at 0:44
  • Nevertheless, I like the business cards idea and there are homeless shelters you can point them to. – Chris Rogers Dec 31 '18 at 0:49
  • @ChrisRogers I will stand with what I said as I have worked with them. – Ken Graham Dec 31 '18 at 1:59

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