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The Pope on giving unconditionally

This week the Pope endorsed giving unconditionally, because giving something to someone in need is “always right,” reports The New York Times.

Many people ask us, when we talk about giving unconditionally to the poor, “what if they spend the money on alcohol?” Someone asked the Pope the very same question, and here’s how he replied:

His answer: If “a glass of wine is the only happiness he has in life, that’s O.K. Instead, ask yourself, what do you do on the sly? What ‘happiness’ do you seek in secret?” Another way to look at it, he said, is to recognize how you are the “luckier” one, with a home, a spouse and children, and then ask why your responsibility to help should be pushed onto someone else.

Giving unconditionally is what we do here at GiveDirectly, not only because of the strong evidence that giving cash unconditionally is cost-effective, but also, as the Times summarizes: “to preserve dignity, to see another person not as a pathology or a social condition, but as a human, with a life whose value is equal to your own.”

Amen to that.