Does Merited Poverty Exist?

In Pope Pius XI’s encylical letter, Quadragesimo Anno (paragraph 5), he applauds Catholics, both priests and lay people, who refused to believe that God would desire such “enormous an unjust inequality,”  for their charitable work to relieve the unmerited poverty of workers (those who do not participate in the ownership of the business enterprise).

By explicitly acknowledging ‘unmerited poverty,’ Pope Pius implies that ‘merited poverty’ might exist.  Can this be?  How can this be?


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