The expression “a preferential option for the poor” or “option for the poor and vulnerable” is a basic tenet of Catholic Social Teaching, a body of papal encyclicals from the late 19th century up through today. It consists of seven basic themes of which the US Bishops have nice introduction here. One of those themes is “Option for the Poor and Vulnerable.” This theme says that a basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first. Many times we read the Matthean passage and feel the call to individual acts of compassion and justice, but the US Bishops also direct our attention to more systemic issues of economic justice and domestic poverty. Lots of links and lots to consider! And you might be asking “what does this have to do with Psalm 8?”
So often, the folks at The Bible Project have an answer that is far more memorable and vivid than anything I might offer. Their visual commentary on Psalm 8 is a wonderful overview of the Psalms, their construction and placement, and how Psalm 8 is a key part of Scripture that underscores the preferential role the poor and vulnerable have in God’s plans.
As always, I encourage you to support the not-for-profit work of The Bible Project.