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The Two Feet of Social Justice Parish Meetings at St. Noel March 2015 “Accompanying on its own is not enough. It is not enough to offer someone a sandwich.

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Presentation on theme: "The Two Feet of Social Justice Parish Meetings at St. Noel March 2015 “Accompanying on its own is not enough. It is not enough to offer someone a sandwich."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Two Feet of Social Justice Parish Meetings at St. Noel March 2015 “Accompanying on its own is not enough. It is not enough to offer someone a sandwich unless it is accompanied by the possibility of learning how to stand on one’s own two feet. Charity that leaves the poor person as he is, is not sufficient.” Pope Francis

2 Define Social Justice  Right ordering of society and relationships  “Have a fair and equitable opportunity to live decent lives free of inordinate burdens and deprivations.” (Thomas Massaro, Living Justice)  We have responsibilities and expectations as members of a society.  The way things ought to be (fairness). Our sense of “ought-ness” comes from:  Scriptures  Tradition of the Church  The Spirit of God that dwells within us.

3 Some examples  Scripture -1 John 3:17-18 – “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s good and sees one in need and refuses to help?” ministry/tools-for-action/upload/cst-scripture-guide-donna-update-matt2.pdf ministry/tools-for-action/upload/cst-scripture-guide-donna-update-matt2.pdf  Tradition – 1971 Synod of Bishops – Justice in the World - “Our relationship to our neighbor is bound up with our relationship to God; our response to the love of God, saving us through Christ, is shown to be effective in his love and service of people. Christian love of neighbor and justice cannot be separated. (#34)  The Spirit within (conscience) – our own sense of right & wrong often informs us. Some things are just not right.

4 Social Justice Issues  Things are not as they ought to be  Children dying of curable diseases  Relationships are not equal  Domestic violence & child abuse  Structures exist that create inequality and imbalance  Disparity among school districts  Barriers exist that limit access  Immigration, healthcare

5 Social Justice Issues  As Christians, we know we cannot sit idly in the midst of injustice.  We also know these issues are complex. There are no simple solutions.  The Church offers us guidance in the form of Catholic Social Teaching.

6 Catholic Social Teaching  The themes of CST help us formulate our response to issues of social justice.  Fundamental to all the themes is the “Life and Dignity of the Human Person.”  For Christians, we reach out in love because we recognize the face of Christ in every person. Our dignity is not earned; it cannot be forfeited.  “Human persons are willed by God; they are imprinted with God’s image. Their dignity does not come from the work they do, but from the persons they are.” (John Paul II, The Hundredth Year, #11)  We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person. (USCCB) So how do we respond?

7 How do we respond?? "Accompanying on its own is not enough. It is not enough to offer someone a sandwich unless it is accompanied by the possibility of learning how to stand on one’s own two feet. Charity that leaves the poor person as he is, is not sufficient. True mercy, the mercy God gives to us and teaches us, demands justice, it demands that the poor find the way to be poor no longer. It asks — and it asks us, the Church, us, the City of Rome, it asks the institutions — to ensure that no one ever again stand in need of a soup-kitchen, of makeshift-lodgings, of a service of legal assistance in order to have his legitimate right recognized to live and to work, to be fully a person." Pope Francis (9/10/13) Address to Jesuit Refugee Service

8 The Two Feet of Love in Action Works of Mercy Works of Advocacy Remove Root Causes Improve Structures Meet Basic Needs Aid Individuals  Donate to food pantries  Pick up trash in the Metroparks  Host a clothing drive  Volunteer at a homeless shelter  Participate in a living wage campaign  Help fund a PSA about littering  Expand access to affordable housing “The conscience is called by this social teaching to recognize and fulfill the obligations of justice and charity in society.” - Compendium #83 “[Advocacy]...concerns the social, political, and economic aspects and, above all, the structural dimension of problems and their respective solutions.” - Compendium #201 “To [those who lack what they need to live a dignified life] are proclaimed glad tidings that God loves them...and comes to visit them through the charitable works that the disciples of Christ do in his name.” - Pope Francis, Address to Pastoral Convention, 6/17/13 adapted from the USCCB:

9 The Two Feet of Love in Action  Don’t bother with that starfish!  Why are the babies falling into the river?

10 How do we respond as disciples?? "Catholic teaching calls us to serve those in need and to change the structures that deny people their dignity and rights as children of God. Service and action, charity and justice are complementary components of parish social ministry. Neither alone is sufficient; both are essential signs of the gospel at work. A parish serious about social ministry will offer opportunities to serve those in need and to advocate for justice and peace. These are not competing priorities, but two dimensions of the same fundamental mission to protect the life and dignity of the human person." Communities of Salt & Light, USCCB, 1994

11 We need them both!!  Works of Mercy –  Works of Advocacy – "Injustice causes many more wounds than charity alone can heal." Saint Alberto Hurtado ( ) - Chilean Jesuit who worked among the poorest in Chile

12 How Are We Doing?? We perform many Works of Mercy at St Noel:  The Christmas Project  The Food Pantry  St. Augustine Hunger Center  Lenten Bags  Monthly assistance – rent, utilities, medication, etc.  Volunteering at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank  Collecting clothes, school supplies, etc

13 How Are We Doing?? Our Works of Advocacy need some attention:  Healthcare Task Force – did a great job raising awareness prior to the Affordable Care Act. The task force has taken a break until the impact from the ACA can be better assessed.  Loaves & Letters – an effective event periodically that attracts people  CEPROSI – our recent partnership with this organization in Nicaragua will help lift rural women and their families out of poverty through empowerment and education.

14 We need a new direction for Advocacy  The Parish Pastoral Council, in conversation with the Parish Staff and the Social Justice Committee, has charted a course for advocacy at St. Noel.  4 possible areas to consider – We need your input!  Surveymonkey link

15 Prayer for Justice May we always be ready to work for justice. To respect all people and treat everyone with kindness and understanding. May we cherish God’s creation and share our blessings with generosity. May justice reign in our hearts and guide our actions. And may our love bring beauty to the world. Amen.


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