Presentation on theme: "Catholic Social Teaching"— Presentation transcript:
1 Catholic Social Teaching A Key to Catholic IdentityOffice for Social Justice Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis 328 West Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN
2 The ProblemFar too many Catholics are unfamiliar with the basic content of Catholic social teaching. More fundamentally, many Catholics do not adequately understand that the social mission of the Church is an essential part of Catholic faith.This poses a serious challenge for all Catholics, since it weakens our capacity to be a Church that is true to the demands of the Gospel. We need to do more to share the social mission and message of our Church.Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and DirectionsU.S. Bishops, 1998
3 A Key to Catholic Identity The central message is simple: our faith is profoundly social. We cannot be called truly “Catholic” unless we hear and heed the Church's call to serve those in need and work for justice and peace.Communities of Salt and Light, U.S. Bishops, 1993
4 Vatican II’s Ecclesiology The Church is a sign and a safeguard of the dignity of the human person.A religious organization whose purpose it is to help bring about the reign of God in history.The social mission is “constitutive” not extra-curricular or optional.The Church carries out its religious mission by engaging in concrete struggles of society. To work for social justice and human dignity, therefore, is a religious act.
5 Justice in the World, 1971 Synod Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel, or, in other words, of the Church's mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation.
6 Constitutive Elements of Church Word – Scriptures, tradition, religious ed, etc.Worship – Sacraments, prayer, etc.World -- social mission, action for social justiceScripture -- hearing the Good NewsSacraments -- worship, prayer life, etc.Social Mission -- action for social justice
7 Catholic Social Teaching Rooted in the BibleContinually developed in Catholic Social Teaching Observe, judge, act
8 Biblical themes of justice God is active in human historyCreationCovenant relationshipCommunityAnawim -- "the widows, orphans and aliens”The example of Jesus – reign of God, healingCreation Creation is good. The goods of the earth are meant for all.Special sacredness, human dignity of the personWhatever does violence to humans, does violence to God — not just individuals, but institutions, laws, systems, policies.Humans are given dominion (not domination, but stewardship)This is the basis of idea of co-creation.We are not owners but caretakers, stewards.No dimension of human life lies beyond God’s care - engagement with God’s handiwork is itself reverence for God.Covenant Exodus story - I will be your God and you will be my people.God intervenes in history to maintain their freedom and establish justiceThe people were to be part of the covenant by directing their lives toward God - eg. in their treatment of the poorCommunity -- God dwelled in the community. This is a far cry from the “me and Jesus” spirituality of today.Our Biblical heritage is communalCf. Zulu saying, “A person is a person because of other people.”Interdependence - We are not only sacred; we are social.The Poor Widows, orphans, aliensIsaiah 58Economic Justice for All: #38 Central to the biblical presentation of justice is that the justice of a community is measured by its treatment of the powerless in society.the least, the left out, the lonelyNew TestamentMt. 25Lk 4:16Lk 15:1-3 Jesus associated with the outcasts of society.Jn 10:1-18 Jesus is the Good ShephardLk 6:20-26 Beatitudes1 Cor. 12:24-26 If one member suffers, all suffer as one.In biblical faith, the doing of justice is the primary expectation of Yahweh.Walter Brueggeman
9 Cycle of Baal Community, State of Blessing Become Owners Restoration The "Cycle of Baal,” and is explained in a 1991 book entitled Doing Faithjustice by Fred Kammer, SJ. I find it to be a helpful tool in understanding the ups and downs of Yahweh’s relationship with the people of Israel. Also, it just might have something to say to Americans in the 1990's.The Cycle of Baal begins when the people are in a right relationship with Yahweh. They are a healthy community, characterized by a sense of shared goods and of caring for the anawim in their midst: the widows, the orphans, and the strangers.In the next phase of the cycle, the people prosper and become owners. They begin to place more emphasis on things than on people. They value having rather than being. They turn the order of creation on its head, as their possessions come to have dominion over them, and not vice versa.This growing emphasis on "having” produces a dangerous self-centeredness. As a result, the people forget the anawim, the poor. Moreover, forgetting the poor is the critical sign of a more profound memory loss: forgetting Yahweh. It is a fundamental form of atheism, not knowing who God is and what God expects from the people. Yahweh repeatedly warns the people about the seductions of prosperity and about the tendency to this kind of forgetfulness.In the next phase, the people create their own gods, gods who are more convenient and more like themselves. The Hebrews often turned to the fertility gods of Canaan, some of which were called the "Baals.” The Baals were gods that were satisfied with a few ritual sacrifices. Not only did they assure fertility, but they could also be counted on to not interfere with ownership. Thus the Israelites wree free to ignore the poor and forget the web of relationships that originally defined their community.The result was self-destruction. The Scriptures repeatedly tell the story of the Israelites being overcome by their enemies. God raises up some neighboring nation which invades the promised land, destroys Jerusalem, demolishes the temple, kills many of the people, and takes the rest into exile.Then Yahweh would send the prophets deliver a message to the Israelites. The essence of the message was not "You have forgotten the rituals or the ceremonies.” Rather, the central message from Yahweh was "You have forgotten the poor.” The prophets came with one basic lesson: Yahweh’s test of the people’s faith was how well justice was implemented in the land, and the test of justice was how the poor -- the widows, the orphans, and the strangers -- were treated.Isaiah’s message is one good example. He proclaimed that God does not want merely sackcloth and ashes, holy days and sacrifices. What God wants is that the oppressed be freed, the hungry fed, the naked clothed, and the poor restored to their rightful place in the midst of the community.The message of the prophets was not a particularly popular one. Therefore, what most prophets received was not the respect and reverence that one would expect for those who are sent by God, but rather the usual treatment of prophets: banishment or death.The next stage of the cycle is repentance. The people cry out for mercy and deliverance. They beg to be brought back to the promised land, to be restored to right order and to the community of fidelity to Yahweh and to one another.Finally, Yahweh hears the cry of the people and restores them to the land and to the right relationship with God. The covenant community is restored, the temple is rebuilt, and all rejoice.And then the cycle begins again. From healthy community to forgetfulness, faithlessness, and self-destruction. And eventually to forgiveness and restoration.Could it be that this "Cycle of Baal” is not just about the Israelites and how they responded to God’s word several thousand years ago? What if we were to use the Cycle of Baal to think about our own time and place, our own history?How far along on the cycle are we in 1993? Have we become owners? Does "having” take precedence over "being?” Has this contributed to our forgetfulness of the poor and of Yahweh? What false gods have we chosen? Has the process of self-destruction begun?Cry out for DeliveranceForget the PoorForget YahwehKill the ProphetsCreate Other GodsProphets: The PoorSelf Destruction
10 Vatican IIThis split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age.Long since, the Prophets of the Old Testament fought vehemently against this scandal and even more so did Jesus Christ Himself in the New Testament threaten it with grave punishments.The full quotation from Church in the Modern World is as follows:This Council exhorts Christians, as citizens of two cities, to strive to discharge their earthly duties conscientiously and in response to the Gospel spirit. They are mistaken who, knowing that we have here no abiding city but seek one which is to come, think that they may therefore shirk their earthly responsibilities. For they are forgetting that by the faith itself they are more obliged than ever to measure up to these duties....Nor are they any less wide of the mark who think that religion consists in acts of worship alone and in the discharge of certain moral obligations, and who imagine they can plunge themselves into earthly affairs in such a way as to imply that these are altogether divorced from the religious life.This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age. Long since, the Prophets of the Old Testament fought vehemently against this scandal and even more so did Jesus Christ Himself in the New Testament threaten it with grave punishments.Therefore, let there be no false opposition between professional and social activities on the one part, and religious life on the other. Christians who neglect their temporal duties, jeopardizes their eternal salvation. (#43)
11 Modern Catholic Social Teaching Modern Catholic Social Teaching 1891 Rerum Novarum Leo XIII Quadragesimo Anno Pius XI Mother and Teacher John XXIII Peace on Earth John XXIII Church in the Modern World Vatican II The Development of Peoples Paul VI A Call to Action Paul VI Justice in the World Synod of Bishops 1979 Redeemer of Humanity John Paul II On Human Work John Paul II On Social Concern John Paul II The One Hundredth Year John Paul II The Gospel of Life John Paul IIThis is not a comprehensive list, but it does include the major official texts.Note that the teaching changed significantly over its history, because of the changing social, economic, and political realities. One can break this century into three periods:Industrial Revolution and its aftermath2. Globalized world – in the 60’s and 70’s the teaching began dealing with issues involving not just relationships within nations but also between nations.Post Industrial world – John Paul II’s writings reflect the dramatic changes in technology, and communication that have transformed the world.The lack of documents between 1931 and 1961 is largely a reflection of the fact that Pope Pius XII did not issue social encyclicals like other Popes. Instead, he addressed social issues and social teaching in a series of Christmas radio addresses.
12 Society Social Justice Distributive Contributive Individual Individual Begin by explaining Commutative Justice – between individuals – as in a one-to-one contract.Then introduce the concept of society – Distributive and Contributive Justice. Each involves the more complex and less obvious set of relationships and structures that make up society.Distributive justice – how the benefits and burdens of society are distributed.Examples – tax burdens, social security benefits, FHA loansContributive justice – our duty to contribute to the common good.Examples – voting, paying taxes, etc.DistributiveSocialContributiveJusticeIndividualIndividualCommutative (Contractual)
13 Major Themes from Catholic Social Teaching Human dignityCommunityRights and dutiesOption for the poorParticipationEconomic JusticeStewardship of CreationSolidarityRole of GovernmentPromotion of PeaceThere is nothing official about this list. Many people use other lists – some have 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, or 12 items.Fr. Ken Himes, who teaches this material regularly, makes a good point when he says that there are two overarching themes – dignity and community – and everything else comes under those two dominant categories.The USCC uses a list of 7 items that stems originally from their pastoral letter on the economy in Because of this, it is missing some components, such as PEACE.All of the 7 items on the USCC list are included in this list of 10. The three items that have been added are #5, #9, #10.
14 1. Human dignity The person is sacred, made in the image of God. "The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. Our belief in the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching." (National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions, Washington, DC: USCC, 1998, p. 5)There is no more basic principle in the Catholic social vision than the dignity of the human person. It is the bedrock theme, the place where the church stands when it addresses the question of justice in the world. In the words of the Second Vatican, the Church is "the sign and the safeguard of the transcendental dimension of the human person." (Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church and the Modern World, 1965, #69.)This principle is grounded in the idea that the person is sacred, made in the image of God. The human person is the clearest reflection of God among us. As the bishops said in their 1986 pastoral letter on the economy, every person "must be respected with a reverence that is religious. When we deal with each other, we should do so with the sense of awe that arises in the presence of something holy and sacred." (National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Economic Justice for All: Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy (Washington, DC: USCC, 1986), #28.) In other words, when we look into the eyes of the human person, we see there the greatest manifestation of the grandeur of God, the clearest reflection of the presence of God among us.We are asked never to forget this most basic principle: people are more important than things. Every person, regardless of age, sex, race, gender, religion, or economic status, has the special dignity that comes from being a child of God. Every person is a reflection of the sacred and is worthy of respect.The person is sacred, made in the image of God.
15 2. Community / Common Good The social nature of the human person In Catholic social thought, the person is not only sacred, but also social. The very nature of human beings is that they are communal creatures. They live and grow in community. They cannot survive without community. Therefore, the dignity of the person makes sense only in the context of the person's relationships to others in the community. Human dignity can only be realized and protected in the context of relationships with the wider society.This principle has profound implications not only for individual attitudes and behavior, but also for the institutions and structures of society. How we organize society -- economically, politically, legally -- directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. The obligation to "love our neighbor," therefore, has an individual dimension, but it also requires a broader social commitment to the common good. Everyone has an obligation to contribute to the good of the whole society, to the common good. For, if we are serious about our commitment to the dignity of the human person, we must be serious about humanizing the social systems in which the person lives.This is a difficult truth to be taught ‑‑ particularly in our culture and our time, when individualism is a dominant and sometimes rampant cultural force. Contemporary society is characterized by a radical separation of private life and social life. Far too often American culture promotes an ethic of private interest and private struggle to the near exclusion of social virtues and social commitments. The nation is witnessing a loss of commitment to the social order, a declining willingness to sacrifice one's immediate selfish interests for the good of the wider society. This radically privatized, radically individualized culture operates on a creed that Charles Dickens once described in the following way: "Every man for himself, said the elephant, as he danced among the chickens.“In the face of this rampant individualism, Catholic social teaching insists that we are all radically social. It promotes a vision in which community plays a central role. As the Apostle Paul wrote the Corinthians:The body is one and has many members, but all the members, many though they are, are one body; and so it is with Christ. It is in one Spirit that all of us, whether Jew or Greek, slave or free, were baptized into one body.... If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members share its joy. You, then, are the body of Christ. Every one of you is a member of it. (I Cor 12:12-27)The notion of the common good plays a central role in the Catholic vision of social life. The common good grows out of the social nature of the human person and is defined as the sum total of spiritual, material, and social conditions that are necessary in order that all in society might realize their full human dignity. All of society is responsible for contributing to the common good, and by doing so, they enhance their own dignity. In view of the excessive individualism in our culture, it can be argued that restoring a healthy commitment to the common good is one of the most significant social tasks of our time.The fact that human beings are social by nature indicates that the betterment of the person and the improvement of society depend on each other.…humanity by its very nature stands completely in need of life in society.Vatican II, The Church in the Modern World“Every man for himself,” said the elephant as he danced among the chickens. Charles Dickens
16 3. Rights and duties Civil/political Economic/social In Catholic social teaching the basic demands of justice are made explicit by a specific set of human rights. These rights are bestowed on human beings by God and grounded in the nature and dignity of the person. They are not created by society, but rather, are inherent in the very nature of every person. These fundamental rights form a kind of baseline, a set of minimum conditions for social justice. They form a bottom line for judging how well society's institutions are protecting human dignity.A "right" as presented in Catholic teaching is a moral claim that is based on one's dignity. These moral claims are of two types. First, are civil and political rights, such as freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and the other rights found in the U.S. Bill of Rights. These rights are a form of immunity from unjust interference. They imply a moral claim against others in society, preventing them from unnecessarily limiting one's basic freedoms.A second category of rights consists of economic rights, such as food and shelter. These are rights that might be thought of as "empowerments." They are claims made on others in society for specific goods that enable people to realize full human dignity. In Catholic teaching economic rights include, above all, the basic material necessities that are required to live decently. As the U.S. bishops state in their pastoral letter on the economy:First among these are the rights to life, food, clothing, shelter, rest, medical care, and basic education. These are indispensable to the protection of human dignity. In order to ensure these necessities, all persons have a right to earn a living, which for most people in our economy is through remunerative employment. (26)Human rights, then, are the minimum conditions for life in community. When people are hungry and homeless, when they don't have access to health care or employment, they are being denied basic rights. Society, therefore, must ensure that these rights are protected.In Catholic teaching the concept of human rights is closely tied to that of responsibilities.Corresponding to the basic rights enjoyed by all people are fundamental duties and responsibilities -- to one another, to families, and to the larger society. Thus for example, people have a right to adequate employment, but they also have a duty to work and a responsibility to provide adequate income for their families. Moreover, the wider society also has a responsibility to organize its economic structures so that the right to employment is protected for all. Without this collective social responsibility being fulfilled, an individual's right to employment would have little practical meaning.Public debate in our nation is often divided between those who focus on personal responsibility and those who focus on social responsibilities. As the above discussion points out, the Catholic tradition insists that both personal and social responsibilities are necessary. As a nation we are challenged to ask a basic question -- how can we structure society so that we guarantee that no one goes without the basic goods that are essential to human dignity?While the concept of human rights may sound rather straightforward and basic, it is one of the more controversial ideas in Catholic social teaching, especially when the rights in question are economic in nature. Our society understands civil and political rights, and there is a political consensus that supports these rights. As a result, the nation has put in place social policies and structures that protect these rights, and punish those who violate these rights.In contrast, society has a very different attitude toward rights that are economic in nature. Indeed many Americans disagree with the very idea of economic rights. The nation does not have a consensus in support of these rights, nor does it have in place the kinds of policies and structures that are needed to adequately protect these rights. One of the Church's important educational tasks, therefore, is to help build a broader consensus that the basic economic conditions of human welfare are essential to human dignity and are due by right.Civil/politicalEconomic/socialEvery person has a right to the basic material necessities that are required to live a decent life.
17 4. Option for the Poor Remember the “widows, orphans, and aliens.” The theme of special care and love for the poor is one that is central to the biblical notion of justice. The Hebrew Scriptures emphasized that God expects those who are faithful to the covenant to pay special attention to the "widows, orphans, and aliens." Indeed, the treatment of the poor is one of the bottom-line tests of the people's faith in Yahweh. In the New Testament, Jesus recalls and carries on this theme. In the Beatitudes, in the story of the last judgment (Mt 25), and in the whole of Jesus' life and teaching, it is unmistakably clear that those who seek to follow the way of Jesus must care for the poor in a special way.In contemporary times the Church has adopted the phrase "option for the poor" to describe this moral principle. John Paul II has spoken of this special obligation to the poor as "a preferential, but not exclusive, love of the poor. He has describe this preferential love as a "call to have a special openness with the small and the weak, those that suffer and weep, those that are humiliated and left on the margin of society, so as to help them win their dignity as human persons and children of God" (Pope John Paul II, "Address to Bishops of Brazil," Origin, July 31, 1980 p. 35.)It is important to note that the word "option" here implies a special preference for the poor and the weak, but it is not intended to be a theme that is, in any way, divisive. It does not mean that one should opt for the poor and against those who are not poor. The U.S. bishops make this point in their pastoral letter on the economy when they write:The primary purpose of this special commitment to the poor is to enable them to become active participants in the life of society. It is to enable all persons to share in and contribute to the common good. The "option for the poor," therefore, is not an adversarial slogan that pits one group or class against another. Rather it states that the deprivation and powerlessness of the poor wounds the whole community. (National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Economic Justice for All: Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, Washington, DC: USCC, 1986, #88.)While this moral theme obviously has strong implications for one's individual actions and one's personal life, it also has great importance at a social and structural level. The bishops' pastoral letter is emphatic on this point. They declare that, "As individuals and as a nation, we are called to make a fundamental 'option for the poor'. The obligation to evaluate social and economic activity from the viewpoint of the poor and the powerless arises from the radical command to love one's neighbor as one's self. Those who are marginalized and whose rights are denied have privileged claims if society is to provide justice for all." (National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Economic Justice for All: Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, Washington, DC: USCC, 1986, #87.)The "preference" or "option" for the poor, then, gives Catholics a certain angle of vision, a way of looking at society that has a bias in favor of the weak and powerless. It is a perspective that examines personal decisions, policies of private and public bodies, and power relationships in terms of their effects on the poor - those who lack the minimum necessities of nutrition, housing, education, and health care.This moral principle is closely tied to the values of human dignity and community. In light of the social nature of the person, Catholics believe that human dignity can only be fully realized in community. A healthy community, in turn, can be achieved only if its members give special attention to those with special needs, to those who are poor and on the margins of society. Just as a family with a handicapped child cannot function in a healthy and mature way unless its members give special attention to that child, so a society cannot function well unless the poor get special attention. And just like the family with a handicapped child, if the members follow this principle, the beneficiaries are not only the handicapped and the needy, but everyone. All members of the family or the society are better off. It follows, then, that the "option for the poor" is an essential part of society's effort to achieve the common good.Remember the “widows, orphans, and aliens.”A necessary element of the common good
18 5. ParticipationFlowing from the principles of dignity and community is the theme of participation. Catholic social teaching emphasizes the belief that all people have a right to participate in the economic, political, and cultural life of society. It is a fundamental demand of justice and a requirement for human dignity that all people be assured a minimum level of participation in the community. Conversely, it is wrong for a person or a group to be excluded unfairly or to be unable to participate or contribute to society. In the words of the U.S. bishops, "The ultimate injustice is for a person or group to be treated actively or abandoned passively as if they were nonmembers of the human race. To treat people this way is effectively to say they simply do not count as human beings." (National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Economic Justice for All: Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, Washington, DC: USCC, 1986, #77.)There are both rights and responsibilities associated with this principle. For example, in the political arena, people have a right to participate in the decisions that affect their lives, but they also have a responsibility to contribute, to take advantage of the opportunities to participate in the political process. One might use this principle to reflect on the current state of politics in the United States. Many people are alienated from the political process and frustrated with a campaign financing system that gives far greater access to wealthy contributors. The principle of participation would suggest that this system is not just. It needs reform. At the same time, this moral principle implies that individual citizens have the duty to use the tools of the democracy, to reform the system, to make it more accountable and responsible to everyone. Thus, there are not only structural and systemic implications of this principle, but also individual and personal implications.The right to participate can also be seriously violated in the economic realm. For example, many individuals and families fall victim to the downward cycle of poverty that is caused by economic factors they are powerless to control. The economic forces of the marketplace do not automatically protect everyone's right to participate. As a result, the poor, the unemployed, the disabled often get left behind.This pattern of exclusion is also evident at the international level. Entire nations are blocked from fully participating in the global economy because they lack the economic and political power to change their disadvantaged position. Some of the poorest nations, for example, are saddled with massive international debt repayments that make it virtually impossible for them to pursue fundamental economic development for their own people.All people have a right to a minimum level of participation in the economic, political, and cultural life of society.
19 6. Economic JusticeThe economy must serve people, not the other way around. People are more important than things; labor is more important than capital.All workers have a right to productive work, to decent wages, to safe working conditions; and they have a right to organize and join unions.People have a right to economic initiative and private property, but these rights have limits. No one is allowed to amass excessive wealth when others lack the basic necessities of life.Work has a special significance in the Catholic tradition, because, as the creation ethic in Genesis teaches, we have a responsibility to carry forward God's creative activity. Work is a primary way in which we do that. When we work, we are carrying out our role as co-creators with God in the ongoing saga of creation. As the U.S. bishops have said, "Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God's creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected--the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to organize and join unions, to private property, and to economic initiative." (National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions (Washington, DC: USCC, 1998), p. 5.)Work is a form of participation that is vital to human development, because it is through work that most people meet their basic material needs and exercise their talents. People who are able and willing to work, but cannot get a job, are deprived of a chance to participate and to contribute to the economy and to the good of society.Catholic encyclical documents have given a great deal of attention to this topic of work and workers rights. This has been an important theme in many of the papal encyclicals that have been issued over the past century, and in 1981 Pope John Paul II issued an entire document on this subject, entitle On Human Work. Pope John Paul emphasized that work has a special dignity because it is performed by the human person. It is a primary way in which the person becomes fully human and participates in society.Workers have a right to participate in the decisions that affect them, and the normal way in which they exercise this right is through collective bargaining. Catholic teaching holds that all workers have a right to form unions as a means of protecting their rights and participating in decisions that affect the workplace. Pope John Paul II not only affirms this right in his encyclical letter, but he also says that unions are an "indispensable" element in the search for social justice. He points out that workers and their unions have basic rights that must be safeguarded, but they also have a duty to promote the common good.Private property is an important right, but this right is not unlimited. It is subject to limits imposed by the common good. This teaching is explained most clearly in Populorum Progressio:The recent Council (Vatican II)reminded us of this: "God intended the earth and all that it contains for the use of every human being and people. Thus, as all men follow justice and unite in charity, created goods should abound for them on a reasnable basis" All other rights whatsoever, including those of property and of free commerce, are to be subordinated to this principle. They should not hinder but on the contrary favor its application. It is a grave and urgent social duty to redirect them to their primary finality."If someone who has the riches of this world sees his brother in need and closes his heart to him, how does the love of God abide in him?." It is well known how strong were the words used by the Fathers of the Church to describe the proper attitude of persons who possess anything towards persons in need. To quote Saint Ambrose: "You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor person. You are handing over to him what is his. For what has been given in common for the use of all, you have arrogated to yourself. The world is given to all, and not only to the rich".That is, private property does not constitute for anyone an absolute and unconditioned right. No one is justified in keeping for his exclusive use what he does not need, when others lack necessities. In a word, "according to the traditional doctrine as found in the Fathers of the Church and the great theologians, the right to property must never be exercised to the detriment of the common good".Populorum Progressio, paraThis is also a good spot to talk about the role of markets and their limits. Below are some selected quotations that summarize the teaching:The Church's teaching opposes collectivist and statist economic approaches. But it also rejects the notion that a free market automatically produces justice.Economic Justice for All, #115There are needs and common goods that cannot be satisfied by the market system. it is the task of the state and of all society to defend them. An idolatry of the market alone cannot do all that should be done.The Hundredth Year, John Paul IIBut it is unfortunate that on these new conditions of society a system has been constructed which considers profit as the key motive for economic progress, competition as the supreme law of economics, and private ownership of the means of production as an absolute right that has no limits and carries no corresponding social obligation. This unchecked liberalism leads to dictatorship rightly denounced by Pius XI as producing "the international imperialism of money". One cannot condemn such abuses too strongly by solemnly recalling once again that the economy is at the service of man.On the Development of Peoples, Paul VIFirst, one may not take as the ultimate criteria in economic life the interests of individuals or organized groups, nor unregulated competition, nor excessive power on the part of the wealthy, nor the vain honor of the nation or its desire for domination, nor anything of this sort. Rather, it is necessary that economic undertaking be governed by justice and charity as the principal laws of social life.Mother and Teacher, John XXIII
20 7. Stewardship of Creation The goods of the earth are gifts. We hold them in trust, as stewards.The church's teaching about environmental responsibility and stewardship of natural resources is rooted in the message of Genesis -- the goods of the earth are gifts from God. We humans are not the ultimate owners of these goods, but rather, the temporary stewards.We are entrusted with the responsibility of caring for these gifts and preserving them for future generations. As the Second Vatican Council stated, "God destined the earth and all it contains for all people and nations so that all created things would be shared fairly by all humankind under the guidance of justice tempered by charity." (Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church and the Modern World, 1965, #69.)How we treat the environment -- the air and water, the woodlands and grasslands, the farm fields and the mineral deposits -- is a measure of our stewardship, a sign of our respect for the Creator. We are accountable to the Creator of the universe for how well we preserve and care for the earth and its creatures.In their statement entitled Renewing the Earth the U.S. bishops describe the kind of attitude that reflects this principle of stewardship. They write, "Dwelling in the presence of God, we begin to experience ourselves as part of creation, as stewards within it, not separate from it. As faithful stewards, fullness of live comes from living responsibly within God's creation." (National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Renewing the Earth, Washington, DC: USCC, 1991, p. 6.)“God destined the earth and all it contains for all people and nations so that all created things would be shared fairly by all humankind under the guidance of justice tempered by charity.” On the Development of Peoples
21 8. The Virtue of Solidarity In today's global village, citizens are increasingly aware of the social and economic problems around the world. Hundreds of millions of children go to bed hungry every night because they live in desperate poverty. Millions more suffer the effects of war, ethnic conflicts, and natural disasters. The disparities between poverty and wealth are so extreme as to be almost overwhelming.In the face of these "signs of the times," people of faith are confronted with a very basic question: "Am I my brother's keeper?" These words from Genesis have always been troubling, and difficult to answer. To what extent are we morally and socially responsible for the fate of others, especially those who are in need? This question is difficult enough when it refers to those who are in one's immediate vicinity. But how does one answer that question when it refers to people a half a world away? Am I supposed to be the "keeper" of my brothers and sisters who live in places I've never seen, who speak language I don't understand, and whose culture is radically foreign to my own?Church teaching answers this question with a resounding "Yes." In their 1997 statement entitled Called to Global Solidarity, the U.S. bishops summed up the Church's teaching on solidarity when they pointed out that American Catholics have a special responsibility. They wrote, "We are members of a universal Church that transcends national boundaries and calls us to live in solidarity and justice with the peoples of the world. We are also citizens of a powerful democracy with enormous influence beyond our borders. As Catholics and Americans we are uniquely called to global solidarity." (National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Called to Global Solidarity, Washington, DC: USCC, 1997, #1.)John Paul II has been the Church's leading voice on behalf of global solidarity. In fact, he has called solidarity a virtue. It is the virtue, he says, by which we demonstrate "a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good ... because we are all really responsible for all." (Pope John Paul II, On Social Concern, 1988, #38.)John Paul may be using a modern word for this virtue, but he goes back to the Bible to explain the foundation for this virtue. He writes, "Sacred Scripture continually speaks to us of an active commitment to our neighbor and demands of us a shared responsibility for all of humanity. This duty is not limited to one's own family, nation or state, but extends progressively to all so no one can consider himself or herself extraneous or indifferent to the lot of another member of the human family." (Pope John Paul II, The Hundredth Year, 1991, #51.)“It is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say, to the good of all ...because we are all really responsible for all.” Pope John Paul II, On Social Concern, 1987
22 Role of GovernmentThe state has a positive moral function. It is an instrument to promote human dignity, protect human rights, and build the common goodSubsidiarityAs small as possibleAs big as necessaryOne important implication of the principles of solidarity and the social nature of the person has to do with Catholic teaching regarding the role of government. This teaching says that, because we are social beings, the state is natural to the person. Therefore, the state has a positive moral function. It is an instrument to promote human dignity, protect human rights, and build the common good. Its purpose is to assist citizens in fulfilling their responsibility to others in society. Since, in a large and complex society these responsibilities cannot adequately be carried out on one-to-one basis, citizens need the help of government in fulfilling these responsibilities and promoting the common good.This does not mean that government should do everything, or that everything done by governments is good. Nor does it imply that public responsibilities should be carried out by a large centralized bureaucracy. Indeed, Catholic social teaching includes the principle of "subsidiarity." This principle includes two important dimensions.First, subsidiarity suggests that the functions of government should be performed at the lowest level possible, as long as they can be performed adequately. Decision-making and problem solving should be dealt with as close as possible to the local level of communities and institutions. This principle assumes that social problems are better understood and better addressed by people who are close to the problems themselves. In short, this principle starts with a bias towards decentralization in social organization, because this will generally result in more efficient and more effective outcomes. It suggests that mediating institutions such as the family, community groups, small businesses, and neighborhood associations should be fostered as a way to promote more effective problem solving and more local control over decision-making.The second dimension of the principle of subsidiarity is equally important and frequently overlooked. This part of the principle places an important limiting condition on the first part. It says that, when the social needs in question cannot adequately be met at the lower level, then it is not only necessary, but imperative that higher levels of government intervene to ensure that rights are protected and the common good is advanced.One shorthand way to summarize the principle of subsidiarity is the phrase, "Small is beautiful, but big when necessary." In other words, start by going to the lowest level possible, but don't hesitate to go to a higher level of government when it is necessary.
23 10. Promotion of Peace Peace is not just the absence of war Catholic teaching has always understood peace as a positive, action-oriented concept. In the words of Pope John Paul II, "Peace is not just the absence of war. It involves mutual respect and confidence between peoples and nations. It involves collaboration and binding agreements. Like a cathedral, peace must be constructed patiently and with unshakable faith." (Pope John Paul II, "Homily at Bagington Airport," Coventry, 2, Origins 12, 1982:55.)This means that in an increasingly interdependent world, it takes a conscious effort to build peace if we hope to avoid war.There is a close relationship in Catholic teaching between peace and justice. Peace is the fruit of justice and is dependent upon right order among human beings. This traditional concept of peace was described by the Second Vatican Council in the following way:Peace is not merely the absence of war. Nor can it be reduced solely to the maintenance of a balance of power between enemies. Nor is it brought about by dictatorship. Instead, it is richly and appropriately called "an enterprise of justice" (Is. 32:17). Peace results from that harmony built into human society by its divine founder and actualized by human beings as they thirst after ever greater justice. (Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church and the Modern World, 1965, #78.)This vision of peace implies that the building up of peace is a task that requires the commitment of individuals and institutions in a variety of social sectors -- political, economic, cultural, military, and legal. The church as an institution and individual Catholics have an important role to play in advancing the goal of peace through each of these social structures and institutions.Peace is not just the absence of war“If you want peace, work for justice.”Pope Paul VI, 1972, World Day of Peace Message
24 Major Themes from Catholic Social Teaching Human dignityCommunityRights and dutiesOption for the poorParticipationEconomic JusticeStewardship of CreationSolidarityRole of GovernmentPromotion of Peace
25 Implications for Catholic Educators Catholic schools, religious education and faith formation programs are vitally important for sharing the substance and values of the Catholic social justice heritage.Just as the social teaching of the Church is integral to Catholic faith, the social justice dimensions of teaching are integral to Catholic education and catechesis. They are an essential part of Catholic identity and formation.Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions U.S. Bishops, 1998
26 Rooted in prayer and worship. Integrate, don’t isolate. “Seven Commandments” for Integrating Catholic Social Teaching into Our FaithRooted in prayer and worship.Integrate, don’t isolate.Content counts – study the documents.Competency really counts.Charity (social service) is not enough.Thou shalt observe, judge, act.Thou shalt have fun!
27 Make sure the teaching is rooted in prayer and worship Make sure the teaching is rooted in prayer and worship. Cultivate a spirituality that is not just private, but also public and social.Catholicism does not call us to abandon the world, but to help shape it. This does not mean leaving worldly tasks and responsibilities, but transforming them.Everyday Christianity: To Hunger and Thirst for Justice U.S. Bishops, November, 1998
28 Integrate, don’t isolate The commitment to human life and dignity, to human rights and solidarity is a calling every Catholic must share. It is not a vocation for a few, but a challenge for every Catholic educator.The values of the Church's social teaching must not be treated as tangential or optional. They must be a core part of teaching and formation.Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions, U.S. Bishops, 1998Jut as the social teaching of the Church is integral to our faith as Catholics, the social justice dimensions of teaching are integral to Catholic faith. They are not fringe, optional, or tangential. They are an essential part of responsibility as disciples. This is not a vocation for a few, but a challenge for every believer.
29 Content counts Study the documents. There is a universal need to be more explicit in teaching the principles of Catholic social thought and helping people apply and act on those principles.Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and DirectionsU.S. Bishops, 1998
30 Competency really counts We strongly urge Catholic to create additional resources and programs that will address the lack of familiarity with Catholic social teaching among many…. Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions U.S. Bishops, 1998
31 Charity (social service) is not enough. There is a need for Catholic educational and catechetical programs not only to continue offering direct service experiences, but also to offer opportunities to work for change in the policies and structures that cause injustice.Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions U.S. Bishops, 1998
32 Thou shalt observe, judge, act Observe the facts; know the realityUse social analysis and moral values to make judgments about the factsPlan a realistic and effective strategy for action
33 Thou shalt have funNo one likes a grim do-gooder!
34 Conclusion Salt and Light for the World “You’re supposed to be the leaven in the loaf, not part of the lump.”
35 Internet Resources on Catholic Social Teaching This PowerPoint presentation can be downloaded at the following web address:
36 Catholic Social Teaching A Key to Catholic Identity
37 Separation of Church and State SocietyCommon GoodThis slide is added here as a resource to use with respect to the issue of the separation of church and state. It normally remains hidden so that it is not part of the standard presentation.Church and State Explanation(based on remarks by Fr. Bryan Hehir)The separation of church and state is a good place to start the discussion; its not a good place to end it. We start by saying that we agree fully with the separation of church and state. Catholic teaching fully supports this concept. It may not have always done so, but it certainly does so in our time and in our nation.Democracy emerged in the 18th century in the French and American revolutions, and the Church, from the 18th century to the middle of the 20th had a real problem with democracy. For example, consider for a moment Pope Gregory XVI. When Gregory was first presented with the notion of freedom os speech, freedom of the press and freedom of conscience, he commented that they were "delerimenta", which essentially means "utter madness". That was an example of how the Church understood democracy in the 19th century. In the 20th century, John Courtney Murray gave a speech in which he said the Church ought to look at the positive dimensions of democracy and enter into dialogue and relate to it. For that he was silenced for ten years.That is the history, and we need to recognize it, but the significant thing is the way the problem of the past has been put aside and resolved in the 20th century beginning with the Second Vatican Council. Due in large part to John Courtney Murray the Council resolved the problem in the Declaration on Religious Liberty. (Pluralism was the problem to which Murray devoted most of his attention.) In that document the Catholic Church makes three significant statements about politics:1. The Church accepts religious pluralism in a society as a given.2. The Church accepts the secularity of the state. We don't expect the state to do the work of the church.3. The only thing the Church asks of the political order is the freedom to function, not favoritism but the freedom to function. The Church wants neither favoritism nor discrimination in the exercise of its public social and religious role.Therefore, we are not excluded from the debate because we are religious. On the other hand, we are not to be given any special treatment because we are religious.The separation of church and state can never become the separation of the church from society. It is of the essence of our political system that the state is not the totality of society. It is of the essence of democracy that the state is only a part of the larger circle which is society. Those of us in the church, therefore, agree with the separation of the church from the state. What we cannot accept is the separation of the church from the society. That would mean a silent church.The responsibility of society is to work for the common good.The responsibility of the state is to preserve "public order":1. public peace2. public morality3. basic justice4. freedomThe Church is a voluntary association with a particular skill -- that of moral discourse.One of the gifts of the Vatican Council was that it helped to shift the question from "church and state" to a deeper, more profound question: the church and the world. This is not a legal or constitutional question but a social and moral question. The Second Vatican Council said that the task of the church in society is to protect the transcendent dignity of the person. The reason the church is interested in the political process is because the church is interested in people. The protection of this dignity is not an extracurricular activity for the church. It is not optional. It is not marginal or accidental. It is at the heart of the church's mission.Therefore, the Second Vatican Council said that Catholics are to enter the political order because of what we believe about the dignity of the human person. The person is not only sacred; the person is also social. The design of the social context and the social system, therefore, can decisively affect whether or not persons will have the opportunity to realize the dignity that is inherent in each of them. It is in the political arena where a society decides how it will treat each and every human person. It is one of the arenas where the fate and future of the human person are determined.Three principles for HOW the Church engages in political action:1. Although the Catholic community and its pastoral leaders have the constitutional right to participate in public policy debates and in the political process generally, there are self‑imposed limits to the way we, as a church do participate. We do not take positions for or against particular parties or individual candidates.2. Catholic voters are expected to "examine the positions of the candidates on the full range of issues as well as their integrity, philosophy and performance." Consistent ethic is the moral framework the bishops use.3. There is a distinction between moral principles and their application in the political order. It is possible to agree on a given moral principle and yet disagree, in good conscience, on the mode of its application.PoliticsStatePublic OrderPublic PeaceBasic RightsPublic Morality