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Catholic Social Teaching Lecture
Transcript of Catholic Social Teaching Lecture
1. Human dignity
3. Rights and
4. Option for the Poor
5. Dignity of Work and
The Rights of Workers
6. Care for Creation
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.
Justice in the World, 1971 Synod
Modern Catholic Social Teaching
1891 Rerum Novarum, Leo XIII
1931 Quadragesimo Anno, Pius XI
1961 Mater et Magistra, John XXIII
1963 Pacem in Terris, John XXIII
1965 Gaudium et Spes, Vatican II
1965 Dignitatis Humanae, Vatican II
1967 Populorum Progressio, Paul VI
1971 Octogesima Adveniens, Paul VI
1971 Justice in the World, Synod of Bishops
1981 Laborem Exercens, John Paul II
1988 Solicitudo Rei Socialis, John Paul II
1991 Centesimus Annus, John Paul II
1995 Evangelium Vitae, John Paul II
2005 Deus Caritas Est, Benedict XVI
2009 Caritas en Veritate, Benedict XVI
2013 Lumen Fidei, Francis
2013 Evangelii Gaudium, Francis
Human life is Sacred. Dignity of person is the foundation of morality
People are more important than things
Every person has equal value and dignity with all other people
Human dignity is inherent or intrinsic, part of being human
Human dignity comes from God and cannot be taken away
The defense of all human life is rted in this principle and reflected in the fifth commandment
Whatever is opposed to life insults human dignity, poisons human society, and dishonors God
The person is Sacred and Social
The family is the central social institution; it must be supported and strengthened
Humans grow and achieve fulfillment in community
Government and other institutions must protect human life and dignity and promote the COMMOM GOOD
Common Good requires
respect for the rights of all people
the social well being and development of the group
peace, which includes security
dignity requires puesuit of the common good by everyone, including the state
Society must be organized on the international level
Dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met
Every person has a fundamental right to life ad right to those things required for human decency
Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities - to one another, to our families, and to the larger society
Every person has the right to life...including basic needs for food, shelter, rest and healthcare; economic rights including employment, education, and equal opportunity; and political and cultural rights, including freedoms, prvacy & religious expression
Individual people and social institutions have responsibilities to others for the sake of the common good
How is our most vulnerable members faring?
Jesus taught to put first the needs of the poor and the vulnerable
Who are the 'Anawin'?
The good of creation should reach everyone
God calls us to work for justice by eliminating sinful inequalities
The option of the poor states that the deprivation and powerlessness of the poor wounds the whole community
The economy must serve people, not the other way around
Work is a form of continuing participation in God's creation
Basic rights of workers must be respected
decent and fair wages
to organize and join unions
to private property
to economic initiative
Respecting these rights promotes an economy that protects human life, defends human rights, and advances the well-being of all.
Economic activity in society is meant to provide for the needs of its members and the entire community, not increase the profit, power, and position of a few.
Individuals have the right to contribute to the common good through work and fair wages.
We are our brothers' and sisters' keepers, wherever they live
We are One family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences
"Loving our neighbor," has global dimensions in an interdependent world.
The call of solidarity means that working for justice includes working with, not just working for, other people.
Breaks down barriers between people
Solidarity helps us see the "other" as our neighbor, on a par with ourselves.
We show our respect for Creation by our stewardship of creation
Care for the earth is a requirement of our faith
We are called to protect people and the planet, living out faith in relationship with all of God's creation.
God created everything for us, not for us to abuse creation but to make it an offering to him
The environmental crisis is a moral challenge that calls us to examine how we use and share the goods of the earth, what we pass on to the future generations, and how we live in hormany with God's creation
All people are created in the image of God and thus, all human life, from conception to natural death, is sacred. Through the mystery of Christ, we become children of the Father and temples of the Holy Spirit. God’s love for all is the foundation of human dignity. The basic dignity that each person possesses comes from God; therefore all forms of discrimination are always wrong. People take precedence over things and structures. Systems are meant to serve people. And people are meant to serve and care for one another. Scripture tells us repeatedly of God’s love for us. We are called to see every person through the eyes of God and to love them because God loved them (and us) first.
"Whatever diminishes life or destroys it is evil."
-Cardinal Joseph Bernardin (1928-1996)
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. (Centesimus Annus, #11)
All human beings, therefore, are ends to be served by the institutions that make up the economy, not means to be exploited for more narrowly defined goals. Human personhood 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. For that is what human beings are: we are created in the image of God (Gn 1:27). (Economic Justice for All, #28)
This teaching rests on one basic principle: individual human beings are the foundation, the cause and the end of every social institution. That is necessarily so, for men are by nature social beings. Mother and Teacher (Mater et Magistra, #219)
Whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. The Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes, #27)
Our faith is rooted in the mystery of the Trinity: the divine relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God’s own essence is a communion of persons. Created in God’s image, we too are social creatures. We are called to live this Trinitarian reality of self-giving love. It is in the community that we are shaped and formed. It is through the community that the dignity of every individual is realized. And it is out of the community that we are sent to love and serve the world.
The more we strive to secure a common good corresponding to the real needs of our neighbors, the more effectively we love them. Every Christian is called to practice this charity...This is the institutional path - we might also call it the political path - of charity, no less excellent and effective than the kind of charity which encounters the neighbor directly. (Caritas en Veritate, #29)
Economic and social policies as well as organization of the work world should be continually evaluated in light of their impact on the strength and stability of family life. The long-range future of this nation is intimately linked with the well-being of families, for the family is the most basic form of human community. (Economic Justice for All, #93)
In order that the right to development may be fulfilled by action: (a) people should not be hindered from attaining development in accordance with their own culture; (b) through mutual cooperation, all peoples should be able to become the principal architects of their own economic and social development. (Justice in the World, #71)
2. Family, Community,
“The Church’s social teaching finds its source in Sacred Scripture, beginning with the Book of Genesis and
especially in the Gospel and the writings of the Apostles. From the beginning, it was part of the Church’s teaching…[It was] developed by the teaching of the Popes on the modern “social question,” beginning with the Encyclical Rerum Novarum.”
-John Paul II
Catholic Social Teaching is deeply rooted in Catholic Tradition.
Catholic Social Teaching is Social.
“No man is an island, entire of itself. Our lives are involved with one another, through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone. The lives of others continually spill over into mine: in what I think, say, do and achieve. And conversely, my life spills over into that of others: for better and for worse.”
Catholic social teaching is an expression of the Church’s ministry of teaching.
“It is the expression of the way that the Church understands society and of her position regarding social structures and changes. The whole of the Church community—priests, religious, and laity—participates in the formulation of this social doctrine.
-Pontifical Council for
Justice and Peace
We are created in God’s image. As such, every person has the right to life. They also have a right to those things which preserve their dignity, or quality of life: food, shelter, health care, education, and meaningful employment. Corresponding to these rights are responsibilities. Because we are created in the image of the Triune God, we must respect the rights of others and care for others according to God’s commandments and example.
We must speak of man's rights. Man has the right to live. He has the right to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services. In consequence, he has the right to be looked after in the event of ill health; disability stemming from his work; widowhood; old age; enforced unemployment; or whenever through no fault of his own he is deprived of the means of livelihood. (Pacem in Terris, #11)
In human society one man's natural right gives rise to a corresponding duty in other men; the duty, that is, of recognizing and respecting that right. Every basic human right draws its authoritative force from the natural law, which confers it and attaches to it its respective duty. Hence, to claim one's rights and ignore one's duties, or only half fulfill them, is like building a house with one hand and tearing it down with the other. (Pacem in Terris, #30)
A link has often been noted between claims to a “right to excess”, and even to transgression and vice, within affluent societies, and the lack of food, drinkable water, basic instruction and elementary health care in areas of the underdeveloped world and on the outskirts of large metropolitan centers. The link consists in this: individual rights, when detached from a framework of duties which grants them their full meaning, can run wild, leading to an escalation of demands which is effectively unlimited and indiscriminate. (Caritas in Veritate, #43)
“The Gospel takes away our right forever, to discriminate between the deserving and the undeserving poor.”
-Dorothy Day (1897-1980)
“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn't as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.”
-Fr. Jean Vanier (b. 1928)
The morality of society is judged by how well our most vulnerable members are faring. Just as a parent gives more care and resources to a sick child, in order that the child might become healthy, so we as Christians are called to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first. Those with the greatest need require the greatest response. In a society marked by the deepening divide between rich and poor, the gospel calls us to radical and self-giving love—to meet the needs of the poor and vulnerable and to oppose the structures that perpetuate poverty and abuse the vulnerable.
Still, when there is question of defending the rights of individuals, the poor and badly off have a claim to especial consideration. The richer class have many ways of shielding themselves, and stand less in need of help from the State; whereas the mass of the poor have no resources of their own to fall back upon, and must chiefly depend upon the assistance of the State. (Rerum Novarum, #37)
In teaching us charity, the Gospel instructs us in the preferential respect due to the poor and the special situation they have in society: the more fortunate should renounce some of their rights so as to place their goods more generously at the service of others. (Octogesima Adveniens, #23)
"He who has the goods of this world and sees his brother in need and closes his heart to him, how does the love of God abide in him?” Everyone knows that the Fathers of the Church laid down the duty of the rich toward the poor in no uncertain terms. As St. Ambrose put it: “You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. You have been appropriating things that are meant to be for the common use of everyone. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich.” (Populorum Progressio, #23)
The obligation to provide justice for all means that the poor have the single most urgent economic claim on the conscience of the nation...The needs of the poor take priority over the desires of the rich; the rights of workers over the maximization of profits; the preservation of the environment over uncontrolled industrial expansion; the production to meet social needs over production for military purposes. (Economic Justice for All, #86 and #94)
“It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”
-Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
Work is about more than making a living; it is a form of participation in the creative work of God. People have a right to decent, meaningful work and fair wages. Workers have the right to organize and join unions, own private property, and to economic initiative. Work should promote the dignity of the worker. Our economy exists to serve people, not vice versa. Our faith calls us to demand justice for all workers and a just economy that serves the life and dignity of all. Likewise, our work contributes to the good life of our brothers and sisters.
The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people.
-Cesar Chavez (1927-1993)
Work is a good thing for man-a good thing for his humanity-because through work man not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also achieves fulfilment as a human being and indeed, in a sense, becomes "more a human being.” (Laborem Exercens, #9)
The obligation to earn one's bread by the sweat of one's brow also presumes the right to do so. A society in which this right is systematically denied, in which economic policies do not allow workers to reach satisfactory levels of employment, cannot be justified from an ethical point of view, nor can that society attain social peace. (Centesimus Annus, #43)
In many cases, poverty results from a violation of the dignity of human work, either because work opportunities are limited (through unemployment or underemployment), or “because a low value is put on work and the rights that flow from it, especially the right to a just wage and to the personal security of the worker and his or her family.” (Caritas in Veritate, #63)
All these rights, together with the need for the workers themselves to secure them, give rise to yet another right: the right of association, that is to form associations for the purpose of defending the vital interests of those employed in the various professions. These associations are called labor or trade unions. (Laborem Exercens, #20)
All people have the right to work, to a chance to develop their qualities and their personalities in the exercise of their professions, to equitable remuneration which will enable them and their families "to lead a worthy life on the material, social, cultural and spiritual level" and to assistance in case of need arising from sickness or age. (Octogesima Adveniens, #14)
We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic and ideological differences. We are our brother’s and sister’s keeper. As Christians, we are as St. Paul reminds us, one body. Love of neighbor has global dimensions in our rapidly shrinking world. At the core of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Peace is more than a lack of conflict. Peace, or in Hebrew Shalom, means literally “right relationship.” The gospel calls us to be peacemakers: that we live in right relationship with others, ourselves, and God. Pope Paul VI taught, “If you want peace, work for justice.” Our love for our entire human family demands that we work for justice and for peace, that we promote God’s shalom in our world.
[Solidarity] is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say, to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all. (Sollicitudo rei Socialis, #38)
The solidarity which binds all men together as members of a common family makes it impossible for wealthy nations to look with indifference upon the hunger, misery and poverty of other nations whose citizens are unable to enjoy even elementary human rights. The nations of the world are becoming more and more dependent on one another and it will not be possible to preserve a lasting peace so long as glaring economic and social imbalances persist. (Mater et Magistra, #157)
To love someone is to desire that person’s good and to take effective steps to secure it. Besides the good of the individual, there is the good that is linked to living in society: the common good. It is the good of “all of us”, made up of individuals, families and intermediate groups who together constitute society. … To desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice and charity. (Caritas in Veritate, #7)
It is good for people to realize that purchasing is always a moral — and not simply economic — act. Hence the consumer has a specific social responsibility, which goes hand-in- hand with the social responsibility of the enterprise. (Caritas in Veritate, #66)
If you choose to enter into other people's suffering, to love, others, you at least have to consent in some way to the possible consequences.
-Ita Ford (1940-1980)
"Every living and healthy religion has a marked idiosyncrasy. Its power consists in its special and surprising message and in the bias which that revelation gives to life.
The vistas it opens and the mysteries it propounds are another world to live in; and another world to live in--whether we expect ever to pass wholly over into it or no--is what we mean by having a religion
Santayana, Reason in Religion
American Catholic Social Teaching
1968 Justice, Latin American Bishops, Medellin
1968 Poverty in the Church, Latin American Bishops, Medellin
1968 Peace, Latin American Bishops, Medellin
1975 This Land Is Home to Me, Bishops of Appalachia
1979 Brothers and Sisters to Us, USCCB
1979 Puebla Documents, Latin American Bishops
1980 Statement on Capital Punishment, USCCB
1983 The Challenge of Peace, USCCB
1984 What We Have Seen and Heard, Black Bishops of the US
1986 Economic Justice for All, USCCB
1991 Renewing the Earth, USCCB
1992 A Matter of the Heart, USCCB
1992 When I call for Help, USCCB
1993 The Harvest of Justice is Sown in Peace, USCCB
1993 Communities of Salt and Light, USCCB
1994 Confronting a Culture of Violence, USCCB
1994 To Live and Die in A Compassionate Way, Canadian Bishops
1995 A Decade After Economic Justice for All, USCCB
1996 A Catholic Framework for Economic Life, USCCB
1996 The Struggle Against Poverty, Canadian Bishops Conference
1997 Called to Global Solidarity, USCCB
1998 Living the Gospel of Life, USCCB
1999 A Jubilee Call for Debt Forgiveness, USCCB
1999 A Good Friday Appeal to End the Death Penalty, USCCB
1999 Everyday Christianity, USCCB
2000 Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration, USCCB
2001 Global Climate Change, USCCB
2001 Resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian Crisis
2001 A Call to Solidarity with Africa
2002 Statement on the Israeli-Palestinian Violence
2002 A Place at the Table
2003 Strangers No Longer
2003 For I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food
2004 Catholics in Political Life
2005 A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death
2007 Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
2009 Respecting the Just Rights of Workers
In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth and set humans as his stewards to care for his creation. Care for God’s creation was God’s fruitful commandment to humanity and a fundamental requirement of our faith. Moreover, creation witnesses to God’s existence. God reveals himself in creation and we see in nature the fingerprints of God. Creation is always an object of praise in Israel’s prayer and the prayers of the early Christians. We are called to honor and protect our planet and its people—to live in relationship with all of God’s creation. At the dawn of creation, God commanded us not only to be fruitful and multiply, but also to use his creation for good.
"In a few decades, the relationship between the environment, resources and conflict may seem almost as obvious as the connection we see today between human rights, democracy and peace."
Wangari Maathai (1940-2011)
The environment is God's gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole. . . Our duties towards the environment are linked to our duties towards the human person, considered in himself and in relation to others. It would be wrong to uphold one set of duties while trampling on the other. (Caritas in Veritate, #48, 51)
Equally worrying is the ecological question which accompanies the problem of consumerism and which is closely connected to it. In his desire to have and to enjoy rather than to be and to grow, man consumes the resources of the earth and his own life in an excessive and disordered way. . . . Man, who discovers his capacity to transform and in a certain sense create the world through his own work, forgets that this is always based on God's prior and original gift of the things that are. Man thinks that he can make arbitrary use of the earth, subjecting it without restraint to his will, as though it did not have its own requisites and a prior God-given purpose, which man can indeed develop but must not betray. Instead of carrying out his role as a co-operator with God in the work of creation, man sets himself up in place of God and thus ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature, which is more tyrannized than governed by him. (Centesimus Annus, #37).
“The dominion granted to man by the Creator is not an absolute power, nor can one speak of a freedom to ‘use and misuse’, or to dispose of things as one pleases. The limitations imposed from the beginning by the creator himself…shows clearly enough that, when it comes to the natural world, we are subject not only to biological laws but also to moral ones, which cannot be violated with impunity.” (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 34)
At its core, the environmental crisis is a moral challenge. It calls us to examine how we use and share the goods of the earth, what we pass on to future generations, and how we live in harmony with God’s creation.” (Renewing the Earth, 1)
“At its core, global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms, nor
about partisan advantage or interest group pressures. It is about the future of God's creation and the one human family. It is about protecting both "the human environment" and the natural environment. It is about our human stewardship of God's creation and our responsibility to those who come after us.” (Global Climate Change, Intro)
Corrects Long Term
Problems in Communities
Helps Individuals Meet
Serve in a Soup Kitchen
Sponsor a Refugee
Mentor and Tutor
Donate Food, Clothing, or Money
Participate in Community Organizing
Charity and justice have been called the two feet of
Catholic social teaching. Charity meets the immediate
needs of persons and families. It treats the symptoms of
social problems. Charity calls forth a generous response
from individuals and responds to particular situations.
Justice changes social structures that attack human dignity,
oppress people, and contribute to poverty. It focuses on
the rights of people, addresses underlying social causes,
and works for long term social change. Pope Benedict
XVI expresses it in this way, “The church cannot neglect
the service of charity anymore than she can neglect the
sacraments and the word. Charity must animate the entire
lives of the lay faithful and therefore also their political
activity, lived as ‘social charity.’”
Mark 12: 38-44
I am firmly convinced that poverty—this sub-human condition in which the majority of humanity lives today—is more than a social issue. Poverty poses a major challenge to every Christian conscience and therefore to theology as well...Our context today is characterized by a glaring disparity between the rich and the poor. No serious Christian can quietly ignore this situation. It is no longer possible for someone to say, “Well, I didn’t know” about the suffering of the poor. Poverty has a visibility today that it did not have in the past. The faces of the poor must now be confronted. And we also understand the causes of poverty and the conditions that perpetuate it. There was a time when poverty was considered to be an unavoidable fate, but such a view is no longer possible or responsible. Now we know that poverty is not simply a misfortune; it is an injustice. Of course, there always remains the practical question: what must we do in order to abolish poverty? Theology does not pretend to have all the technical solutions to poverty, but it reminds us never to forget the poor and also that God is at stake in our response to poverty. An active concern for the poor is not only an obligation for those who feel a political vocation; all Christians must take the Gospel message of justice and equality seriously.
-Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez, OP, Remembering the Poor: An Interview with America Magazine
We will explore each of these teachings and their justice issues more closely. We will evaluate the differences between charity and justice and how to do charity while thinking about justice and long-term effects.