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Moral Life in Christ Chapter Sixteen
Transcript of Moral Life in Christ Chapter Sixteen
Five Truths Continued
The Church has always taught that economic systems must work to serve the common good.
We can serve the common good by using our property in appropriate ways.
how to relate?
The Bible provides a foundation for how we are to relate to the material world.
We can discern five preliminary truths from the Genesis creation stories.
1. Humans are superior to all other creations.
2. The purpose of the world is to serve us.
3. Our dominion involves protecting and
developing the material world.
4. Created goods exist for the good of all.
5. Our dominion is linked to our moral obli-
gations regarding the use of these goods.
The right to enjoy the goods of this world implies the right to personal, private property.
Instead, stewardship tells us that although we have a right to private property, this right is secondary to the social function of property (that created goods exist for all people).
The rise of industrialization in the late 19th and early 20th-centuries lead to serious social problems.
Ecology involves pro-tecting the "house" (oikos in Greek), or environment in which human life develops.
It also means that we may never abuse animal or plant life, nor may we abuse natural resources.
The 7th & 10th
As Catholics, we ease this tension with the concept of stewardship. This concept reminds us that we do not have an absolute right to use created goods.
the 7th commandment
sins against property
the right to property
It includes having respect for all animal and plant life that God created.
Christians are called to take active roles in social and public life. Any form of radical individualism that ignores one's commitment to the broader social sphere is to be rejected.
God created the world and gave human beings dominion over it. We are the stewards of creation, and creation exists to serve us and our needs.
vs. social function
the 10th commandment
The right to property is founded on human nature; specifically, the capacities for reason and freedom.
1. Reason: Humans are able to anticipate the
future. Property affords us security.
2. Freedom: Humans are able to determine their
destinies. Property allows us the means to do so.
the social function takes precedence!
At this point, a question arises: namely, how do we reconcile private property with the social function of property (the fact that created goods exist for all people)?
Pope Leo XIII responded to these problems with the 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum, or Revolutionary Change.
Wealthier nations have an obligation to reduce excessive social and economic inequalities.
The 7th commandment states:
"You shall not steal."
In other words, you have a right to own personal property.
There are several ways of violating the 7th commandment:
1. Theft, or taking someone's property against
his or her wishes.
2. Destruction of property.
3. Charging excessively for goods or services.
4. Failing to pay back a debt owed.
The 10th commandment states:
"You shall not covet."
To covet is to sinfully desire another person's goods.
sins of desire
There are three main ways in which we can violate the 10th commandment:
1. Greed: The desire for earthly goods
2. Avarice: A desire for riches that leads
one to use money to control others.
3. Envy: Unhappiness over the good
fortunes of others.
Poverty of Spirit
The "cure" for these sins is to voluntarily embrace a poverty of spirit. This involves detaching yourself from an abundance of worldly goods, or accepting destitution out of love for God.
Justice demands that we make restitution, or reparation for anything we've ever stolen, or any property we've ever damaged.
The Church offers its social doctrine because human beings have dignity, and they are social by nature. Unjust economic systems can threaten this dignity, so the Church must defend it.
Please do the following study questions:
1-3, 5, 8, 12-13, 15-16 &
P.E. 2 & 4
Blessed Pope JPII
Pope Benedict XVI on the Environment