Catholic Social Justice and Its Champions


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While some people have begun to act, we need everyone, an "all hands on deck" philosophy, with every voice joining a chorus of those clamoring for justice. Our pope calls us all not only to advocate for justice but also to roll up our sleeves and do the work. We must hold ourselves accountable to and for the least among us, the poorest and most vulnerable. While some of our champions have gone to their eternal reward, our world remains a "work in progress" with people who need us to recognize them and to mitigate their pain, to find ways to reach out to them in love and friendship.

We can make a difference locally, nationally and internationally if we are guided by a faith that puts God's word above any other. That's the contradiction of Christianity: Faith shows a face of meekness and love while proclaiming a fierce and radical worldview. It's a contradiction that too often gets overlooked by the people snoozing in the pews on Sunday while Father So-and-So or Deacon Whoever talks about those nice stories from the Bible.

The Gospel energizes some people, frightens a few and generally makes a whole bunch of others very, very uncomfortable.


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It goes beyond a few words from the pulpit on a Sunday morning. It's working a food pantry or homeless shelter. It's protesting war. Or griping about corporations more interested in creating stockholder wealth than good jobs and a living wage.

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It's raising voice for life issues such as abortion, capital punishment and euthanasia. It's advocating for a viable and just immigration policy that doesn't break up families. Need an example? In late May, the U. Justice Department announced that Dylann Roof, the young South Carolina racist accused of slaughtering nine people during a Bible discussion at a predominately African-American church, will face the death penalty.

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Many Americans, including Catholics, still support the death penalty. Yet, Pope Francis, citing evolving Catholic social teaching and echoing other popes and bishops, has called for abolishing capital punishment. The crime Roof is accused of is indeed a heinous one. But adding one more death to nine is senseless.

This is the prophetic voice of the church.

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Not just about capital punishment, but also about the poor, the marginalized and many of life's rampant injustices. It's a voice too many Catholics don't like to hear, let alone heed. Nor is the contradiction truly a contradiction: A faith that proclaims love will challenge injustice. Preaching about Catholic social teaching is frequently unwelcome.

There's very little worse for a homilist than to stand at the door of the church following Mass and have parishioners shake your hand and tell you how much they just "loooooved" your homily about Catholic social justice. More than once I've wanted to scream, "If you loved it, you weren't paying attention.

Catholic Social Teaching (part 1 of 3)

It was supposed to make you squirm! Click the links below to watch videos of how different communities are practicing the core principles of Catholic social teaching that guide our work. Downloadable study and discussion programmes on each principle can also be found on these pages. For a comprehensive guide to the full scope Catholic social doctrine, go to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church published in by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, an office of the Holy See.

Yet even supposing that everyone should finally receive all that is due him, the widest field for charity will always remain open. For justice alone can, if faithfully observed, remove the causes of social conflict but can never bring about union of minds and hearts. Furthermore, while there are just differences between people, their equal dignity as persons demands that we strive for fairer and more humane conditions.

Excessive economic and social disparity between individuals and peoples of the one human race is a source of scandal and militates against social justice, equity, human dignity, as well as social and international peace. Their obligations stem from a brotherhood that is at once human and supernatural, and take on a threefold aspect: the duty of human solidarity—the aid that the rich nations must give to developing countries; the duty of social justice—the rectification of inequitable trade relations between powerful nations and weak nations; the duty of universal charity—the effort to bring about a world that is more human towards all men, where all will be able to give and receive, without one group making progress at the expense of the other.


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  • Without abolishing the competitive market, it should be kept within the limits which make it just and moral, and therefore human. In trade between developed and underdeveloped economies, conditions are too disparate and the degrees of genuine freedom available too unequal.

    A champion of justice and peace

    In order that international trade be human and moral, social justice requires that it restore to the participants a certain equality of opportunity. Economic Justice for All , U.

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    Catholic Bishops, Commutative justice calls for fundamental fairness in all agreements and exchanges between individuals or private social groups. It demands respect for the equal human dignity of all persons in economic transactions, contracts, or promises. For example, workers owe their employers diligent work in exchange for their wages. Employers are obligated to treat their employees as persons, paying them fair wages in exchange for the work done and establishing conditions and patterns of work that are truly human.

    Distributive justice requires that the allocation of income, wealth, and power in society be evaluated in light of its effects on persons whose basic material needs are unmet. Minimum material resources are an absolute necessity for human life.

    Catholic Social Justice and Its Champions Catholic Social Justice and Its Champions
    Catholic Social Justice and Its Champions Catholic Social Justice and Its Champions
    Catholic Social Justice and Its Champions Catholic Social Justice and Its Champions
    Catholic Social Justice and Its Champions Catholic Social Justice and Its Champions
    Catholic Social Justice and Its Champions Catholic Social Justice and Its Champions

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