I am away of vacation and so I thought for a couple weekends I would address, once again, some basics of the moral and Catholic Social Teachings. I am doing so in response to suggestions of some parishioners.
As you know these teachings are presently hanging in banner form in our worship space. I write these articles with the help of our Church’s document entitled the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World and an article from the National Catholic Report by Jessie Bazan.
Please continue to pray and act for peace in our world!
In peace and courage,
SOME BASICS OF CATHOLIC MORAL and SOCIAL TEACHING
The dignity of work and the rights of workers - Concerns about working conditions prompted Pope Leo XIII to write Rerum Novarum in the late 19th century, the first formal social teaching document from the Catholic Church. A Catholic theology of work understands that people work to provide basic needs for themselves and their families. Work is also a primary way to discover our God-given abilities. In his social encyclical celebrating the 100th anniversary of Rerum Novarum, Pope John Paul II writes that work is the human response to God’s gift. As such, the church calls employers to honor laborers with just wages and opportunities to take on new responsibilities. Further, Catholic social teaching favors labor unions to work communally for justice in the workplace and deems unemployment an evil (Laborem Exercens, On Human Work).
Solidarity - Jesus preaches solidarity in his Sermon on the Mount when the Son of God tells the disciples he is the hungry, the thirsty, and the naked. Solidarity begins with an encounter. People practicing solidarity understand that all of humanity is part of one family “whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences may be” (USCCB). The practice of solidarity demands that we tend to the needs of all individuals, especially the poor and vulnerable. As the saying goes, when one hurts, we all hurt. Pope John XXIII put solidarity in a more global context, too, reminding people that countries depend on each other to prosper (Pacem in Terris).
Care for God’s creation - The world and all its creatures are gifts from God the Creator. Mountains and hills, seas and rivers, beasts wild and tame all bless the Lord, rejoices the prophet Daniel (3:75–81). Catholic social teaching invites us to experience the world through a sacramental lens, finding God in the rustling winds, chirping birds, and the entire natural world. It also laments environmental degradation. The church calls us to be good stewards of the earth’s resources. Pope Francis raised awareness of the environment in Laudato Si’, the most recent social encyclical. The pope lays out a vision of unity and promise when it comes to caring for our common home, praying, “May our struggles and concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope.”
Make this be your year to commit to Catholic social teaching. Start with one or two concrete ways you can honor human dignity and better the common good. Encourage your neighbors to do the same. Together we will bring forth the kingdom of God one step at a time.
It is important that all of us move these teaching to reality. Perhaps starting with one or two concrete ways
Sunday February 7, 2021