Thursday, 24 October 2019

Our Building Blocks for Justice

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The Catholic Church has a history of social teaching that goes back centuries and provides a compelling challenge for living responsibly and building a just society. Modern Catholic Social Teaching, rooted in Scripture and articulated through a tradition of written documents, has evolved over time in response to the challenges of the day. 
The following are several of the key themes that are at the heart of our Catholic social tradition.
Life and Dignity of the Human Person
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. This belief is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.
Call to Family, Community, and Participation
The person is not only sacred but also social. How we organize our society in economics and politics, in law and policy directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. Marriage and the family are the central social institutions that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined. We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially poor and vulnerable people.
Rights and Responsibilities
The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a 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.
Preferential Option for the Poor
A basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition instructs us to put the needs of poor and vulnerable people first.
The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
The economy must serve people, not the other way around. 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 the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.
We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic and ideological differences. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that “if you want peace, work for justice.” The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.
Care for God’s Creation
We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is a requirement of the Catholic faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored.

Welcome Back to a New School Year

Micah asks the question ‘With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?  I think it’s a question we ask ourselves too because we often don’t feel worthy to come before the Lord.  We think we aren’t good enough to actually be loved by God. But in the reading we heard from Micah it says: He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what the Lord requires of you is to act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

This is our 3 year theme. 

Act Justly, Love Mercy
and Walk Humbly with your God.

This years' focus is on acting justly. 

But what does that mean really??
Well, everyone wants justice — equality, fairness, rightness… but life isn’t fair. 
Hard workers lose their jobs;
Drunk drivers kill innocent people;
Powerful people manipulate the system;
Cheaters lurk everywhere. 
So how do we act justly??
How do we seek justice?  
These familiar words help to explain what acting justly means:

Justice is Impartial. As disciples of Jesus, acting justly means making fair decisions in our business and personal lives. We do not to show favoritism to beautiful, “important,” or rich people.  We treat everyone the same whether they are well dressed or homeless. God stamped His image on every human being and we acknowledge that truth when I treat all people with dignity.

Justice is Accurate. Truthful living means we are honest, we don’t lie about others, we refuse to exaggerate to make ourselves look better than our actions prove we really are.

Justice is Lawful. God commands us to obey both the rules of the land and of the road, and to respect everyone in authority, regardless of whether or not I agree with them politically.

Justice is Righteous. Scripture provides our moral standard; it defines right and wrong. The words and actions of a person of integrity align with God’s truth. He or she does what is right even when no one is watching — even when it takes more time or costs more money.

Acting justly requires action, not mere talk. Speaking about injustice — abuse, human trafficking, displaced people, bullying — may make us appear caring, but words alone just won’t do it.  Acting justly is never separated from acts of love and mercy.  

And the idea that justice is for just us is not acceptable! It is for everyone. If we have an expectation that we should be treated justly everyday then we must expect everyone to be treated with fairness. And we have to be part of that.  We must treat others fairly, with justice. 

So let’s begin this year well and act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. 
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