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Social Justice

Social Justice

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Social Justice

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  1. Social Justice • Institute for Leadership in Ministry 2011 • February 23: FOUNDATIONS • March 2: PRINCIPLES • March 16: APPLICATIONS • Kristin Heyer • Associate Professor, Religious Studies • Santa Clara University

  2. Social Justice: FOUNDATIONS Ecclesiology: • What is the relationship of the church to the wider world according to a Catholic understanding? Anthropology: • What vision of the person grounds the Catholic social tradition? Frameworks: Catholic understandings of justice and rights

  3. Charity and Justice • When I feed the poor they call me a saint; when I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist. -Brazilian Archbishop Dom Helder Cámara • While the words and example of Jesus on earth require individual works of mercy and acts of charity, they also require wider-scale action in pursuit of peace and justice. • We are called to be both “Moses” and “the Good Samaritan.”

  4. What has Jerusalem to say to Athens? • Contemporary Catholic Social Thought (CST) charts course between “nothing” (sectarian withdrawal) and “everything” (cooptation, theocracy) • Delicate balance of “depoliticized engagement” • “in the world but not of the world”

  5. How did we get here? • Impact of Second Vatican Council 1962-1965 • Significant legacy for church’s social mission • Gaudium et spes • Dignitatis humanae

  6. Gaudium et spes • “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World” (Joy and Hope) • The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community composed of men. United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father and they have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every man. That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with mankind and its history by the deepest of bonds. (no. 1)

  7. Shift away from Sacred-Secular Split • Gaudium et spes exemplifies this shift • Shift to perceiving element of sacred within the secular/temporal and political realms • The Council can provide no more eloquent proof of its solidarity with the entire human family with which it is bound up, as well as its respect and love for that family, than by engaging with it in conversation about these various problems. (no. 3)

  8. Church-World Stance Shifts • Shift from church’s previous defensive, reactionary to open stance toward the world that takes serious the struggles of the marginalized and addresses structural change • “social question” becomes universalized

  9. Church’s Social Mission • GS presents the human person as the bond between the church and the world, and the task of the church as safeguarding the dignity of the person (no. 76). • church’s social teaching was bolstered with “ecclesiological grounding” - its social teaching no longer a narrow category within moral theology, but rather a means of fulfilling the church’s very mission.

  10. “Citizens of Two Cities” • Disciples and citizens: “in the world but not of the world” • Between cooptation and withdrawal • Rejects partisanship and “otherworldliess” • delicate balance: church is called to political engagement to protect the human dignity without conflating the Catholic faith with particular or partisan political systems

  11. Depoliticized Engagement • indirect role for the church’s engagement in the political order • the alternatives are equally unacceptable: apoliticized church erodes the transcendence of the gospel a church in retreat from human affairs betrays the incarnational dimension of Christian faith Method: “confident modesty,” church as teacher and learner, interpreting “signs of the times,” (1891-2009)

  12. Dignitatis humanae (DH) • “Declaration on Religious Liberty” 1965 • landmark development in church teaching on religious liberty and in terms of the differentiation and proper relation of church and state

  13. First Amendment (U.S. Constitution) • Church/state institutional separation and free exercise • Religious bodies receive neither favoritism nor discrimination • 1st A: protects public theology as “politics of persuasion,” not coercion • 1st A = political, therefore neutral on value of different religious doctrines

  14. Implications of church’s affirmation of Religious Liberty • Implicitly rejected here is the outmoded notion that “religion is a purely private affair” or that “the Church belongs in the sacristy.” Religion is relevant to the life and action of society. Therefore religious freedom includes the right to point out this social relevance of religious belief. • John Courtney Murray, S.J. on Dignitatis humanae

  15. (Post-Vatican II): Action for Justice: Central to Gospel and Church’s Mission Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of preaching the gospel, or, in other words, of the church’s mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive structure. -1971 Synod of Bishops, Justitia in mundo, no. 6

  16. The mission of preaching the Gospel dictates at the present time that we should dedicate ourselves to the liberation of people even in their present existence in this world. For unless the Christian message of love and justice shows its effectiveness through action in the cause of justice in the world, it will only with difficulty gain credibility with the people of our times. (no. 35)

  17. Catholic Vision of the Human Person • Genesis 1:1-31 • “in God’s image God created them, male and female God created them.” • Humans as created in imago Dei (image of God) • Inherently sacred, worthy • Inherently social Created in image of Trinitarian God - to be a person is to be in relationship

  18. Human Dignity  Human Rights Human rights give shape & substance to the idea of human dignity Human dignity grounds human rights : reciprocal relationship Human rights provide societal framework

  19. Range of Rights in CST civil and political rights (political-legal) social and economic rights (socio-economic) “These fundamental personal rights—civil and political as well as social and economic—state the minimum conditions for social institutions that respect human dignity, social solidarity, and justice.” - “Economic Justice for All,” (no. 80)

  20. United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Examples: article 12, 25, 23, 18

  21. Justice in Western Context (U.S.) Images and understandings of western justice

  22. Biblical Justice • Creative • Liberating, vindicating • Relational • Care for Anawim • shalom

  23. Justice in Catholic Social Teaching • contributive/legal; commutative; distributive; social • “Basic justice demands the establishment of minimal levels of participation in the life of the human community for all persons. The ultimate injustice is for a person or group to be treated actively or abandoned passively as if they were nonmembers of the human race. To treat people this way is effectively to say that they simply do not count as human beings.” • (U.S. Bishops, “Economic Justice for All,”no. 77)

  24. Catholic Social Teaching: Encyclicals • 1891Rerum novarumLeo XIII1931Quadragesimo annoPius XI1961Mater et magistra John XXIII1963Peace on EarthJohn XXIII1965Church in the Modern WorldVatican II1967The Development of PeoplesPaul VI1971A Call to ActionPaul VI1971Justice in the WorldSynod of Bishops1979Redeemer of HumanityJohn Paul II1981On Human WorkJohn Paul II1988On Social ConcernJohn Paul II1991The One Hundredth YearJohn Paul II1995The Gospel of LifeJohn Paul II • 2005 God is Love Benedict XVI • 2009 Charity in Truth Benedict XVI

  25. Social Justice: PRINCIPLES • Recall foundation of Catholic anthropology: • Vision of person as sacred and social • Yields CST themes • Life and dignity of human person • Common good • Option for poor • Dignity of work/rights of workers • Solidarity • Care for God’s Creation

  26. Catholic Social Teaching: key themes • Life and Dignity of the Human Person • Every human being is created in the image of God and therefore is invaluable and worthy of respect as a member of the human family

  27. Common Good • Call to family, community and participation • Common good: those conditions necessary for the flourishing of all members of a given community • Not the same as a utilitarian “greatest good for the greatest number”

  28. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable • Matthew 25: 31-46 • Biblical justice is measured by a society’s treatment of the most vulnerable: the widow, the orphan, the sojourner. • The prime purpose of a preferential option for poor is to enable them to become active participants in the life of society—to enable all persons to share in the common good.

  29. Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers • Matthew 20:1-16 • The economy must serve people, and not the other way around. • If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected—rights to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to organize and join unions, to private property, and to economic initiative. -U.S. Catholic Bishops

  30. Solidarity • A firm and persevering commitment to commit ourselves to the common good on every level. • “We really all are responsible for all.” • Pope John Paul II

  31. Greg Boyle, S.J.Founder/Director, Homeboy Industries • Create a community of kinship such that God might recognize it. • Jesus wasn’t a man for others, he was one with others. • “Our problem is that we've forgotten that we belong to each other.” • Mother Theresa

  32. Care for God’s Creation Stewardship: the earth, created by God, has been entrusted to us for our care not just our own benefit. Humans are part and parcel of the created order, not suspended over and above it. CST affirms the “universal purpose of created goods”– God’s creation is intended for good of all humans. Solidarity in TIME not just solidarity in space.

  33. Sin in Christian thought • Sin: fact act orientation • Sins of omission: Failure to bother to Love. • biblical examples • Walter Rauschenbusch, social gospel movement

  34. Social Sin • Social sin: embodiment of multiple sinful choices, structures of evil that surround us and in which we take part • 1 both ways in which our personal sins become embodied in unjust social structures (our complicity in sweatshop conditions as consumers) • 2 and the ways those same structures make it harder to resist the temptation to sin (air we breathe tainted by acceptable injustices—racism, sexism, homophobia)

  35. Engaging the Signs of Our Times Social Justice initiatives via -Catholic charities and direct aid -Catholic political advocacy (USCCB, NEWTORK Catholic Social Justice Lobby, Pax Christi USA, others) -CCHD-funded/Catholic-based community organizing -private sector: socially responsible investing and shareholder advocacy (religious orders)

  36. CST and Signs of our Times • Small Group Discussions: • 1. death penalty/capital punishment • 2. environmental racism • 3. liturgical practice and CST: marriage • 4. scripture, justice and international trade • 5. the working poor • 6. 21st century slavery

  37. Assignment • Note: You may select one essay question from among the following options. Responses should be 3-5 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font, 1” margins minimum. I prefer hard copies; please submit your completed assignments to ILM staff who can then send them to me as a set. Thank you for the conversation, and blessings upon your ministries and journeys. KEH

  38. 1. Pierce Hunsinger has been caught, for the third time, selling narcotics and is facing time in prison. He argues that selling drugs is his best chance at a better life for his family. With only a high school education as well as ex-felon status, he has had difficulty finding a job that keeps his wife and two children above the poverty line. He awaits his sentencing hearing. What would different responses to Pierce’s situation look like from the perspectives of western and biblical justice?  • 2. Discuss the proper role of religion in public life according to post-Vatican II Catholic social thought and Massaro’s Living Justice. What changes took place at the Second Vatican Council, and how would you characterize the balance Catholicism seeks to strike? What is your own impression of the relationship of the Church to political issues today in light of this ideal? • 3. What might it mean to reimagine a ministry in which you are currently involved (or have been involved) in light of Catholic social teaching? (baptism, confirmation, anointing of the sick, marriage preparation, reconciliation, youth ministry) Be sure to concretely identify several changes and how they reflect different principles or commitments of Catholic social thought. (E.g., describe how you might transform a youth group food drive to incorporate both charity and justice dimensions, more fully affirm human dignity, and attend to sustainability).

  39. 4. Your pastor has asked you to write a column for a special extended edition of the parish newsletter on why issues of social justice should matter to faithful Catholics. Pick one among the following topics and write your essay with parishioners as your audience: • a.) Why should Catholics be concerned about environmental issues (our energy consumption/“carbon footprint,” where our waste is stored, the environmental impact of industries, where our food comes from)? • b.) Why is the Catholic Church actively involved in immigration reform efforts? • c.) In what ways are we called to celebrate and promote life amid our broken world? To what concrete ministries of charity and justice does this commitment call our community?

  40. Justice and Peace PrayerBy: Jane Deren • God of Justice and Peace,Mold our consciences according to justice,And shape our hearts according to peace,That we may recognize the talents that you have given usTo secure the rights of the poor, the oppressed, the sick and the marginalized.God, we are Your children.Grant us the courage and strengthTo work for justice,And in this way,Live out our call to be peacemakers.