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  1. Catholic teachings on Social Action

  2. Jesus challenge of his Followers We are sent … • To preach the Gospel to every person • As a Church, we are to continue the presence of Christ to all of history. • We are sent to bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and set free the oppressed. • Sent to live faithfully for the Kingdom of God.

  3. St. Ambrose • The more wealth you have, the more you wish to acquire; and no matter how many new items you get, you always believe that you are lacking something else. Profit whets the appetite of the avaricious man, and never appeases it. Covetousness increases by leaps and bounds: the higher one climbs, the keener becomes one’s desire to climb even higher.

  4. St. Basil the Great • The man who snatches the clothes from another is called a thief. And does he who does not clothe the naked, when he can do so, deserve any other name? The bread you hold back belongs to the hungry, the coat that you hoard in your cupboard belongs to the naked. The shoe that is gathering mildew in your home belongs to the unshod; the money you have hoarded belongs to the poverty stricken. Thus, you are oppressing as many people as you could have helped with your possessions.

  5. Christian Service Acts of Charity Works of Justice Goal: To meet people’s immediate needs Focus: Is on the consequences (on people) of unjust circumstances and natural disasters Confront: individuals in need Attitude: mostly concerned about what people need right now Examples: Mother Teresa, Salvation Army Goal: to bring about changes in structures and organizations of society Focus: on causes of unjust circumstances Confront: institutions Question: Why does this situation exist? Attitude: society needs fundamental change Examples: Pope John Paul II, Development and Peace

  6. The Problem Far too many Catholics are unfamiliar with the basic content of Catholic social teaching. More fundamentally, many Catholics do not adequately understand that the social mission of the Church is an essential part of Catholic faith. This poses a serious challenge for all Catholics, since it weakens our capacity to be a Church that is true to the demands of the Gospel. We need to do more to share the social mission and message of our Church. Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions - U.S. Bishops, 1998

  7. A Key to Catholic Identity The central message is simple: our faith is profoundly social. We cannot be called truly “Catholic” unless we hear and heed the Church's call to serve those in need and work for justice and peace. Communities of Salt and Light, U.S. Bishops, 1993

  8. Group/Individual Work • Your group will be assigned one of the Catholic Social Teaching. • In your group - • SUMMARIZE the principle into 1 or 2 sentences. • IDENTIFY ways we can live these principles or agencies that help people in need through Acts of Charity and Works of Justice. (2 for Each)

  9. Keys to Catholic Social Teaching Human Dignity • Belief in the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all Catholic social teaching. Human life is sacred, and the dignity of the human person is the starting point for a moral vision for society. • The principle of human dignity is grounded in the idea that the person is made in the image of God. The person is the clearest reflection of God among us. We are required to honor the human person, to give priority to the person. • What are some ways we can uphold the dignity of all humans?

  10. Keys to Catholic Social Teaching Community and the Common Good • In a culture driven by excessive individualism, our tradition proclaims that the person is not only sacred but also social. Human dignity can only be realized and protected in the context of relationships with the wider society. • 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. The obligation to "love our neighbor" has an individual dimension, but it also requires a broader social commitment. Everyone has a responsibility to contribute to the good of the whole society, to the common good. • What are some ways we can help the common good of our community?

  11. Keys to Catholic Social Teaching Rights and Responsibilities • Human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency - starting with food, shelter and clothing, employment, health care, and education. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities -- to one another, to our families, and to the larger society. • What are some ways we can uphold the rights and responsibilities of all humans?

  12. Keys to Catholic Social Teaching Option for the Poor and Vulnerable • A basic moral test of society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. The poor have the most urgent moral claim on the conscience of the nation. • The option for the poor is a perspective that examines personal decisions, policies of private and public institutions, and economic relationships in terms of their effects on the poor - those who lack the minimum necessities of nutrition, housing, education, and health care. Those who are marginalized and whose rights are denied have privileged claims if society is to provide justice for all. • The obligation to evaluate social and economic activity from the viewpoint of the poor and the powerless arises from the radical command to love one's neighbor as one's self. • The option for the poor is an essential part of society's effort to achieve the common good. A healthy community can be achieved only if its members give special attention to those with special needs, to those who are poor and on the margins of society. • What are some ways we can help the poor and the vulnerable?

  13. Keys to Catholic Social Teaching Participation • All people have a right to participate in the economic, political, and cultural life of society. It is a fundamental demand of justice and a requirement for human dignity that all people be assured a minimum level of participation in the community. • It is wrong for a person or a group to be excluded unfairly or to be unable to participate in society. In the words of the U.S. bishops, "The ultimate injustice is for a person or group to be treated actively or abandoned passively as if they were non- members of the human race. To treat people this way is effectively to say they simply do not count as human beings." • What are some ways we can uphold that all humans have a chance to participate in the life of society?

  14. Keys to Catholic Social Teaching Dignity of Work/Rights of Workers • The economy must serve people, not the other way around. All workers have a right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, and to safe working conditions. They also have a fundamental right to organize and join unions. • People have a right to economic initiative and private property, but these rights have limits. No one is allowed to amass excessive wealth when others lack the basic necessities of life. • What are some ways we can uphold the dignity of work and rights of all workers?

  15. Keys to Catholic Social Teaching Stewardship of Creation • Catholic tradition insists that we show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. The goods of the earth are gifts from God, intended for the benefit of all. • We humans are not the ultimate owners of these goods, but rather, the temporary stewards. We are entrusted with the responsibility of caring for these gifts and preserving them for future generations. • What are some ways we can stewards of the earth?

  16. Keys to Catholic Social Teaching Global Solidarity • Catholic social teaching proclaims that we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers, wherever they live. We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. Solidarity means that "loving our neighbor" has global dimensions in an interdependent world. • John Paul II has called solidarity a virtue. It is the virtue, he says, by which we demonstrate "a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good ... because we are all really responsible for all." • What are some ways we can create global solidarity?

  17. Keys to Catholic Social Teaching Constructive Role for Government • Because we are social beings, the state is natural to the person. Therefore, the state has a positive moral function. It is an instrument to promote human dignity, protect human rights, and build the common good. • One of the key functions of government is to assist citizens in fulfilling their responsibility to others in society. Since, in a large and complex society these responsibilities cannot adequately be carried out on a one-to-one basis, citizens need the help of government in fulfilling these responsibilities and promoting the common good. • According to the principle of subsidiarity, the functions of government should be performed at the lowest level possible, as long as they can be performed adequately. If they cannot, then a higher level of government should intervene to provide help. • What are some ways you can support the role of our government?

  18. Keys to Catholic Social Teaching Promotion of Peace • Catholic teaching promotes peace as a positive, action-oriented concept. In the words of Pope John Paul II, "Peace is not just the absence of war. It involves mutual respect and confidence between peoples and nations. It involves collaboration and binding agreements.“ Name 2 things in your life that can promote peace?

  19. Karen Armstrong – Charter of Compassion • Karen Armstrong is a British author and commentator known for her books on comparative religion. She is a former Roman Catholic nun, who went from a conservative to a more liberal and mystical Christian faith. Her work focuses on commonalities of the major religions, such as the importance of compassion and the Golden Rule. Armstrong received the $100,000 TED Prize in February 2008. She used that occasion to call for the creation of a Charter for Compassion, which was unveiled the following year.

  20. Charter of Compassion

  21. Charter of Compassion • UNDERLINE 4 or 5 important key phrases on the Charter of Compassion Handout that speak to you. • SHARE one phrase with the class and why it speaks to you.

  22. Journal • Explain your viewpoint on how the Charter of Compassion (using the 4 or 5 points you chose) corresponds with that of the 10 Catholic Social Teachings?

  23. What do we need to know? • For the remainder of the year we will be studying ways that we, as Catholics, can help support the dignity of all human beings. • Human Trafficking • Chocolate Production • Central Alberta Refuge Effort • Pro - Life