Stewardship of Elected Public Service Serving the Common Good, and Maintaining Public Order
Congratulations on Your Election to Public Office • Thanks for saying yes to the tough process of facing the electorate and other candidates • Thanks for educating yourself on the issues • Thanks for learning of the needs of your fellow citizens and your community • Thanks for stepping up to be part of the solution and to represent the People
Now Comes the Hard Part: Governing • How will you represent the People? • How will you discern the right path for the community to go? • How will you balance the competing interests in the community? • How will you work with the other elected officials at the local, state, and federal level, and toward what ends?
Consider Some of the Purposes of Government • solving conflicts between people • satisfying common needs and desires • preserving national security • preserving culture and beliefs • socializing young people • protecting rights (minority and majority) • protecting the environment • ensuring the safety and health of the people and tranquility of society • Ancient Greeks said only one purpose: to improve the lives of its citizens
What Can an Elected Official Use as a Basis for Making Decisions about These Matters? • Constitutions of Federal & State Governments • Laws and Regulations of Cities and the County • Policies of Boards, Committees, and Regulating Governmental Bodies • Personal Values of What is Fair and Just
The Declaration of Independence • We hold these Truths to be self-evident. That all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness-That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men… Thomas Jefferson
Can an Elected Official’s Faith Inform their Actions in Office? • The Voters Generally Know the Character and Values of the Representative They Choose • There Is Some Expectation that the Elected Official Will Act Consistent with their Higher Values and with Integrity to Safeguard the Trust Shown Them • Perhaps Faith Can Not Directly or Overtly Influence an Elected Official’s Actions to Address Public Matters but It Can Have Its Place • The Church Will Not Tell a Public Official What to Do, Rather It Seeks to Inform about Truth, Goodness and Justice in the Service of Others
Common Good • Public Order • Public Peace • Basic Rights • Public Morality • Freedom State Separation of Church and State Society Politics
Common Good • It is often Cited as a Guiding Concept in Catholic Social Teaching • It has been described as “ the sum total of conditions of social living, whereby persons are enabled more fully and readily to achieve their own perfection.”1 • Goods that Are only Experienced in Common; They Are Shared, or They Are not Experienced at All: Sunlight, Water, Air, Freedom, Safety etc
The Common Good and Catholic Social Teaching • This Concept suggests that the good of each person is linked to the good of others • Further, that Human Beings only Flourish in the context of Community • Therefore: each person has an obligation to contribute to society so life can flourish, and no person can be excluded as unworthy of interest • It says no one should be denied the basic goods needed to join in the life of the community
The Common Good-A Moral Force • Many and diverse people could each advocate for different solutions to problems • There must be an authority to direct the energies of all citizens toward the Common Good if the political community is to avoid being torn apart w/o dictatorship • How? By acting as a moral force which appeals to each one’s freedom, & sense of responsibility
Catholic Social Teachings Rooted in Scripture Genesis Leviticus Jeremiah Paul Matthew Sirach Deuteronomy Isaiah Mark Psalms John Luke
Catholic Social Teachings Church Documents Economic Justice for All Mater et Magistra Pacem et Terris Laborem Exercens Rerum Novarum Evangelicum Vitae Political Responsibility The Challenge of Peace Centesimus Annus Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Rooted in Scripture Genesis Leviticus Jeremiah Paul Matthew Sirach Deuteronomy Isaiah Mark Psalms John Luke
Catholic Social Teachings Rights and Responsibilities Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers Life and Dignity of the Human Person Option for the Poor Principles Call to Family, Community and Participation Care of God’s Creation Solidarity Church Documents Economic Justice for All Mater et Magistra Pacem et Terris Laborem Exercens Rerum Novarum Evangelicum Vitae Political Responsibility The Challenge of Peace Centesimus Annus Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Rooted in Scripture Genesis Leviticus Jeremiah Paul Matthew Sirach Deuteronomy Isaiah Mark Psalms John Luke
Political Responsibility Abortion Catholic Social Teachings Capital Punishment Cloning War Just Wages Euthanasia Rights and Responsibilities Racism Issues Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers Life and Dignity of the Human Person Option for the Poor Principles Education Call to Family, Community and Participation Farming Care of God’s Creation Solidarity Global Warming Church Documents Economic Justice for All Mater et Magistra Pacem et Terris Laborem Exercens Rerum Novarum Evangelicum Vitae Political Responsibility The Challenge of Peace Centesimus Annus Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Rooted in Scripture Genesis Leviticus Jeremiah Paul Matthew Sirach Deuteronomy Isaiah Mark Psalms John Luke
Major Themes fromCatholic Social Teaching • Human dignity • Community • Rights and duties • Option for the poor • Participation • Economic Justice • Stewardship of Creation • Solidarity • Role of Government • Promotion of Peace
1. Human Dignity The person is sacred, made in the image of God.
2. Community / Common Good The Social Nature of the Human Person The fact that human beings are social by nature indicates that the betterment of the person and the improvement of society depend on each other…humanity by its very nature stands completely in need of life in society. Vatican II The Church in the Modern World
3. Rights and Duties Every person has a right to the basic material necessities that are required to live a decent life. Civil, Political, Economic, Social
4. Option for the Poor • Remember the “widows, orphans, and aliens.” • A necessary element of the common good. “Deprivation and powerlessness of the poor wounds the whole community.” National Conference of Catholic Bishops
5. Participation All people have a right to a minimum level of participation in the economic, political, and cultural life of society.
6. Economic Justice • The economy must serve people. • All workers have a right to productive work, to decent wages, to safe working conditions; and they have a right to organize and join unions. • People have a right to economic initiative and private property, but these rights are limited by the universal destination of goods.
8. The Virtue of Solidarity “It is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say, to the good of all ...because we are all really responsible for all.” Pope John Paul II On Social Concern, 1987 Photo: Courtesy CRS Alemavehu Tadesse
9. Role of Government The state has a positive moral function.It is an instrument to promote human dignity, protect human rights, and build the common good. • Subsidiarity • As small as possible • As big as necessary
10. Promotion of Peace Peace is not just the absence of war. “If you want peace, work for justice.” Pope Paul VI 1972 World Day of Peace Message
The Call to Faithful Citizenship • Faithful Citizenship calls Catholics to see civic and political responsibilities through the eyes of faith and to bring our moral convictions to public life.
Faithful Citizenship • The Catholic community enters public life not to impose doctrine, but to act on our moral convictions; to share our experience in serving the poor and vulnerable, and to participate in the dialogue over our nation’s future.
Faithful Citizenship • Our community of faith brings three major assets to these challenges. 1. A Consistent Moral Framework 2. Everyday Experience 3. A Community of People
All Believers Are Called to Faithful Citizenship • To become informed, active, and responsible participants in our society. • Our Lord’s example and words demand care for the “least of these” from each of us. This is the foundation that requires action on a broader scale.
Congratulations on Elected Public Service • May the Lord bless you in Office • May your Faith in Him be a guide for you in the many challenges you face
Resources Utilized • Catholic Charities Diocese of Beaumont Texas, Office of Parish Social Ministry’s CST PowerPoint Presentation • Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s CST: A Key to Catholic Identity PowerPoint Presentation • Office of Social Justice, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota • Various Documents in Catholic Social Teaching