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Catholic Social Teaching

Ways to learn about Catholic social teaching and how to implement it at home, in the classroom, and in everyday life.

Moral Priorities #4 APPLYING THE THEMES OF CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING

By Sr. Joan Hart SSDN
Sr. Joan  Hart SSDN

Sr. Joan Hart, SSND, has been involved in justice and peace education for the past 30 years and served on the NCCB/USCC Task Force on Catholic Social Teaching and Catholic Education from 1996-98.


For the past several months, readers of this web page have been considering the seven central themes of Catholic social teaching. Now comes the task of translating the theory into action on issues of the day. The U.S. Catholic bishops have given us some direction in their recent statement on Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility. As voting citizens, we are called to examine a whole gamut of issues in their relationship to our faith. No single issue should determine how we vote. No single candidate agrees with us on all the issues.


Moral Priorities #4: Practicing Global Solidarity

The U.S. bishops conclude their 2003 document on Faithful Citizenship with a section on global solidarity. In it they say, "In a world where one-fifth of the population survives on less than one dollar a day, where some twenty countries are involved in major armed conflict, and where poverty, corruption, and repressive regimes bring untold suffering to millions of people, we simply cannot remain indifferent." The bishops remind us of our "responsibility to humanize globalization, and to spread its benefits to all, especially the world's poorest, while addressing its negative consequences." They call on us:

  • to take a leading role in helping to alleviate global poverty
  • to make more concerted efforts to ensure the promotion of religious liberty and other basic human rights

  • to work to reverse the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and to reduce our own dependence on weapons of mass destruction  

  • to provide more consistent political and financial support for appropriate United Nations programs, other international bodies and international law 
  • to adopt a more generous immigration and refugee policy based on providing temporary or permanent safe haven for those in need, including a generous legalization program to undocumented immigrants, and addressing the root causes of migration 
  • to afford asylum to all refugees who hold a well-founded fear of persecution in their homelands 
  • to take the lead in addressing regional conflicts in the Middle East, the Balkans, the Congo, Sudan, Colombia, and West Africa, with urgent priority given to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict , and to make the sustained commitment necessary to help bring stability, democracy, freedom and prosperity to Iraq and Afghanistan 

The bishops conclude this section by reminding us that "Building peace, combating poverty and despair, and protecting freedom and human rights are not only moral imperatives; they are wise national priorities. Given its enormous power and influence in world affairs, the United States has a special responsibility to ensure that it is a force for justice and peace beyond its borders. 'Liberty and justice for all' is not only a profound national pledge; it is a worthy goal for our nation in its role as world leader." 

  • Examine your own practice of global solidarity. How wide is your horizon?
  •  Do you pray daily for your brothers and sisters around the world who lack basic necessities or live in the midst of violence? What else do you do for them?

 

From Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility,  © October 10, 2003 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops






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