Social Justice: Creating a Just Society
Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is a national organization dedicated to helping people in need. Addressing both local and national issues, CCUSA supports 164 member agencies through sharing of knowledge and networking services, as well as advocacy, media services and other activities on a national level to bring about solutions to structural issues that affect ordinary people negatively.
Core areas of service include: disaster relief, shelter for those in need, direct food assistance, support programs for healthy living, educational programs, help to establish financial security, help for immigrants, adoption services, care for the most vulnerable. Each of these core areas includes a wide range of programs and services.
Local member agencies tailor their programs to meet the most serious needs in their geographic region. These programs are featured regularly on the agency's website. This month's feature, for example, is a tatoo removal program in the Diocese of Monterey, CA.
Farm Workers' Altar
Colorado artist Emanuel Martínez created Farm Workers’ Altar to celebrate an important event in the Chicano movement. On March 10, 1968, in the fields near Delano, California, labor organizer César Chávez broke a twenty-five-day fast at a Mass celebrated at this altar. Chávez endured his fast to protest unfair employment practices and substandard living conditions of migrant workers. By ending his hunger strike at a Christian celebration of Mass, Chávez honored the long commitment of religious leaders to social justice.
Work and Human Dignity
When does getting a job and going to work become a question of “joining the lemmings going over the cliff?” The critical question, it seems, regards the value and importance of work. Work in and of itself is neutral. Work becomes something negative when it reduces or threatens the human dignity of the person who engages in it.
Why all this bother about social justice? I’m a good Catholic. I go to Mass and confession and say my prayers. Why do I need to worry about social justice too?
Perplexed in the Pews
Do you wonder too? Read more ...
St. Francis of Assisi, in his Canticle of the Sun, reminds us that all of creation also praises our God. We are stewards, not owners of this gift.
Pointing the way
The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, commissioned by Pope St. John Paul II in 2004, reviews the importance of justice and peace in the Hebrew Scriptures and their fulfillment in Christ. It becomes clear in this document that Justice and peace are signs that the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus preached has become a reality.
Pope Francis at the United Nations
"The simplest and best measure and indicator of the implementation of the new Agenda for development will be effective, practical and immediate access, on the part of all, to essential material and spiritual goods: housing, dignified and properly remunerated employment, adequate food and drinking water; religious freedom and, more generally, spiritual freedom and education. These pillars of integral human development have a common foundation, which is the right to life and, more generally, what we could call the right to existence of human nature itself." Address to the United Nations General Assembly, September 25, 2015
St. Ignatius' Teachings on Creation and Care of Creation
At first glance, the environment does not seem to play a huge role in the writings of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). But Dr. Susan Mahan looked more deeply and shares her findings here.
Thank you to our Contributors!
Susan T. Mahan, PhD, "St. Ignatius' teachings on Creation and Care for Creation"
Jesuit Institute, for permission to use Carlos Saenz de Tejada's “The vision at River Cardoner (Manresa)”
Marty Haugan for his composition of music for St. Francis of Assisi's "Canticle of the Sun."
Featured image is a detail of original photograph by Magnus Rosendahl.
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