How Catholic Social Principles Inform Third Millennium Catholic Social Activity

by Sister Julie Ann on October 31, 2010

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity’s community discussions include reading and study on Catholic Social Teaching with November’s specific focus the  foundational element of respect for the life and dignity of the human person.

Sister Kay Klackner, OSF, offers possible conversation starters.  In an overview of the history of Catholic social justice teachings and actions from biblical times through today she remarks that “scholars have cited that Catholic Social Teaching remains a ‘best kept secret’ for many Catholics. What do you think? ”

Manitowoc Right To LifeA Manitowoc, WI, Life Chain held October 31, 2010 is one  example of making explicit curricular connections between Catholic Social Teaching and social action. Planned by Manitowoc Right to Life, this event was part of a national movement drawing people of  all ages to pray silently against abortion. 

The hour of prayer  invited self-analysis, repentance and serious commitment to help end abortion in our nation. It also was an opportunity to unite local churches and to inform our local media, law enforcement, public officials, and all about respect for the unborn child in our community and beyond.

Sister Chiara LaValley, OSF, one of the organizers, had this to say:

I am a part of the Manitowoc Right to Life group. Life Chain is something that they have participated in the past. When we voted on participating this year, the reasons were: It is a good cause, something all of us are able to do and have the time, and someone needs to be the voice of the voiceless.

October Respect Life Chain“Every human being is created in the image of God and redeemed by Jesus Christ, and therefore, is invaluable and worthy of respect as a member of the human family” (Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions, p. 1-2).

The Catholic Social Principles inform third millennium Catholic social activity.  Do you make a connection between respect for life and social justice activities?

We welcome your comments.

11 thoughts on “How Catholic Social Principles Inform Third Millennium Catholic Social Activity”

  1. The very moving experience of standing silently in prayer for LIFE for an hour with many others who believe in God's supreme gift of life was a great gift! Thanks to all who orgainze and participate and share faith!

  2. Smaf says:

    The Catholic (Christian) Social Principles were never a “best kept secret” in my education. When I attended grade school in the late 1940s and early 1950s, these principles were posted on our bulletin board throughout the whole school year, and the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity who taught in our school used and emphasized them in every aspect of the curriculum. We were required to bring newspaper articles and relate them to the Christian social principles. I also remember becoming acquainted in upper grades with basic ideas in “Rerum Novarum” and “Quadragesimo Anno.” I am proud of our Sisters for their continual support of Catholic social teaching, both in the past and in the present

  3. Sr.Marlita Henseler says:

    In our monthly discussion during October we spoke a great deal about “being voices for the voiceless.” This applies to many situations: the unborn, certainly; the immigrant population; the disenfranchized and poor; the unemplyed. It behooves us who become aware of someone or some group NOT having a voice to listen to or to speak out on their behalf. It doesn't cost any money, and is worth much more often than money can buy. It also assumes we are becoming well- informed about situations that do need addressing. In these cases silence is NOT golden!

  4. Smaryfrances says:

    In our group, we talked about how some of us were not aware of Catholic Social Principles, but we are learning that our Popes, past and present, were promoting them for many years. In this technological age, so many can be forgotten. Charity seems to be the foundation with Jesus leading us. May we be able to show others the way.

  5. This article out of Zenit today is so appropriate to our sharings this month!

  6. Sister Janet says:

    The faculty at St. Benedict School has chosen Life and Dignity of the Human Person as the Catholic Identity target area for their accreditation school improvement plan. The school is using Catholic teachings and Gospel Values as models to assist the students to recognize and demonstrate respect for the life and dignity of the human person. The faculty began by planning and participating in staff development focusing on this topic. This resulted in the developing and administering of pre- and post-tests to determine student knowledge and attitudes regarding Catholic teachings and values regarding human life and dignity. Supplemental resources were developed to aid in classroom discussions so that students will be guided toward good decision making.
    Teachers are now helping students implement procedures for identifying and resolving their conflicts and problems in school. As an important part of this plan students will plan and participate in prayer and sacrament opportunities to introduce and reinforce respectful attitudes toward others.
    Parents also will be given resources to assist them in guiding their children to make good choices influenced by Gospel values.

  7. Sister Anne Marie Lom says:

    Sister Pam and I discussed how little we hear about the social teachings of the church with the exception of the abortion issue. Important and central though it is, it is not complete unless we look at the issues of health care, education, housing, employment and all the fundamental issues that support the dignity of the person from conception to natural death. I see Catholic social teaching as an integrated web or, as Cardinal Bernadine said, a “seamless garment”.

    We commend Sr. Kay for her excellent article which, along with our discussion, gave us some ideas on how we can promote Catholic social teaching in religious ed programs and in workshops and retreats.
    We don't want to keep these teachings a secret!

  8. Sister Anne Marie Lom says:

    Just found this by Fr. Richard Rohr OFM and wanted to share it:
    I am sorry to report that to use the word “justice” in any conference or lecture series is to be assured of a small audience. How strange, considering that Plato, the book of Wisdom (8:7), and Thomas Aquinas all considered it one of the four “cardinal” or hinge virtues on which the entire moral life turned. One could not practice the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity without first practicing temperance, justice, fortitude, and prudence, but most especially justice.

    Resources of Fr. Richard’s that address this topic include
    A Lever and a Place to Stand (CD) and
    Contemplation in Action (book)

  9. Sister Miriam says:

    We watched the movie RUBY BRIDGES and recommend it to all of you. This young girl, primary age, faced
    many challenges during the time of desegregation in schools. Ruby was a child who made a big difference among the school children and many adults. She faced many social justice issues and was a child of great strength. Her
    faith helped her through the prejudice and bigotry of others. She exemplified the Christian Social Principle of
    “The Life and Dignity of the HumanPerson.” She lived her belief in the sanctity of life and dignity of persons.

  10. Smyrajean says:

    The principle of respect and dignity for human life is accepted as the most basic of the social principles defined in Church documents. It is the root and foundation of the other principles. We as a community have been given wonderful opportunity to ponder the Pope’s writings from throughout the centuries and face the challenge of putting them into practice. The reality of humanity is that we have a tendency to segregate ourselves from each other, sorting and classifying by non-essential characteristics. How can we as individuals truly overcome this tendency? What tools can we use to tear down the walls that we build through this stratification? We need to get down to the basic principle that we are all God’s gifts, that each individual is an expression of the love of God for creation. If we can come to see ourselves as an out-pouring of God’s love, we will be moved to treat others in that light.

  11. Sister Anne Marie Lom says:

    Sister Pam and I just completed our February discussion on the Rights, Responsibilities and Dignity of Work. We talked about the “role stereotyping” we see each day as secretaries are expected to clean up after others or we hear comments such as, “she's not the main breadwinner in the family so we don't need to pay her as much”. We also noted that males often request and receive higher salaries than females in some church settings.
    We noted that often immigrants are not seen as “intelligent” as others because of a language barrier or because of some cultural differences on how they “present” themselves to others. We also talked about our own perceptions of intelligence because of clothing worn, hairstyles or lack of ability to compose or speak clearly or accurately.
    We both resolved to affirm others in our workplace, especially those who do jobs less desirable to many.
    We had a good discussion that raised our awareness of our own stereotyping and a need for deeper awareness.
    We again commend Sr. Kay on her clarity and ability to communicate these Catholic Social Principles.

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