CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING Chapter 2
A Message of Hope • Catholic Worker (1933), created by Dorothy Day –was started, “for those who think there is no hope for the future” (Great Depression-era) • It was created to make known the encyclicals of the Popes in regard to social justice. • Encyclicals are letters from the Pope to all the bishops of the world; sometimes they are also addressed to all Christians • Ideas for social justice described in Church documents that are collectively known as Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching • Calls for society to be transformed in ways that will make it easier for all people to experience the goodness of God wills for them. • Issued by popes and bishops in letters and official Church documents examining human society in light of Church Tradition. • Its purpose is to guide Christians as they carry on the mission of Jesus in the world.
Signs of the Times • Includes religious, political, cultural, and economic factors that shape the overall situation of society. • It was the signs of the times in 19th century Europe, in fact, that first sparked the modern Catholic Social Teaching tradition.
On the Condition of Labor (1891) • Encyclical from Pope Leo XIII • More frequently called by its Latin title, RerumNovarum. • Was a response to the social situation brought about by various forces; the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, capitalism, and Marxism, etc. • Basic concerns—suffering of poor people, cooperation between groups, the dignity of work, the role of the state, etc.
The New “Rulers:” Reason, Science, Individual Liberty • Enlightenment (18th Century)—asserted that reason and science are the basis for knowing truth • Dismissed religious teachings, the Bible, and any claims of Church having authority in matters of truth or in directing human beings. • Creation of the liberalist philosophy—individual rights, limited government and the ownership of private property. • This stance became the basis for two political revolutions: • American Revolution • French Revolution
Economic Upheaval • Industrial Revolution (19th century)—shift from a farming and craft trade economy to an economy based on factory production. • Capitalism—system where a few owned the means of production for their own profit and workers sold their labor to owners for whatever they could get. • Under the new philosophy of liberalism, capitalism was left unlimited by the government and produced wealth for a few, but left an intolerable life for the masses.
Marxism • Socialism (19th century)—advocated distributing wealth according to need, not ownership of capital and profits. • German philosopher Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto (1848), critiqued capitalism. • Advocated revolution as a response to the capitalist injustice—an approach the Church rejected. • Communism—equitable society in which government and laws would be unnecessary. • This atheistic theory, later called Marxism, called for the formation of socialist and communist states.
The Church Responds • These forces were radically changing Western society, as well as the Church's role in that society. • It resisted aspects of all the new social, political, and economic systems because it saw these systems as UNJUST. • This concern led to Pope Leo XIII to issue the encyclical RerumNovarum.
Themes of RerumNovarum • Cooperation between classes • Based on cooperation between workers and capitalists with rights and duties for both • The dignity of work • Primary purpose of work is to provide a decent life for worker and their families. • The just wage and workers’ associations • Workers must receive a just wage and be free to organize unions to negotiate work conditions. • The role of the state • Government should avoid interfering in private matters, but has to take action through laws for the good of society. • Private ownership of property • All people have a right to own property. • Defense of the poor • Christians and the government should make the protection of the poor a priority.
RerumNovarum(continued) • Over time, RerumNovarum, along with the influence of socialism, indirectly led to the development of government policies such as; • Minimum wage laws, • Right to strike • Most important, RerumNovarum, established a precedent for the Church to speak out on social matters. • The core themes of modern Catholic social teaching have NOT changed a great deal since RerumNovarumwas released.
The Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching • The Life and Dignity of the Human Person • Call to Family, Community, and Participation • Rights and Responsibility • The Option for the Poor and Vulnerable • The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers • Solidarity • Care for God’s creation
The Life and Dignity of the Human Person • Promoting the life and dignity of human beings is the most fundamental of the Catholic social teaching principles. • Respect for human life is the basis for the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, and war. • Respecting human life means a lot more than simply allowing others to live—it means; • helping others live to the fullest, • Experiencing the dignity and goodness that God intended; • Physically • Socially • Intellectually • Spiritually
2. The Call to Family, Community, and Participation • The Little Rock Nine • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iH4Zx96xbY • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvgvRChtkbA
The Call to Family, Community, and Participation • The “Nine’s” struggle to be fully a part of society reflects the Catholic social teaching theme of participation • the right and responsibility of all people to participate in all aspects of human society; • educational, • political, • religious, • economic, • cultural, etc. Those who are not able to fully participate in society are often said to be marginalized, or forced outside the main group.
The Common Good • Common Good—is the social condition that allows all the people in a community to reach their full potential and fulfill their human destiny. • Working for the common good means helping those individuals or groups that are excluded from the benefits experienced by the rest of society. • http://www.stbaldricks.org/media-and-photos/media-stories/view/headline/title/Childhood%20Cancer%20Research%20Grant%20Awarded%20to%20Duke%20University%20Medical%20Center/id/1669
Subsidiarity • Subsidiarity—governments and large organizations exist only to serve the good of human beings, families, and communities, which are center and purpose of social life. • For example, it is wrong for the government to take responsibilities a family has for its children. But if the family neglects or abuses its children, then the government has a responsibility to intervene for the good of the children.
3. Rights and Responsibilities • Rights—are those conditions or things that any person needs In order to be fully what God created them to be. • Basic human rights; • Right to live in safety (Thrival) • Adequate food and shelter (Survival) • Right to education (Thrival) • Right to equal protection under the law (Thrival) • Survival rights—rights that are necessary for people to be able to live (food, shelter, and basic health care) • Thrival rights—rights necessary for them to fully realize their God-given dignity (education, employment, a safe environment, material goods to support a family)
Responsibilities: Limits on Rights • Human beings do not have unlimited rights. • Through Catholic Social Teaching, an individuals rights are limited by their responsibility for the good of others, as well as the common good of the whole society. Group Activity—page 63, Letter M: • Make a list of rights you think belong to all people. After each right, list the responsibilities that limit it.
4. The Option for the Poor and Vulnerable • Read the story on page 64-65. Answer Letter N on the bottom of page 65. • This is the choice to put the needs of society’s most poor and vulnerable members first among all social concerns. • Refers not only to those without money but also those deprived of their basic rights.
5. The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers • The dignity of work—is the value that work has because it supports human life and contributes to human dignity. • Rights of workers—the things necessary for dignified work. Those rights include; • to employment • to decent and fair pay • to a safe workplace • to anything that is necessary for basic life and health for workers.
6. Solidarity • Solidarity- spirit of friendship—between individuals, groups, and nations—a constant commitment to the common good. • It is based on the understanding that ALL people are part of the same human family, no matter what their ethnic, economic, or racial differences may be.
7. Care for God’s Creation • Care for God’s creation-calls for all people to live their faith in relationship with all of creation by protecting the health of people and the planet. • It is necessary for the full development of human beings but also because the environment has beauty and value itself.
People, Words, and Definitions to Know • Catholic Social Teaching • Dorothy Day, The Catholic Worker • Enlightenment • Liberalism • Industrial Revolution • Capital • Capitalism • Socialism • Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto • Communism • Encyclical • Pope Leo XIII, RerumNovarum • RerumNovarum • Themes of RerumNovarum • Participation • Marginalized • Common Good • Subsidiarity • Survival Rights • Thrival Rights
Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching • List the Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching and describe each one. • Which one of these themes is of concern to you in your life now? Why?