“Every economic decision has a moral consequence”: Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate
This past Saturday Young Adult Ministry leaders from 10 parishes across the diocese joined together to discuss Catholic Social Teaching (CST) and Jesus’ directive to love God and neighbor. Presenters Mike Buckler (Prince of Peace) and Stephanie Bosse (Catholic Relief Services) led the day by discussing the basic truths of Social Justice and facilitating conversations on the principles of Social Teaching.
“Social Justice is not an option. It is fundamental to who we are as Catholics,” stated Mike Buckler as he challenged us to truly be in communion with one another. Natacha Rodriguez from St. Isaac Jogues emphasized the point further saying, “Within all different walks of life, we need to remember that communion. No matter what our circumstances, we are one in God.” This is the very foundation of CST: All of us, no matter our ethnicity, economic status, age or gender are the Body of Christ.
As the group discussed the Eight Building Blocks of CST, they looked to scripture and life experiences to better understand our call to safeguard all human life. “Often when people think of the word “justice”, they think of judgment,” said Adriana Pearlman of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church. “The bottom line is. We have to empathize with people – live God’s love – and don’t assume people’s worth. Sometimes people just need love.”
Through the discussion, the group recognized how often we focus on the charity piece of CST but forget the focus on Social Justice. Stephanie Bosse highlighted this as she talked about the rights and responsibilities of every human person: “It is everyone’s right to share in God’s creation, to have food to eat and water to drink. It’s our responsibility to make sure everyone has that.” This led the young adult leaders into a discussion on the importance of opposing the structures that perpetuate poverty by being educated and proactive in our voting and communication with civic leaders.
There are many ways in which we can join Jesus in his mission to show love to our neighbor. Below are a few resources that may be helpful as you discern how the Lord is calling you to grow awareness of CST within your parishes. Remember, this isn’t a political thing, it’s bigger than that. It’s who we are as Christians. Stephanie ended the day by reminding us, “We don’t help others because they’re Catholic. We help others because we’re Catholic.”
- Mike Buckler: firstname.lastname@example.org (Contact Mike if you have any questions about his presentation or would like more ideas on how to incorporate CST principles into your parish)
- Stephanie Bosse: SBosseCRS@gmail.com (Contact Stephanie for resources, speakers, great information, great chocolate, great coffee, etc)
Office of Advocacy and Justice for the Diocese of Orlando: 407-246-4820 (A great resource of our diocese who is always hoping to help parishes and schools with presentations, materials, etc.)
- Catholic Charities of Central Florida: http://www.cflcc.org/ Contact volunteer coordinator Anita Capetillo 407-658-1818 or 888-658-2828 email@example.com to learn more about opportunities for your ministries to share time and talent to assist those suffering through economic hardships throughout Central Florida. Contact Community Relations Manager Elizabeth Arenas 407-246-4823 or firstname.lastname@example.org for speakers and information about how Catholic Charities of Central Florida is witnessing the love of God to our neighbors in need throughout Central Florida.
- From Pope Benedict: Check out Caritas in Veritate – http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/index_en.htm
- From Blessed John Paul II’s Encyclical on the value of human life: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae_en.html
- Catholic Social Teaching Scripture Guide: http://nccbuscc.org/cchd/2010-02-22-cst-scripture-guide.pdf (this is a great resource for your ministries if you want to do a night or a series on the scriptures behind CST. It’s already in booklet form and ready to print and use!)