Skip to comments.Catholic Caucus: Catholics urge more focus on social justice
Posted on 11/12/2012 7:29:12 PM PST by campaignPete R-CT
WASHINGTON - A large national study on faith and political views released Oct. 23 highlighted Catholics' interest in having social justice take a bigger role in the church's policy priorities.
The American Values Survey by Public Religion Research Institute queried a cross section of all Americans but zeroed in on the opinions of Catholics, in particular, on topics including contraceptive coverage in insurance and the death penalty as well as on the pending presidential election.
In interviews during September, a majority of Catholics told pollsters that they would prefer it if the church would focus its public policy statements "more on social justice and the obligation to help the poor, even if it means focusing less on issues like abortion and the right to life."
Sixty percent of Catholics concurred with that statement or with another version in which the phrasing was reversed.
Among those Catholics who attend church at least weekly, 51 percent chose the social justice emphasis, while 65 percent of those who attend monthly or less often made that choice. Among the various demographic breakouts provided by the study, just two segments -- self-identified conservatives and Republicans -- agreed with the statement by less than 50 percent, 46 percent and 47 percent, respectively, though that was still the plurality response.
Social justice was chosen by slightly more poll participants who self-identified as conservative and Republican than selected the opposite. For instance, 44 percent of self-identified conservatives chose: "should focus more on issues like abortion and the right to life, even if it means focusing less on social justice and the obligation to help the poor," or its parallel wording. Ten percent of conservatives answered "neither" or said they "didn't know."
Michele Dillon, a professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire who specializes in research on religion and culture, said the response reflects a long-term pattern in Catholic thinking, despite what she considered a drawback in the question forcing a choice between just two concepts.
She said previous open-ended polling elicited similar priorities.
"Care for the poor and needy has been a strong theme in Catholic teaching since the end of the 19th century," Dillon told Catholic News Service in an Oct. 25 phone interview. "That's been totally in continuity with the church leadership over the decades and it's still primary for a lot of people in defining what it means to be Catholic."
"It's right up there with belief in the Resurrection with what people say it means to be Catholic," she said.
Coincidentally, two items on the agenda for the annual fall general meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are a proposed document on preaching that emphasizes the need to connect homilies with people's lives, and a message on the economy, "Catholic Reflections on Work, Poverty and a Broken Economy."
There's a pretty good link between the polling data and the two documents, in the mind of one theologian who advises the bishops.
"Spiritually, people are thirsting for the message of the Gospel and to find hope in the midst of economic suffering," said Meghan Clark, an assistant professor of theology and religious studies in moral theology at St. John's University in Queens, New York, and a consultant to the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.
In an Oct. 25 interview with CNS and a related exchange of emails, she said that people may feel they hear enough about abortion and related topics because, "many priests are comfortable delivering a counter-cultural message on life issues because they are perceived as black/white issues."
The survey suggests that Catholics "want them to issue the same challenge on social justice issues, which are at the heart of the Gospel," Clark added. "It isn't primarily about politics, but about communicating the challenge of the Gospel -- that discipleship requires concern for the 'least' and dismantling structures of sin."
Clark, who teaches moral theology, said "frequently the only thing my non-Catholic students know about the faith is the teaching on abortion." The Catechism of the Catholic Church says abortion is "gravely contrary to the moral law" in all cases.
"There's no doubt, no confusion about what the church teaches on abortion," she said. But the social teachings are less well understood, she added.
She said she wasn't surprised that even the most regular churchgoers also want to hear more about social justice.
"People want to live integrated lives, to follow the Gospel, to have integrity in what they do Sunday and every day," Clark said.
Clark said the bishops' decision to write a reflection on the economy came out of concern that people are suffering from poverty, unemployment, underemployment and other financial difficulties. Like most documents of the bishops' conference it is a product of months of effort.
The American Values Survey was based on interviews with 3,003 adults phoned between Sept. 13 and 20. The margin of error for the total survey is plus or minus 2 percentage points. No margin of error was given for the subset of Catholics in the study.
Editor's Note: A CNS video story about the survey can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=No2X2CW5IGs&noredirect=1.
Copyright (c) 2012 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic
I put this in Catholic Caucus because I am interested in sober comments from fellow Catholics about ideas for dealing with the Social Justice activities in the Church.
Catholic social ministry begins and ends with Jesus Christ, he said. If it doesnt, it isnt Catholic.
Not long ago I explained to my priest that the term Social Justice had its origin in the Communist movement of the 19th century. Every dictator since then has used that term to put forth their ideology while they were subjugating the masses.
A REMINDER THAT THIS IS A CATHOLIC CAUCUS THREAD
I want to avoid the usual obvious remarks about liberals and hope to steer toward a more sober discussion.
That link is to the Hartford Archdiocese web site. Read the resumes. No discussion of Pro-life or Marriage in any of the newsletters.
The September Newsletter:
Franciscan Spirituality and Grassroots Organizing, St. Pius X Church, Middletown
they did their grassroots organizing ... for the elections.
The focus on the state legislative races, Social Justice at the state level. Obama was not an issue in CT.
Yes, the Church is anti-Socialism and Communism. The Holy Father was at Tubingen during the times of it’s heavy marxism and has fought these battles.
What is relevant today is that all Christianity has lost much of its role to government and we need to take it back to get the federal government out of our lives. It was a long slide into it and will be a long struggle out of it.
Social Justice, in its relatively new iteration, is heresy (liberation theology). Charity-by-government is oxymoronic at best, theft at worst. If social justice meant private individuals acting even in groups to help the needy or the poor, it’s charity. The government has no money of its own to contribute, only yours.
If bishops are teaching, anywhere, that government must fund the needy, they’re teaching outside their authority and against everything the church has preached throughout its history. As even the Catholic Church must have learned this year, all that ‘giving’ has impossible price-tags.
The more I hear the term, the more I wonder “WT* is ‘social justice’?”
Seems akin to someone rattling the bars of their cage, failing (or refusing) to notice the door is wide open.
“Social Justice” is NOT some government run, “tax the rich” scheme that relieves the us from our responsibility for individual charity.
Pretending that your desire for government managed “social justice” somehow trumps your responsibility to protect innocent human life, is an abomination in scriptural interpretation.
For details, read “Render Unto Caesar” by Archbishop Charles Chaput.
I was raised a Catholic and I must say these “Catholics” make me puke.
Social justice STARTS with the unborn babies and any Catholic that doesn’t believe a soul resides in the fetus in the womb is an abomination.
Visit Ann Barnhardt’s site; she recently posted a grisly photo of a baby that had been decapitated during an abortion. I was reading her posts and involuntarily saw it—I cried ‘til I thought I would vomit. My better half was disturbed that I might have seen it from an e-mail—when I got my breath back, I explained how I accessed it.
Although I protested abortion as a child with my mother quite a long time ago, it had been a long time since I have seen photo evidence of the “results” of such procedures.
I not only do NOT fault Ann for posting this photo I reacted to so sickeningly; I applaud her. More “catholics” need to see the results of abortion.
Understand me when I say damn the catholics that support such travesties...and DAMN the progressives that try to force others to subsidize it.
More? I have yet to have been to a RC church that does not do tons of works of mercy for the poor, but I have been to plenty that demand to ignore abortion, problem is, too many in the RC church think they are protestants and have serious lack of understanding of their own teachings ...
and as explained by JP II in:
Addressed by the Supreme Pontiff
John Paul II
to the Bishops
Priests and Deacons
Men and Women Religious
and All People of Good Will
ON THE VALUE AND INVIOLABILITY
OF HUMAN LIFE
Each parish should do a study group on this encyclical..
Ryan is impressive on the RCC issues...
Ya....these clowns chant “Social Justice”, while Obama’s HHS mandate is forcing the closure of all of the Catholic Charities, Schools, and Hospitals, which are the primary providers of all that IS “Social Justice”.
This Religion Forum thread is labeled “Catholic Caucus” meaning if you are not currently, actively Catholic then do not post on this thread.
This woman, the Catholic Contraception Lady ran a campaign with her platform as follows:
Graduate of Mercy Catholic High School, free contraception paid by the state, more state money for Planned Parenthood, endorsed by NARAL.
She defeated one of those right-wing Republican pro-lifers, 50.1% to 49.9%. The social justice folks held their org meetin in the district. The Capuchin Franciscans at the parish assist the event. See above.
They were successful. The Catholics in key neigborhoods, voted for her heavily.
“Justice, Peace and Ecology This ministry is inspired by the love of the Gospel and by the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, and led by the tradition of Catholic Social Justice teaching. For more information, contact Fr. Sam at the Friary office”
Blessed John Paul II pray for us
I feel that the churches may be responsible for the steady decline of people being responsible for themselves. In the 40’s and 50’s the churches played a pivotal role in giving folks down on their luck a hand up and the people were very wiling to participate in that help. The Great Society removed the burden from the private sector and put it on government where it could grow into what it is today and the churches are now off the hook.
Is “Astronomy Picture of the Day” thread is only for currently active astronomers?
I never knew there was such a segregationist rule.
Wouldn’t want to taint the cult with an infidel.
there are open threads often. We just wanted this one closed.
There are closed threads from time to time. (see the top, the title of the thread)
You’re not an infidel, but you could comment on the open threads even if you were one.
if either of you want to ping your lists, that would be great.
you’re still a harmless lovable fuzz-ball
Feel free to make your argument on any “open” Religion Forum thread. The closed ones (caucus, prayer, devotional) are to be treated like church services behind closed doors.
Sorry, I must have missed “closed” “caucus” and “ devotional” in the keywords when I responded. So it was “open” before it was “closed”. Right?
And any poster can at any time ping you to “close” a previously “open” thread. Is that also correct?
Just want to make sure I understand the rules, or lack thereof.
i put it in the title of the thread.
no offense taken.
My mistake. Please accept my apology.
For more on the RF Guidelines click here.
The Church has faced dark times before and has prevailed. I had the good fortune to attend an Opus Dei school for six years. They are the Catholic version of Preppers. They have stocked up a surplus of knowledge and grace and can out last any siege.
I think the Church will get smaller before it prevails again, but when it does, it will speak with a louder and clearer voice.
I was hoping the Catholics posting here would be knowledgable about the subject ... so far very little luck.
I made it closed so I’d get more informed posters. I am more concerned about how the Bishops are involved in this, rather than the people who were polled.
A few of us tried to organize a small number of pro-life Catholics from surrounding towns and meet to discuss the Life and Marriage issues and exchange information.
We found it difficult because most the of the parish pro-life groups have permission from their pastor to exist, but they think if they actually talk about anything as it relates to elections, they will be shut down.
Therefore, we got little done. The Social Justice groups preceded us into the parishes and know how to keep the pro-lifers silenced. It’s as if we need to find someplace to meet outside the reach of the parishes. You cannot organize inside your adversary’s camp.
if you see my links above, you see the number of paid staff people ... paid and supported by the Diocese. Anybody run into this before and have ideas?
Money talks. Tell the pastors and their staffs that unless they start putting pro-life prayers in the intentions and putting pro-life support materials in their bulletins you will stop the donations/tithing.
I really wish they would describe “Catholics” as generalized here as American Roman Catholics. Not all Catholics here are American, or Roman. I suspect that the others may...uhhh...differ in these opinions.
Set up a Eucharistic Adoration group....poorly catechized folks just don’t get it. Once you establish who your allies are you can go about evangilizing the rest of the parishioners.
In my parish two weeks ago we had a sermon from a visiting Bishop from Cameroon. The congregation applauded after his sermon because it was so refreshing to hear the Church’s doctrine so clearly (not the English though) passionately and unapologetically expressed.
For inspiration, I listen to some old school sermons from a retired priest who was retired at my parish. My father recorded them every day on cassette tape so my house bound grandmother could listen. The priest was a former philosophy professor, so they are quite well prepared. We put them on the web here: www.wellchosenremarks.com
There are about 800 of them- Enjoy!
Maybe this will help:
Vatican City, Jan 13, 2011
When he travels to the United States next month, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson is aware that he may have to make some adjustments in the way he talks about the Churchs social teaching.
As president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Ghanaian cardinal, 62, is charged with making the Churchs social teaching more widely known and practiced around the world.
He will be in Washington to deliver the plenary address of the 2011 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, Feb. 13-16. The gathering, on the theme of Protecting Human Life and Dignity: Promoting a Just Economy, is sponsored by 19 Catholic organizations, including the U.S. Catholic bishops.
In a recent interview with EWTN News, Cardinal Turkson said he has learned from past experience that the Churchs justice and peace terminology often needs clarification for an American Catholic audience. Key terms used by the Vatican such as social justice and gift are not always understood the way the Vatican intends, he said.
"We found out that some of the vocabulary which is just taken for granted and used freely may not always have the same sense or may have had some nuances which sometimes are missed because of the way the terms are used in the American political context, Cardinal Turkson said in a Jan. 12 interview at the councils offices in Rome.
Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Turkson to his post in Oct. 2009, just months after the Pope released his blueprint for the Churchs social teaching, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth). The council has since made promotion of the Popes vision a top priority.
The encyclical outlines Pope Benedicts plan for "integral human development" in economics, society and politics through the principles of charity and truth.
Cardinal Turkson said the Vatican is pleased by response to the document. But he said reaction from some sections of the audience in the United States was unexpected.
The council has been surprised to find that common terms were misunderstood or misinterpreted. He emphasized that the misunderstanding was not a general or widespread problem among American Catholics. But, he said, "in certain circles ... there is a difficulty."
For instance, the Pope's teaching on themes of "social justice" have been mistakenly connected to "socialism" and "communism." As a result, he indicated, the Pope is mistakenly seen as promoting socialist or big-government solutions to social problems.
The council has also learned that words like "social" and "solidarity" may have been dismissed by American readers for their perceived connection with communist regimes such as the Soviet Union, he said.
Cardinal Turkson explained that in the Churchs thinking, social justice involves citizens obligations and responsibilities to ensure fairness and opportunity in their communities and societies.
While this may include the adoption of specific government policies and programs, the emphasis in Catholic social teaching is on the obligations that flow from citizens' relationships in societies.
"Respecting, understanding and fulfilling those demands constitute our justice," he said. "It would be useful if we just observed our sense of justice as our ability to fulfill the demands of the relationships in which we stand."
This is in contrast to socialism, he explained, which is an ideology in which private property and private interests are totally placed in the service of government policies.
What the Pope proposes in Caritas in Veritate, said Cardinal Turkson, is "achieving the common good without sacrificing personal, private interests, aspirations and desires."
Cardinal Turkson said the Council was also surprised that the Popes concept of the gift, was perceived in some circles as encouraging government welfare handouts.
In "Caritas in Veritate," Pope Benedict described the concept of gift as a way to understand Gods love for men and women in his gift of life and his gift of Jesus.
"Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity," the Pope wrote. "That light is both the light of reason and the light of faith, through which the intellect attains to the natural and supernatural truth of charity: it grasps its meaning as gift, acceptance, and communion."
Gift, Cardinal Turkson explained, is "a very basic, deep theological expression of God's relation or the motivation for whatever God does in the world, and it's not quite the same as a handout."
"If we ever need to talk about this in a society where the sense of gift is that of a handout ... it doesn't quite express the sense of gift in this regard," he added.
While it is too late to add any explanations to the encyclical, the Council might tailor its language differently in future documents.
"We just realized that probably in the future, when ... this dicastery takes up the task of diffusing, presenting and talking about this it might be necessary to provide a footnote in which some of these expressions can be given an awareness of the different senses of expressions in different cultures and settings, he said. We thought something like that would be useful and helpful to the readers."
Cardinal Turkson urged American Catholics and government and economic leaders to give a conscientious reading of "Caritas in Veritate."
The encyclical, he said, invites us "to go back or to remind about the centrality of the human person, his well being, his common good within everything that we do.
Another important message, Cardinal Turkson said, is that we must not sacrifice the good of the human person for anything that we aspire after or want to do with technology, business, economics or whatever."
The key to an authentically human vision of development is to consider the full ethical character of the individual in all decisions, he said.
"In details," he concluded, "it may be for food security and shelter for all persons, but at the end of the day we are looking at whether things that we are doing in the world as government, as a Church and all of that help advance the good of the individual person."
Thank-you for your help to keeping the peace on this thread.
My parish has an active pro-life ministry, no problems from either the pastor or any other group.
Translation: the need and importance to proclaim the good news of the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ.
Peter Cardinal Turkson, President of the Vaticans Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has a message for Catholics in America, particularly those involved in social justice ministry, that could put a damper on the political machinations of the Shadow Party.
The message? Social justice is about relationships, not socialism. This clarification may very well be the catalyst to set the Catholic Church in America back on course with authentic Catholic teaching on hot-button issues involving massive government entitlement programs and other forms of overreach. If nothing else, it will almost certainly jump-start the social justice debate among Catholics. Cardinal Turkson, you see, is scheduled to deliver the plenary address at the 2011 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in February.It would be useful if we just observed our sense of justice as our ability to fulfill the demands of the relationships in which we stand.Whether he intended to or not, Cardinal Turkson has now echoed what many conservative Catholics in America have been calling for repeatedly subsidiarity in economic policy. More importantly, the Cardinal observes the heart of the matter in noting that a handout and a gift are not at all the same, with the latter being more in keeping with the Gospel message.
This is in contrast to socialism, he explained, which is an ideology in which private property and private interests are totally placed in the service of government policies. What the Pope proposes in Caritas in Veritate, said Cardinal Turkson, is achieving the common good without sacrificing personal, private interests, aspirations and desires.
Cardinal Turkson said the Council was also surprised that the Popes concept of the gift, was perceived in some circles as encouraging government welfare handouts. In Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict described the concept of gift as a way to understand Gods love for men and women in his gift of life and his gift of Jesus.
One of the key principles of Catholic social thought is known as the principle of subsidiarity. This tenet holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization. In other words, any activity which can be performed by a more decentralized entity should be. This principle is a bulwark of limited government and personal freedom. It conflicts with the passion for centralization and bureaucracy characteristic of the Welfare State.You may remember that Pope John Paul II worked closely with President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to bring down communism in the Soviet Union and Marxist governments in Latin America. With the worldwide Left now in such kinship with Islam, and with no modern-day Reagan or Thatcher in sight, Pope Benedict XVI certainly has his work cut out for him. If they recognize that America has become polarized, perhaps Americas Catholic bishops will bite the bullet and commit themselves to following in the footsteps of the just-beatified Pope John Paul II to morally undermine the Left as he morally undermined the Soviet Union.
Social Justice is a bad terminology -- we need to stop using it and use the term Subsidiarity -- Government is bad at helping the poor.
“In details,” he concluded, “it may be for food security and shelter for all persons, but at the end of the day we are looking at whether things that we are doing in the world as government, as a Church and all of that help advance the good of the individual person.”
To me, a perfect example of social justice would be what is happening in NY and NJ in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The governnment (FEMA) is as usual, falling down at the job, whereas a multitude of private individuals and organizations have risen to the occasion. Neighbor helping neighbor, high school and college kids organizing to clean up the debris and ruins of homes, charitable and religious groups busing in both aid and their services, physical and psychological. To me, this is a shining example of social justice, whereas the government on the organizational and ground level, fails way too often.
The government can hand out checks (by the way, it’s our money they are handing out, not theirs) for rebuilding when it gets to that point, but in the interim it is the private sector that comes through with on the ground aid. Charity and help for your fellow man when down and out is the operative word here, not government to the rescue, because it is dysfunctional at best in matters of the human soul and can only do so much on the street level. That’s when true social justice steps in to help those suffering in the world and it has always been so.
It should be read by everyone and anyone for use as a talking point when trying to convey to sincere but naive do-gooders what the Left's phony "social justice" REALLY is.....and how social volunteerism in the private sector is the true humanitarianism.
The word "Justice" has nothing to do with humanitarianism. It's an historical commie buzzword always related to class envy and divisiveness (the old divide and conquer gambit).
All dots have to be connected when dealing with the lexicon of the Left.
Here in CT, pro-life Len Suzio was defeated in his re-election as you know, 50.2% to 49.8%. I am giving the credit to “The Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry of the Archdiocese of Hartford.”
They held their election grassroots organizing meeting right in Len’s district in Middletown, the town that went heavily for the Catholic Contraception Lady:
Graduate of Mercy Catholic High School, free contraception paid by the state, more state money for Planned Parenthood, endorsed by NARAL.
The September Newsletter:
Franciscan Spirituality and Grassroots Organizing, St. Pius X Church, Middletown
Injustice. Injustice, and judgementalism.
Wait til these *******s get a load of what happens when the HHS Mandate hits. It’ll almost be worth it. Almost.
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