Goal Two of the strategic plan focuses on increasing members’ knowledge of Catholic Social Teaching, advocacy for the vulnerable, and cooperating with other faith organizations and government in our advocacy efforts. So, what exactly is social justice? How is social justice different from charity? What are the roots of social justice and how has Catholic faith supported the principles of social justice? These questions will all be answered over the next four years as the working groups develop action plans to address these topics.
To help provide an overview, consider these seven principles of Catholic Social Teaching:
- life and dignity of the human person
- call to family, community and participation/the common good
- rights and responsibilities
- option for the poor and vulnerable
- dignity of work and rights of workers
- care for God’s creation/stewardship
Each topic is broad and finds its roots in our most ancient practices, values and scripture texts. The foundational event of the Hebrew scriptures sees a God who listens to the voice of a people living in slavery and injustice and who does something about it! God sends Moses! Our Hebrew ancestors carried within their consciousness a sense of liberated slaves who were called by God to live justly in their societal laws, customs and religious practices. Repeatedly in their sacred writings, they identify who the most vulnerable and oppressed were in society—the widow, the orphan and the refugee—some things have not changed!
The Christian scriptures likewise are filled with examples of how Jesus lived these values as He taught His disciples about what God’s vision of “The Kingdom” looked like. One hundred years ago, women filled with this same spirit, founded The Catholic Women’s League of Canada, and here we are today! It is in our soul. It is in our hearts! It is in our spirit to live the same way.
I encourage each of you to educate yourselves about some of these key principles and how they are already part of your life, family, and parish community. As baptized followers of Christ, we dedicate ourselves to living as He lived, and “putting on the mind of Christ” which will help light the way we need to go as we make social justice one of the pillars and core values of the League of the future.