In honor of our one-year anniversary, we are going to highlight some of our past pieces on various themes and topics this week. Today we’d like to share posts on six issues related to Catholic Social Teaching.
Poverty and Economic Justice
Hear this, you who trample upon the poor!
Paul Fahey reminds us of scripture’s exhortation to take care of the poor. “The Church commands that we see all our economic decisions as moral decisions. Do I pay attention to where I shop and how they treat their employees? Do I care where the products I purchase are made and if the laborers are treated humanely? Do I support politicians and policies that undermine the dignity of the poor and vulnerable?”
Six principles from Oeconomicae et pecuniariae
Theologian Adam Rasmussen breaks down the new CDF document on economic justice. “Over and over again, the document insists that the dignity of every human person be respected by all financial actors and institutions. If the dignity of persons is violated, that is morally wrong, no matter how much money the violation earns. No attempt is made to list possible violations (I would offer as examples unsafe and inhumane working conditions, underpaying workers, various forms of humiliation, union-busting). Instead, the basic principle is stated that human beings are not just ‘consumers.’”
I was a Stranger, and You Took My Children
Guest contributor Benjamin O’Hearn offers a compelling plea for immigration justice, reflecting on the crisis at the US/Mexico border. “Previously, prosecutors had discretion about whether or not to pursue criminal charges in addition to the civil penalty. However, recently the attorney general changed policy – all adults must be prosecuted. In practice, this means that federal agents will incarcerate each adult, separating children from their parents. The forced separation of families is an evil thing. … And, thankfully, our Bishops have spoken up on this issues.”
Hospitality and nonviolence: cousins, not twins
John Cavanaugh-O’Keefe reflects on the relationship between justice for immigrants and the right to life for the unborn. “One might say it’s about a consistent approach to hospitality. I’ve been working for six years to link abortion and immigration. And I learned slowly that most people consider hospitality to be a decoration, like flowers on the table, not a matter of immense and eternal significance like justice and truth.”
The Death Penalty
Death penalty – A Catholic nation’s experience
Pedro Gabriel reflects on his own nation’s experience with abolishing the death penalty, and how it was done in a conservative, predominantly Catholic, society. He reaches out to American Catholics, many of whom are resistant to the development of Church teaching on the death penalty. “I wish to break this intellectual trap into which so many of my American brethren have fallen prey. I’ll do so by writing about the experience of a Catholic country, very conservative by European standards until very recently, that did away with the death penalty before the Sexual Revolution came onto the scene. I’m talking about my own country: Portugal.”
The Death Penalty and the Mystery of Mercy
In this piece, Mike Lewis reflects on the issues of the death penalty and lifetime imprisonment by taking a look at his own family’s history. “Regarding the death penalty, I owe my existence to the last-minute commutation of a death sentence and the eventual pardon of my great-grandfather, who murdered a child in 1904.”
Abortion and Life issues
Pope Francis, pro-life champion (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
Pedro Gabriel takes an in-depth look at Pope Francis’s record on speaking out against abortion. “Let us turn our attention specifically to how Pope Francis has dealt with abortion and euthanasia since his election. The first part of this series will cover Francis’ actions, while the second and third parts will cover his teachings on these matters.”
The Church is not simply anti-abortion
Brian Killian explores the roots of the Catholic pro-life stance, and distinguishes the pro-life stance from being simply against abortion. “Being against something is ambiguous, it lacks context. We don’t really know what a person is for just by knowing what he is against. On the other hand, tell me what you are for and I can tell a lot about what you’re against. Being “anti” something is also ambivalent. If I don’t know why a person is against something then I have no way to tell if their being against that thing is good or bad.”
The Tall Tale of the Hippie Pope
Joe Dantona reflects on Laudato Si’, and the misconceptions surrounding it. “To limit the Pope’s letter to the narrow vision of modern green movements is the basis for each faction ignoring it, but it is a basis which is decidedly baseless. It is true that the Pope discusses the global environmental crisis, pollution, energy production, and climate change. These issues are not the Pope’s primary focus. The Holy Father is using these issues to get at a deeper message. What is happening to our common home reflects what has happened to us.”
Laudato Si’ in 2019: We need each other
Dan Amiri analyzes the core themes of Francis’s environmental encyclical. “To summarize Laudato Si’s essential theological points: through valuing God’s creation as a gift to each of us, we learn to respect the harmony inherent in God’s design and work for their fulfillment according to God’s plan. All God’s creation expresses a natural order of interdependence, a system that each of us belong to and must necessarily protect, for both our physical and spiritual welfare. The degradation of our natural environment, therefore, is a reflection of the degradation of our own hearts.”
Youth Unemployment and the Loneliness of the Old
Youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old: Serious social evils
Mike Lewis explores two social evils that Pope Francis has been mocked by his critics for his description of them as “the most serious.” He writes, “Setting aside the fact that Scalfari doesn’t take notes or record his interviews, and that these words are merely a reconstruction based upon Scalfari’s memory of the conversation, Francis’s seemingly simple and oblivious response is actually quite sublime in the way it captures two important facets of the interconnectedness of creation and the impact of human action or inaction on society.”
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Mike Lewis is the founding managing editor of Where Peter Is. He and Jeannie Gaffigan co-host Field Hospital, a U.S. Catholic podcast.