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Social Justice: Take Back the Term from the Thieves and Build a New Catholic Action Comments

Some have begun to use the phrase "Social Justice" in a disparaging manner. They want to expose the error committed by some who have stolen the term "Social Justice" to hide a "leftist" political agenda. There are others who use it but reject the existence of objective moral truths meant to govern our life together. However, some words and phrases must be rescued when they are stolen. Social Justice is such a ... Continue Reading

1 - 10 of 198 Comments

  1. Tony
    4 years ago

    As deacon Keith wisely put it in another one of his writings: "The “politicized” language has not served us well. We should not first be “conservatives”, “neo-Conservatives,”, “liberals”, “progressives”, Democrats, Republicans…. or any permutation of these political labels. We must first be Catholic Christians, standing in the middle of the fullness of wisdom which the Magisterium of our Church offers us in her Social Doctrine and seeking to make the truths and principles which that instruction offers to us the leaven of all our work to build a more just society. "

    Choose Catholicism over political allegiance.

  2. Tony
    4 years ago

    I will not be able to post here again for a while due to my job and assignments for my graduate classes, but I'll make one last post for now. Paul was very critical of the USCCB as others have been. While the USCCB on its own is not the Magisterium of the Church, American Catholics are required to listen to them and to follow their decisions. Look at this quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church - found at the very beginning of the Catechism. "This catechism is not intended to replace the local catechisms duly approved by the ecclesiastical authorities, the diocesan Bishops and the Episcopal Conferences, especially if they have been approved by the Apostolic See. It is meant to encourage and assist in the writing of new local catechisms, which take into account various situations and cultures, while carefully preserving the unity of faith and fidelity to catholic doctrine." ~ Pope John Paul II, Section 3 of APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION FIDEI DEPOSITUM - ON THE PUBLICATION OF THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. Right here, Pope John Paul II is saying that local Episcopal Conferences are to take the Catechism of the Catholic Church and apply its teachings to their local community, and that Catholics are supposed to follow the teachings of local Bishops. Now, the USCCB are ENTIRELY faithful to Catholic teaching in everything they teach. They have taken the Catechism and they have applied it to our own needs. Thus, we must follow them in their support of immigrants and their support of health care for the poor. If anyone simply says that the USCCB is too 'liberal,' you are DENYING the Church itself. The Catechism tells us to follow our local bishops and to agree with their application of Church teaching to our particular society. I believe that my most recent posts prove once and for all - if you're willing to actually read what I wrote and take it to heart - that the USCCB is authentically Catholic, that the Church does in fact condemn the Iraq War and the death penalty, that the Church does endorse compassion to immigrants over hatred and apathy towards them, and that the Church does condone health care for those who cannot afford it. Truly, anyone who does not see this is ignoring the Church itself, therefore ignoring Christ Himself. Please, wake up and overcome your political biases, stop making excuses and reasons to disagree with the Church, stop labeling every Church teaching that you disagree with as 'liberal,' stop placing your own political opinions over the Church itself, and simply listen to the Catholic Church which is neither liberal nor conservative, but simply the source of all truth. Thanks for reading my posts and may God dearly bless all of you.

  3. Tony
    4 years ago

    Last but not least, Pete (and everyone) I would highly recommend reading - in addition to the Catechism of the Catholic Church - the Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church. Deacon Keith makes references to it in the article I posted above. It's a wonderful book, and I believe that if most of you read it you would have a much better understanding of true Church teaching. It's an official book put out by the Catholic Church, developed by the Vatican itself. Pope John Paul II called for its composition. It is sound Catholic teaching. It's essentially a book containing a summary of the Church's teaching on society at large, which makes ample references as to why the Church would oppose the Iraq War, the death penalty, and why the Church is compassionate towards immigrants and supports health care for the poor.

  4. Tony
    4 years ago

    Sara Palen - actually, yes, what you and Pete and others have done is actually very Protestant in nature. While the Church is certainly steeped in natural law theory and emphasizes listening to one's conscience, it is the Church who ultimately has authority. Pete attempted to demonstrate how the Iraq War fits the criteria of the Catholic Church's just war doctrine. But guess what? It didn't work. In fact, when Pete researched what the Popes actually taught about the Iraq War, he found that they were rigorously opposed to it. If you research the matter further, you'll find that Catholic bishops in every country of the world, including our own, were virtually unanimously opposed to the Iraq War. The only 'Catholics' who supported the Iraq War were simply American Catholics. So who should we listen to? The Pope and the bishops of the entire world? Or American Catholics? I'd say that's a no-brainer. Essentially, Pete did what a Protestant does. Pete took the Catechism of the Catholic Church and attempted to interpret the Just War Doctrine to fit his own needs. He took the book of the Catholic Church and skewed it to support the Iraq War when it does not. What do Protestants do? They take the Bible - the word of God - and interpret it to fit their own needs. They ignore the true meaning of it. Protestants take a book of divine revelation, ignore authority, and interpret it however they like. That's exactly what Pete did in his attempt to make the Iraq War fit the Just War doctrine, and apparently that's exactly what you do as well. Who's word should we take? Pete's or the Pope's? Pete and I are simply lay people who have decent knowledge of Church teaching, but we are not experts. The Pope, the bishops, have studied theology their entire lives. They are more knowledgeable than we can ever hope to be on Church teaching. My knowledge and Pete's knowledge are incomparably inferior to the knowledge of the Pope. So is yours, Sara. It's insulting to say that you, who may read the Catechism occasionally, can be a Catholic in good standing while disagreeing with the vicar of Christ who has devoted his entire life to understanding Catholic theology, who is more knowledgeable of our great Catholic faith than you will most likely ever hope to be. Yes, Catholics should pray over teachings and let their consciences guide them. But ultimately, it is the Church who has the ultimate authority. So Sara, if you'd like to disagree with the Pope and official Church teaching, that's fine. But if that's the case, I'd recommend you find a Protestant church, because your approach is Protestant and individualist. It's not Catholic. I certainly hope you will stay with the Catholic Church, but you need to be aware that Catholics must accept Church teaching if they hope to be Catholics in good standing. While Pete mentioned that technically speaking Catholics may be allowed to disagree with the Church's teachings on the death penalty and the Iraq War because they are not matters of doctrine but rather matters of applying doctrine (which I am well aware), there truly is no reason to disagree with the Church on these matters. Disagreeing on these matters shows that one is not aligned with Catholic theology, since the condemnation of the Iraq War and the death penalty come fully out of true Catholic theology. Rather, disagreeing with these matters shows that one is very, very, very far away from Catholic theology. Essentially, one might as well be a Protestant if one disagrees with the Church's condemnation of the death penalty and Iraq War.

  5. Tony
    4 years ago

    Please do not take my criticism of you personally, Vance. I am usually not so harsh, but I fear that you will push people away from the Church. It is people like you who have very little knowledge of Church teaching - while simultaneously claiming to be Catholic - who turn people away. You mistake your brain-washed right-wing ideas to be authentic Catholic teaching when they in fact are not, and then those around you mistake your beliefs for true Catholic teaching when they are not. That is essentially scandalous. You need to be put in your place if you're going to claim to represent the Church when your beliefs in fact go against much of what the Church actually teaches. I do not doubt your sincerity, I'm sure you're an upstanding citizen, but your beliefs simply contradict Catholicism.

  6. Tony
    4 years ago

    Now, let's take a look at the last thing you wrote to me, Vance: "Anything that remotely challenges your ideology will automatically be rejected. You, like the Liberal ideologues with whom I worked, do not grow or progress as individuals. You are in a continuous defensive mode warding off anything that challenges your ideology that you hold sacred. It is sacred to you because you have such a heavy emotion invested in your ideology." You see, Vance, your own comments turn against you. It is you who rejects anything that challenges your ideology, you who do not grow or progress, you who are intensely emotionally invested in your right-wing ideology. I have shown you countless Catholic references which show that the Church teaches against what you believe, yet you reject it. You, Vance, are the one who's caught in an emotional vortex. I suggest you read up on what the Church actually teaches. Your knowledge of Church teaching is apparently unacceptably poor. Your opinions show that you either know nothing of Catholic teaching or reject it entirely. Whatever you believe is fine, you have a right to believe whatever you believe - but do not dare pretend that your beliefs are Catholic. They are not. End of story.

  7. Tony
    4 years ago

    Vance, I have a little extra time on my hands this morning and I felt compelled to post a few more comments here. Please do not take this as a personal attack, but a few things have become quite obvious to me after re-reading some of your posts on this article. For one thing, I don't appreciate the following comment of yours: "Tony, I read your posts and concluded that you are an individual who is so steeped in Liberal Establishment ideology that you have no ability to intellectually challenge yourself. I know this well because I have worked for years with individuals like yourself." You seem to be very sure of yourself and your ultimate judgment of me. Vance, you have never even met me. You don't know the first thing about me. You are in no place to judge me, and I am most likely nothing like the individuals you have worked with. Your condescending tone is quite offensive and unfounded. You seem quick to judge, as if you're hiding behind something. Secondly, you mentioned: "I read where you were impressed with his (Pete's) answers BUT your sociopathic nature will not allow yourself to think, "yes, he might be correct.".Yes, I was impressed with Pete's response, but it was not because he posted any material with which I was not familiar. I had read all of the Catechism quotes he had posted. It was nothing new to me. I was simply impressed with his knowledge not because it was superior to mine, but simply because the majority of Catholics who ignore the Church's condemnation of the Iraq War are generally entirely illiterate when it comes to knowledge of the Catechism. Vance, you are a prime example of this. I re-read through every single post you made on this board, and guess what? Vance, you have not made A SINGLE REFERENCE to ANY document put out by the Catholic Church. NOT ONE. No reference to the Catechism, no reference to Papal Encyclicals, nothing. I, on the other hand, have made countless intelligent references to countless Catechism sections and Papal Encyclicals, backing up everything I say with a Church teaching. Yet, you simply ignore what I say. You just label me as a 'liberal,' an evil, evil liberal. I've already told you, I'm a moderate like all Catholics ought to be. I am against abortion and gay marriage, against the death penalty, against unnecessary wars, compassionate towards immigrants and for health care coverage for the poor. I have showed Church sources supporting all of these teachings. What have you shown to back up your opinions? Nothing, Vance, absolutely nothing. You are simply a self-proclaimed expert. In all honesty, Vance, I doubt that you have researched true Catholic teaching. I don't think you know the first thing about Catholic teaching, I truly don't. When I made my points about the Iraq War, Pete did the right thing. He researched it. And what did he find? He found that both of our recent Popes were much more fervently opposed to the Iraq War than he thought. Although Pete and I may be on similar grounds in terms of knowledge of the Catechism, I seem to be much more familiar with what the Church has taught on the Iraq War and other modern-day issues, as I was already very familiar with the Pope's critiques of the war which was new to Pete. Nevertheless, Pete was open-minded and researched the matter. What did you do, Vance? Nothing. You just criticized me without researching anything that the Church teaches. Your approach is absolutely childlike, stubborn and unintelligent. After Pete posted some Catechism quotes, you said: "Pete, your literary skills and intellectual prowess have me beat by a 1,000 miles. I'm glad you showed up because I have learned much from you and your research." In all honesty, Pete's quotes were basic quotes from the Catechism that every Catholic should be familiar with. If the quotes from the Catechism that Pete and I are citing are new to you, it's because you're an inexcusably uninformed Catholic who knows very little, if anything, about the Church's teachings. Pete and I are not experts. We're simply Catholics who are familiar with the basic teachings of the Church. You apparently can't claim to be familiar with even the basic social teachings of the Church.

  8. Tony
    4 years ago

    Dear 'all,' I returned to this site just today for the first time in over a month, it was interesting to read all of the responses. I did have to take a month to focus on my career and school work. I did not mention that in addition to my job, I am attending Grad School, so life is quite hectic and I was thus unable to continue posting here due to my workload. I would briefly like to respond to a few posts. Pete, I would love nothing more than to continue this conversation with you, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think we both became more enriched in the teachings of the Church while researching various viewpoints. You had mentioned that you were not aware of how outspoken PJII and BXVI were in regards to both Iraq Wars (I was personally discussing the 2nd war) until later researching. I think many American Catholics were not aware of that fact either. I have read the quote of BXVI that you posted (regarding abortion and euthanasia) of which I have been aware. Although Catholics are 'permitted' to disagree with the Vatican and the Pope to an extent on such issues, the question I pose is... why? When the Church is very outspoken in its condemnation of the death penalty, and when both Popes were rigorously condemning of the Iraq War... shouldn't one examine one's conscience to see if one's opinions are truly representative of Catholic theology? If both Popes, after much prayer and reflection i'm sure, are condemning of certain right-wing beliefs and yet we disagree with them... are we really in the 'right'? (that pun was actually not intended). And yes it's true that the Catechism mentions that the ultimate decision of whether or not to wage war lies in the hands of responsible countries... would you agree with an Islamic country waging war on the US? I wouldn't think so. Obviously, then, just because a country wages war does not mean that that country is morally correct in doing so. And again, look at the rigorous opposition of our Popes in both circumstances. My intention, again, for posting here was simply out of concern that Catholics are not putting allegiance to the Church above their own politics. Ironically, Deacon Keith wrote an article in 2005 saying EXACTLY what I have been getting at. Here's the link: Deacon Keith says that Catholics should be neither liberal nor conservative, but simply morally correct. Vance, your charge of me talking simply out of 'emotion' is completely unfounded. I sited as many valid Catholic sources (Catechism, encyclicals, etc.) as did Pete, and yet you accuse me of speaking only out of emotion. I'm afraid that it is you who speaks merely out of emotion. You are constantly mentioned the 'liberal establishment' as evil. Does any Catholic document ever, ONCE, mention that? No. Clearly, you are simply writing out of political bias. I question how much knowledge of Catholic doctrine you truly have. As for me being a teacher, I actually teach in a very conservative area, yet the parents all like me very much, as do the students. I teach authentic Catholic doctrine, and many of my students have turned from lifestyles of drugs, sex and excessive drinking to lives of Rosary-recitation and frequent Confession trips. That being said, I am not attacking you in any personal way, but I do genuinely question your knowledge of Catholcism. Pete is quite well-versed, but I do believe that his beliefs don't necessarily always go hand in hand with Catholic doctrine. While disagreeing on issues that Catholics are 'allowed' to disagree on, this does not constitute sound Catholic thinking. I have prayed for all of you everyday since my last post here. Thank you once again for this discussion, I will attempt to visit this page again in the future when I get the chance. God Bless all of you!

  9. Anne
    4 years ago

    " It would be completely false and illusory to defend, political, economic or social rights which do not comprehend a vigorous defense of the right to life from conception to natural end. When it comes to defending the weakest, who is more defenseless than an unborn child or a patient in a vegetative or comatose state? " - Pope Benedict.

  10. Pete Brady
    4 years ago

    Vance: Thank you again for thinking well of what I contribute. I don't think what I try to do here is beyond what anyone else could do. I have three very well worn books that are my "go-to" resources. The first, like Tony's, is the Catechism. The moral truth is found there. For those who reject faith and God it is oftentimes not enough, however, so my second heavy-hitter is "Right and Reason (Ethics in Theory and Practice)" by Father Austin Fagothey, S.J., because it is a comprehensive integration of the teachings of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. Third, "Original Intent" by David Barton because it is by far one of the most thoroughly researched and documented books on what the Founders of this nation intended. After those three, I find myself referring to the prolific writings of Hilaire Belloc. And of late, anything on the Austrian School of Economics (von Mises, Hayek, and Rothbard), which I suppose puts me squarely in the "right-wing" camp. Lastly, there are a number of books from the Acton Institute, a Catholic group, that appear "agreeable" to the Austrian school. Whoops, I do not want to forget the church's encyclicals. Leo XIII is great, as well as Pius X & XI, and John Paul. By the way, I like what you do, which is to generally get a rise out of the opposition!

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