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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

101 - 110 of 198 Comments

  1. kean
    4 years ago

    Pete, Maybe we do not have to abandon the term in our Churches official documents and theology. But in the vernacular, we have already lost the definintional issue of social justice. So since we live in a day-to-day world with the meaning of terms that misconstrue the true philosopically sound definition, new laymans language would go a long way in winning hearts and minds.

  2. Pete Brady
    4 years ago

    Before anyone goes hard over in thinking that the Church should abandon the term "social justice" I'd like to again recommend that they first read the "social" encyclicals, beginning with those of Leo XIII, "Socialism, Communism, Nihilism" 1878, through his "Rerum Novarum" 1891, to Pius XI's "After Forty Years" (Quadragesimo Anno) 1931, to Pope John Paul II's 1991 encyclical "On the Hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum" (Centesimus Annus). To change the term is like saying we don't really believe in the heart of the matter the Church addresses in these documents. If you change it to something else, would it have the same meaning, would anyone be able to "connect" the 'new' term with what the Church has already written on the matter for almost 150 years? And not have someone say 'you can't be taken seriously because you won't even stand behind your previous views, the ones you espoused for over a century?' Instead of starting over, the usurped or "thieved" words "social justice" should be used as an opportunity to re-invigorate, cast a 'new' light, on what the Church has to say that IS IMPORTANT to society today and tomorrow. It should be used as a means to re-examine what the Church meant to man in that time that was known as Christendom, or for the secularists, the "Dark Ages." Christ and His Church has meaning in the every day life of man, to include what is socially "just." To get a brief look at the just eclipsed "modern" sense of the term "social justice" I would also recommend that anyone interested read "Within the Market Strife (American Catholic Economic Thought from Rerum Novarum to Vatican II)" by Kevin E. Schmiesing. To get an initial understanding of the classical liberal expression of economics and "social justice" I would recommend "Faith and Liberty (The Economic Thought of the Late Scholastics)" by Alejandro A. Chafuen. And to round them out as they might interface with the Austrian School of Economics I would again recommend "The Church and the Market (A Catholic Defense of the Free Market)" by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. All three (and others) can be found through an internet search for the "Acton Institute." My final thought here is, again, I just don't know how we as Catholics can abandon the term "social justice" to the thieves and not lose every bit of the heart of the matter it addresses, as well as the truth of it that the Church has addressed in her "social" encyclicals.

  3. vance
    4 years ago

    Bulbajer, the issue is violence not gun ownership. The Liberal Establishment has owned Hollywood for decades. If you noticed, the movies these liberals produce are graphically violent. For the last 40 years Americans grew up watching blood splatter movies. You remember quite well when conservatives and church faithful complained about the contents of the Liberal Establishment movies. Now what did you Liberals say? Art is a reflection of life. As I explained to my children and others the 'Blood Splatter' movies are an exageration of life and an outright distortion of life. We don't have a violent society becuase of gun ownership but because the Liberal church leaders forfieted the American culture to you guys. You Left-Winger have successfully produced a group of young violent people who are filling the jails and prisons as fast as the doors can open. The issue isn't controlling guns, it's controlling Hollywood. No, don't give me the 1st Amendment happy crap. You guys have yelled fire in the theater long enough.

  4. Kean
    4 years ago

    Susan, I agree with your sentiments. These posts have gone far afield of the topic of the Deacons Article. Deacon F, while no one should charge the stage, I think your thesis that Catholics should take back the term social justice is intellectually strong, but weak in a media dominated culture. We have lost the control of language, and the hijacking of terms like "social justice", "gay", and others has made reasonable discourse impossible. In society, and within the Catholic Church, we are resembling the tower of Bable. We need new terminology in everyday discourse in order to accurately make the Catholic points of principle, and not have them distorted by those who fundamentally oppose the Church. I agree the term has been co-opted by the left and thus it will be attacked by the right. Since the left dominates the media, the "thieves" now own the term. I agree with a minority of posts, and believe we need to concede defeat and let them have it and stick with "Social Doctrine". Doctrine is teaching, or a teaching and that is the Church's role. Too many anit-Catholics, Socialists and Marxists use Social Justice for their own ends and the term is perveted to their uses. Redefinition of terms innow a tactic for those that embrace socialism and much worse social constructs. While the Church's teaching on socialism is clear, most Catholics do not know it. If they do know it, the language gets so muddled that others misunderstand the meaning of the terms..
    Our language is not accurate and prone to distortion. Unlike the language of the Church, we do not have in English the richness and accuracy of Latin. I suggest you rethink your desire to take back the term. I think that battle should have been fought 30 years ago in the Catholic Church in America. We have lost the beachhead and need new terminology that is not already so polluted as to confuse the citiznery.
    If you would like some very specific evidence, just read these posts above and see how the language of one commenter, is used - with a different meaning - by another. Viva Jesus! Thanks for your wonderful Articles

  5. Sara Palen
    4 years ago

    Gun control is germane to the topic of social justice becaause the USSCB has put it under their heading of Justice, peace and human development. and if we are not careful "the common good" will be used as an excuse to elimnate a natural duty, existing before civil government, of one to protect himself and his family.These are not hypotheticals. they happen on a daily basis.

    The USSCB has a link to the Sept. 11, 1975 statement from the Committee on Social Development and World Peace. They do not say one is a cafeteria Catholic if he does not believe banning hand guns will solve the problem. They acknowledge people of good faith may disagree on this issue. They also say, "We are of course concerned about the rights of the individual, as these rights are grounded in the Constitution and in the universal design of our Creator. We are convinced that our position is entirely in accord with the rights guaranteed by our Constitution and particularly with the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution and these rights have been clarified by the United States Supreme Court. We affirm the traditional principle that individual rights to private property are limited by the universal demands of social order and human safety as well as the common good"

    Shouldn't the social order start with the family? Should the duty to protect myself be taken away because other's didordered criminal activity. This, they do not address. Sorry, but God has planted a strong compulsion of protection, like a mama bear to protect myself and my family. That is in the natural order. This does not mean I feel no compassion for those effected by gun violence.

    This statement on the website is now misleading as the last two SCOTUS opinions have ruled in favor of individuals having a right to keep and bear a handgun for self defense. The bishops need to clarify this with a more in depth history of legitimate self defense. Protecting oneself and family is not as quantitatively documented as death by handguns (with which statistics can be skewed in many ways). but the tyranny that can happen under governments who alone have total control the use of weapons can also be documented. There is that possibility of even worse destruction by law enforcement.

    This is why it is germane. It is possibly one of those areas in which "social justice" is being hijacked. I.e.-calling someone a cafeteria Catholic who disagrees with the banning of all handguns.

  6. Susan
    4 years ago

    I think the term "social justice" is beyond redemption because of Marxism. It means government (forced) redistribution of wealth with a gun put to the back of the head in the form of IRS. Nothing Catholic about it. I think the Church needs to educate people on why Marxism is so vile and evil. Too many young people think there is absolutely nothing wrong with socialism/Marxism when it has ALWAYS led to the road to Serfdom--the loss of freedom and worse--millions dead. They wear Che T-shirts, as do their idols. My point--there are good, young people who think Marxism is kind and nice....and look who they put into office. The Church needs to ignore their nonprofit status like the other Protestant Churches are now doing and bring back God into the Public Square. It is illegal to silence religion in this country (so far) but it will soon be impossible if we do not take this country back from the socialist/Marxists. They are trying to silence all Christians so that their socialist secular hedonism reigns. Religion led our Founding Fathers and religion should lead us back into a society that is free from government intrusions, so that woman can afford to care for their babies in the formative lives and keep their families together and make them strong.

  7. Pete Brady
    4 years ago

    Since the USCCB statement on Arizona's "immigration law" (SB 1070) has been introduced, I think it proper to continue to comment on it, in particular the statement, "SB 1070 is symptomatic of the absence of federal leadership on the issue of immigration. For years now, the U.S. Catholic bishops have called upon Congress and two Administrations to enact meaningful and just comprehensive immigration reform." Lack of "federal leadership," true. But this does not begin to address the root problem. For that we must go back to the year 1965. And the Immigration Act of 1965. But a quick history first. And I get this from Pat Buchanan's book, "State of Emergency." As a result of anarchist (Communist) bombings in front of the home of U.S. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer in 1919, and one in a pushcart at "Wall and Broad" in the financial district of Manhattan in 1920 that killed 31 and wounded hundreds more, the U.S. enacted the Quota Law of 1921 that rolled back immigration to 357,000 a year. It was further scaled back to 160,000 a year in 1924. After 1924 immigration fell dramatically so that by the 1930s it was at 50,000 a year. It was halted during WWII. After the war 400,000 Displaced Persons were brought in. The National Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 provided for the naturalization of Japanese, Koreans, and other East Asians. Responding to a flood of "illegals" from Mexico that climbed from a few thousand after WWII to a million a year by 1954, President Eisenhower had the INS round up illegals and deport them back to Mexico. It was seen largely as a success, as by the end of Eisenhower's administration, the numbers of "illegals" had fallen 90 percent. But everything changed in 1965. Senator Edward Kennedy would state as chairman of the subcommittee conducting hearings on the proposed immigration bill: "[O]ur cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same... Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset... Contrary to the charges in some quarters, S. 500 will not inundate America with immigrants from any other country or area, or the most populated and economically deprived nations of Africa and Asia..." Truth?, 'cause it passed. Why make such a statement? Kennedy (Teddy) made this statement because a Harris Poll conducted in 1965 found that a majority of the country, BY TWO TO ONE, did not want any easing of the immigration laws. NOW WHY DOES THAT SOUND FAMILIAR? THE PEOPLE ARE AGAINST IT BUT CONGRESS GOES AHEAD ANYWAY. I KNOW I'VE HEARD THAT SOMEWHERE RECENTLY. WHERE??? Oh, yes, healthcare. And so, was the "executioner's axe sharp?" In a statement before the American Immigration Control Foundation in 2006 Dean Steven Gillon of the Honors College of the University of Oklahoma said: "The U.S. added at least 40 million immigrants after 1965. Before 1965, 95 percent of the new immigrants had come from Europe. After 1965, 95 percent came from the Third World. The 1965 act has transformed American society and had consequences exactly the opposite of what we were promised." Got that? Lied to!!! Classic "bait and switch!" Within our generation "illegals" are arriving at the rate of 500,000 a year, and our government has abandoned its constitutional responsibilities. That is where "federal leadership" is lacking. No, failing. Miserably. Do we really think that what Eisenhower did, we can't? Here's leadership, "Shut down the border!" No amnesty, no "anchor babies," no "chain migration," end dual citizenship (like when, during America's Gulf War with Iraq, then Congressman Rahm Emanuel, went to Israel and joined THEIR army), temporarily suspend all immigration, deport "illegals," and enforce current immigration laws. It can be done. MUST BE DONE.

  8. Pete Brady
    4 years ago

    Tony: With regard to the AZ immigration law and the "condemnation" of the bishops in its regard I found your reference to be wanting. The document uses the words "strongly opposing," which does not rise to the level of "condemnation." The statement of Bishop John C. Wester was weak, based more on conjecture of what 'might' happen than the actual fact of the law. The AZ law does not call for "racial profiling" but rather support of Federal immigration law pursuant to 'normal' police procedures. The bishop forecasts "ineffective consequences," but the AZ law IS HAVING an effect on deterring "illegals." Again, the USCCB statement is distinctly "weak." It is also representative of the generally "liberal" bias resident in the USCCB bureaucracy. As I've said before, a very necessary distinction must be made between "immigration" and "invasion." Is it an "invasion?" In his book, "A Nation of Immigrants," President John F. Kennedy noted that in the 350 year history of America, covering the time from Jamestown to President Eisenhower, 42 million people migrated to America. Those immigrants were by far and away "legal," and --- following the admonition of the Catechism's CCC 2241 --- were "assimilated" into the culture of America. Today, we have over 20 million "illegal" immigrants in this country. When the "illegals" are combined with legal immigrants, 36 million have entered this country in just the past 50 years. Staggering! That's 36 million in 50 years compared to 42 million in all of the 350 years immediately preceding. The numbers alone describe "invasion," not "immigration." As Samuel P. Huntington in his book, "Clash of Civilizations" puts it: "If over one million Mexican soldiers crossed the border Americans would treat it as a major threat to their national security and react accordingly. The invasion of over one million Mexican civilians, as [Mexican President Vicente] Fox seems to recommend, would be a comparable threat to American societal security." But it is more than the numbers. There is also a political dimension to the picture. In 1998 Mexican consul general Jose Pescador Osuna stated, "Even though I am saying this part serious, part joking, I think we are practicing La Reconquista in California." Mario Obledo, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (and recipient of the Medal of Freedom from President Clinton) said: "California is going to be a Mexican State. We are going to control all the institutions. If people don't like it, they should leave." 'White' Californians have in fact been doing that, particularly after Proposition 187, prohibiting 'welfare' to illegals, was wrongly overturned by the judiciary. And the institutions? Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles, was, at one time, chairman of MEChA, whose slogan is, "For our race, everything. For those outside our race nothing." That's the "bronze" race of the Aztlan vision for people of Mexican heritage. MEChA demands the return of the entire United States Southwest to Mexico. Charles Truxillo, a professor of Chicano Studies at the University of New Mexico says that "Aztlan" will have its capital in Los Angeles. Connecting the dots thus far? The U.S. State Department reported that in the five years before 2000 there were 55 "military" incursions of Mexican "soldiers" crossing the border, firing shots, and pursuing the U.S. Border Patrol. Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo once told Mexican-Americans living in Dallas, TX, "You are Mexicans, Mexicans who live north of the border." Hmmmm?!?! Why did Arizona think it necessary to pass SB 1070, the "AZ immigration law?" As Pat Buchanan points out in his book, "The Death of the West," he visited Theresa Murray, an 82-year old great-grandmother living in a ranch house in Douglas, Arizona surrounded by a seven-foot high chain-link fence topped by concertina razor wire. Every door and window in her house has bars on it. And, an alarm on each of them. She sleeps with a .32-caliber pistol because she's been burglarized THIRTY TIMES! You will no doubt be able to guess by whom. Douglas, Arizona is a town of 18,000 on the main invasion route into the U.S. The U. S. Border Patrol arrests 27,000 illegals A MONTH there. 18,000 residents, and half-again as many "illegals" arrested EVERY MONTH as the American citizens who live there. That's an INVASION! And they would likely much rather have SB 1070 than the USCCB.

  9. Pete Brady
    4 years ago

    Tony, and others: Don't know how "gun control" is germane to the topic of "social justice." However, it is a topic of the comments thus far. Tony, I still don't see where the bishops have called for guns to be 'outlawed' from private citizens in any of the references you've given. For the Church to come out for unqualified 'gun control' would be to deny man his natural right to "self-defense.' As I said, the Church cannot proscribe that a person bring a 'knife to a gunfight.' The statement by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Apostolic Nuncio, you reference is just that, a statement, not a church teaching, and it calls not for gun control but rather "better focused research into the dynamics of conflicts, crimes and violence." That is its aim not gun control.

  10. Pete Brady
    4 years ago

    Tony: This is a stand-alone comment from the ones that follow it. While I may disagree with you on any number of the points you make I want to at least recognize the fact that you back up what you are saying with legitimate references, primarily USCCB statements but references nonetheless. It's to your credit.


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