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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

121 - 130 of 198 Comments

  1. Pete Brady
    4 years ago

    John Grimes: "Period," John, "Period." You know, that little dot that comes at the end of a sentence. Granted, with all the quotation marks it's hard to see but it's there. One sentence of Andrew's - We must help those unable to help themselves - "Subsidiarity", "Social Justice" and "Solidarity". And then the next, "Socialism", "Communism", and all forms of "Collectivism" are prohibited. But that's okay, I also occasionally will shoot first and ask questions later.

  2. Pete Brady
    4 years ago

    Tony: You're a better man than me. I appreciate your comments. And, actually, our sentiments are not that far apart. Agreed, one should pay particular heed to our bishops. There are times, though, when it really requires a good deal of discernment to understand what they are saying. And there are other times when I have a good deal of frustration with their lack of leadership. Case in point, ballot issues come before us on such things as 'parental notification for a minor to get an abortion' or 'civil unions of homosexuals' and they, the bishops, remain silent. I have written them asking for them to be more forthright. Occasionally, I'll get an answer back. But, yes, as a rule I'm pretty much a "black/white," it either 'is or isn't' kind of guy. As far as "right-wing" goes I'm pretty sure that there's a bell curve distribution there, even for Catholics. Not sure if there is a bell curve in heaven, or to get there, though.

  3. John Grimes
    4 years ago

    Andrew: You write, "Subsidiarity", "Social Justice" and "Solidarity". "Socialism", "Communism", and all forms of "Collectivism" are prohibited." Subsidiarity is prohibited? Social justice and solidarity too? By whom? The Bible according to Limbaugh and Beck? Of course, when you say "that is why Catholics need to KNOW their Religion," you certainly hit the nail square on the head.

  4. Tony
    4 years ago

    Pete, unfortunately I don't have time at the moment to address all of your comments, but let me just say a few things. Beginning with the Arizona immigration law, I thought that the majority of people were aware that the bishops were very opposed to this law so I didn't think it was necessary to include a link, but I will include one now. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops strongly opposed the law, labeling it as draconian and saying that it will lead to racial profiling. Here's the link to their official website in which the condemn the law:

    As for your idea of a cafeteria Catholic, yes I would agree that all of those things would make a cafeteria Catholic, but I believe the true meaning of a 'cafeteria Catholic' is simply someone who does not follow all the teachings of the Church (regardless of what teaching that might be). Pete I do label people who do not agree with my own personal philosophies as cafeteria Catholics. I conform my beliefs to the teachings of the Church. Yes, I am well aware that the teachings of the bishops are not to be considered infallible, but faithful Catholics "must adhere to the authentic teaching of their own bishops with a sense of religious respect." What's the point of having bishops if we don't ever listen to them? Or, furthermore, what's the point of having bishops if we only listen to them when we agree with them? Yes, technically conferences of bishops are not infallible, but I see no point in even having bishops if we're not going to follow their direction. They are, after all, the voice of Christ here on earth. I am very much a moderate, and I believe that every US Catholic should be a moderate if they are to truly follow the teachings of the Church. The Church is clearly very conservative on matters such as abortion, homosexual marriage, contraception, etc., but very liberal on other matters, such as immigration, the death penalty, war, etc. Pete, my problem is that far too often, I see American Catholics as being so right-wing to the point where they only accept the Church's conservative teachings and totally through all other teachings out the window. This is wrong. Again, you mentioned that both JPII and Benedict strongly condemned the Iraq War. Yes, true, they were not teaching infallibly that all Catholics must oppose the war, but then why even bother having a Pope? Do we, as lay Catholics, no better than the Pope? In an issue such as the Iraq War in which our Pope was incredibly vocal in opposition to the war, I can not understand how any self-respecting Catholic could possibly support the war. Just because the Pope does not teach something on grounds of infallibility does not mean that we can just brush off their teachings, and I feel that is what many right-wing Catholics have done on the situation (I'm not saying that you have, you seem to be well-balanced). That is my frustration: Catholics who only accept what they like in Church teaching. Pete, I am not here to spread my own political agenda, all I want to do is follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. When I was much younger, I was under the impression that the Church taught certain things that it did not, and when I came to the realization that my understanding of Church teaching was erroneous in some regards, I quickly adapted my beliefs to those of Church teaching. So let me repeat: I am not attempting to spread my own political agenda, I am attempting simply to make sure that others are following the true teachings of the Church. If my beliefs do not coincide with the teachings of the Church, then I will fix them. At the present moment, I see far too many people ignoring important teachings of the Church simply because they are not infallible (though authoritative). I do not see any reason in being Catholic if you simply pick and choose which teachings of the Pope and bishop you will follow. They are here to guide us as Christ's voice on earth. We should not allow ourselves to become swept up in a political movement that takes us away from the Church. The seem to be labeling me as a liberal. I am not a liberal. But in this case, in America at least, I can see that there are far more right-wing Catholics than left Catholics, and I become outraged when any person (liberal or conservative) is willing to call themselves Catholic when they truly put their own political agenda above the teachings of the Church. Christ and His Church should be our number one priority if we are to call ourselves Catholic. Ok I need to end this and go to bed lol. I will continue another day, but thank you for taking the time to read this far (if you made it). It was a pleasure talking with you Pete.

    Anne, I am a bit confused as to the point you are trying to make. I understand that you are making connections between subsidiarity, solidarity, and social justice, but what specifically are you saying in relation to the conversation? Please specify, thanks. God Bless.

  5. vance
    4 years ago

    Tony, On the issue of immigration, NO foreign national from anywhere has a "RIGHT" to be in this country or any other country. Why? Because all nations have a right to its own sovereignty. We and any other nation may allow foreign nationals to enter our country on our terms. Our nation is in chaos that is created by the Liberal Establishment because the illegals are viewed as Democrat Party voters and it is a means of "Balkanizing" our society to divide and concur. The Obama Admin is at war against his own nation. It is amoral and insidious. Our nation is bankrupt from these despots and the illegals are allowed to bankrupt California.

  6. Bulbajer
    4 years ago

    I agree that subsidiarity is necessary. But I'm curious: would any of you be opposed to communal societies like the Shakers or the Amish?

  7. Andrew
    4 years ago

    Thou shall not steal. Thou shall not covet thy neighbors goods. We must help those unable to help themselves - "Subsidiarity", "Social Justice" and "Solidarity". "Socialism", "Communism", and all forms of "Collectivism" are prohibited. When any of these are left out of equation, we are wrong. Yes, liberals/progressives have tried to hijack "social justice" for their own political demonic goals, that is why Catholics need to KNOW their Religion. Read your "CCC, 2nd Ed". Also see "Obama's Counterfeit Catholics" by RealCatholicTV on the internet; and read "Screwtape Letters" by CS Lewis.

  8. Anne
    4 years ago

    Church doctrine on Faith and Morals is clearly stated in the "CCC 2nd Ed". It would behove each of us to read it without taking anything out of context. "Social Justice", "Solidarity", and also "SUBSIDIARITY" which are all different but compatible and necessary, MUST all be part of the entire package. - None should be left out. Simply stated it gets down to helping those who are unable to help themselves. Socialism, Communism and Collectivism are prohibited. Thou shall not steal, or covet another's goods is also part of the package. Read the fictional "Screwtape Letters" by CS Lewis; hijacking of language causing deceit and confusion is and has always been part of the devil's plan.

  9. Pete Brady
    4 years ago

    Tony: Thank you for your comment. You state that, "the Church most definitely teaches that all people must have their basic needs met, no exceptions." Yes, it does. Would we expect anything less from the Church? No. But I don't think you can drive to an overly simplistic solution. Take for example the issue of the "just" or "living" wage. In his 1891 encyclical, "The Condition of the Working Classes," (Rerum Novarum) Pope Leo XIII says, "the labor of the working man is not only his personal attribute, but it is "necessary"; and this makes all the difference. The preservation of life is the bounden duty of each and all, and to fail therein is a crime. // Let it be granted, then, that, as a rule, workman and employer should make free agreements, and in particular should freely agree as to wages; nevertheless, there is a dictate of nature more imperious and more ancient than any bargain between man and man, that the remuneration must be enough to support the wage-earner in reasonable and frugal comfort." Later in the 1931 encyclical, "After Forty Years," (Quadragesimo Anno) of Pope Pius XI, he would say, "In the first place, the wage paid to the workingman must be sufficient for the support of himself and of his family... If in the present state of society this is not always feasible, social justice demands that reforms be introduced without delay which will guarantee every adult workingman just such a wage." But then Pius XI would also add, "(t)he condition of any particular business and of its owner must also come into question in settling the scale of wages; for it is unjust to demand wages so high that an employer cannot pay them without ruin and without consequent distress among the working people themselves (here, we can interpret "unemployment"). It must be recognized that there are certain conditions of employment wherein a "living wage" is not possible. Those are circumstances in which society as a whole will not pay the price for a service they can do without. That they engage it at all is because the extreme low price offsets the time that society would otherwise put into it, but would, if the price were raised "out of the basement," as it were. Here too, though, it must be recognized that there are not an insignificant few who would jump at the opportunity for even this meager wage that is not the "living wage." Charity, and even distributive justice, would eventually carry the day, however, and find that a person would/could be sustained in what had formerly been an "unlivable" wage. To these encyclicals I must also add what the Spanish Scholastics said. The Scholastic Luis de Molina admonished that the owner was "only obliged to pay the just wage for his services considering all the attendant circumstances, not what is sufficient for his sustenance and much less for the maintenance of his children and family." Domingo de Soto would say, "if you do not want to serve for that salary, leave." Saint Bernadino of Siena and Saint Antonio of Florence held similar views. Harsh?!? Catholic?!? Market-driven?!? Definitely the latter. The Scholastics were undoubtedly affirming that just as no one is under an obligation to buy something they don't want then neither was the proprietor/merchant under an obligation to so raise his costs as to price himself out of the market and, consequently, make himself as "unemployed" as those who would surely sink with him had he yielded to securing to the laborer a "living wage" beyond his ability to carry that cost. It is in the nature of man to "economize" as he needs to. This is often easier for those with little to nothing. A person of wealth suddenly thrown into a destitute state very often finds that not only can they not requisitely "economize" but may very well succumb to despair, and perish. Wages and prices have a great range of acceptability; one size does not fit all. An overly simplistic approach does not work here, nor is it overly suited to the problems of hunger and healthcare. What works is the "Catholic mind," what works is "charity" in all things, what works are these attributes being so prevalent throughout society that they are the "determining thing" in how we treat one another, that they reflect that we love one another as Christ loves us.

  10. Pete Brady
    4 years ago

    John Grimes: I did not draw a "conclusion" but rather asked the question: "So, should that not also be our charter here?" For me the answer is "yes." I believe that a society that is as "Catholic" as possible, or as Hilaire Belloc would say, one in which a "determining number" are of a "Catholic mind" offers to that society such greater "blessings of liberty" as can be "secured to ourselves and our posterity" than are currently realized. And on that, one can still legitimately disagree.

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