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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

61 - 70 of 198 Comments

  1. Tony
    3 years ago

    Eight question: Thanks for the acknowledgment. No, it does not specify as to what kind of health care should be provided, but it does specify that society (which could be federal government or private organizations) must ensure that health care is provided for its citizens. Since there are millions of uninsured people in our country at the moment, it is quite safe to say that Church teaching would require a powerful instrument in our society to provide health care for American citizens. I do not see any private organization being able to do that, so the federal government would obviously be our best bet. Of course there should not be lax standards, and of course it should be done in a cost-efficient manner, the principle of subsidiarity ensures that. The bishops have outlined that health care reform must be done in a cost-efficient manner, and have said that the current health care plan is not efficient enough. I have already posted a link to their website which explains that, and I have already mentioned that many times, so I’m not going to both to continue listing websites and links if no one is going to look at them. Not that I could blame you, given that my posts are practically encyclicals in themselves (being concise is not one of my strong points). You asked, “What public policies and programs, in particular, do you think are "required" that so many of us posters here "ignore?” Mainly, support of universal health care. NOT Obama’s plan for health care reform, but universal health care in general. In other words, the Church is overall against Obama’s plan of health care reform because it uses tax money to fund abortions and because it is not as cost-efficient as it should be. However, the Church is very clear in saying that all people should have access to health care, as shown by the previous Catechism quote and by the direction of our Bishops in general. Essentially, although I think it’s perfectly acceptable for posters here and Catholics in general to condemn Obama’s health care plan of reform, it is unacceptable for Catholics to disagree with the Church teaching that basic health care is a universal right which must be provided for all citizens of any given society in a cost-effective manner. Now, perhaps I am misjudging some of the posters here, and perhaps some posters here would in fact be in support of a very cost-effective plan to provide health care to all the citizens in our country. If that’s the case, then my apologies. But judging from what I’ve seen so far, it seems as if the majority of posters here seem to view any government intervention as immediately being ‘socialism,’ when in reality, limited and cost-effective government intervention to provide the basic needs for society (such as health care, food, etc.). It seems as if most posters here would be willing to choose the side of individualist capitalism over the needs of the poor, and it seems to me as if most posters here would simply complain about the deficit and how we can’t afford to insure people despite being able to find 500 billion dollars to go to war, which the same right-wingers supported.

  2. Tony
    3 years ago

    You skipped the number 6, so now we're on number 7. Seventh question: Before answering that, can you explain what you mean by a commercial society?

  3. Tony
    3 years ago

    Fifth question: Capitalism is essentially belief in the free market. The Church finds no fault in the basic concept of the free market. However, the Church has consistently taught about the dangers of an unregulated free market, and the Church has condemned ‘liberal’ forms of capitalism in which it is every man ‘out for himself’ in a society that has absolutely no safety nets for the poor. Again, as I’ve already pointed out, take a look at 2425: “The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with "communism" or "socialism." She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of "capitalism," individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor.207 Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for "there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market."208 Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended.” The Church is clearly teaching here that societies must regulate their economies to a degree. Reasonable regulation is the key term. A society which has a purely capitalistic and individualistic system in which the marketplace is given emphasis over the basic rights of every human person is not accepted by the Church. That’s exactly what this quote says. In fact, it says that the Church REFUSES to accept such a system. Black and white. Pope John Paul II has also commented on the dangers of a purely capitalistic system, but I’m not going to take the time to look that up now. So while the Church has accepted the basic premise of the free market, it is clear that the Church does not accept a fully capitalistic society in which there is no regulation whatsoever of the economy. Right-wingers tend to overemphasize capitalism and condemn any form of government intervention, labeling it instantly as socialism. Right-wingers tend to choose the interests of big businesses, of wealthy citizens, and of greed over the interests of the poor in our society. While pure socialism is condemned by the Church, pure capitalism is equally condemned. The Catechism makes it clear in this case, saying that the Church has rejected socialism and communism and LIKEWISE refused to accept pure capitalism. The ideal government according to the Church would consist of a free market that is fairly regulated when necessary, and in which the basic needs of citizens are provided in any form that makes such basic needs possible.

  4. Tony
    3 years ago

    Fourth question: The Catechism states, “Concern for the health of its citizens requires that society help in the attainment of living conditions that allow them to grow and reach maturity.” So I would say that basic health care is most certainly a basic right. Elective is getting into different territory, especially if you’re referring to plastic surgery, which could not possibly be considered a basic right (unless, perhaps, you’re referring to someone that’s been in an accident and had half their face burnt off). Essentially, the Catechism and our Bishops would tell us that the most basic health needs of every individual should be guaranteed.

  5. Tony
    3 years ago

    Third question: What’s the definition war? That is an interesting question. War can take on many, many forms. If we’re specifically referring to political wars, I’m not going to offer a formal definition, but as a vague definition, I suppose war would include sending one’s military forces to another country (or to a part of one’s own country in the case of civil war) in order to enforce a policy or overthrow a leader. War would entail using physical force to progress one’s own belief. I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at by asking this question, but the bottom line is that clearly the Iraq War was entirely opposed by the Catholic Church and cannot possibly hope to be supported by the Just War Doctrine of the Catholic Church.

  6. Tony
    3 years ago

    Second question: Right-wing ideology was entirely founded upon Protestant Christian beliefs. Before Roe V. Wade in the early 70s, virtually every Catholic in the US was registered as a democrat. The Republican party was, stereotypically speaking, a party of wealthy well-to-do Protestants. But then, once abortion was legalized, Catholics found themselves split. Some Catholics remained democrat, while others became republican. Before the 1970s, you’d be hard pressed to find a right-wing Catholic. Now, you find Catholics on both sides, and no side represent Catholic theology. Essentially, the modern-day form of right-wing ideology is very reflective of American Protestantism (specifically Evangelical, Baptist, and Fundamentalist Protestants, not liberal Protestants such as Episcopalians). Conservative American Protestants tend to be very pro-life and pro-family, which is good, but they also tend to be very pro-death penalty, which is unacceptable for Catholics to support in civilized society. Furthermore, there have always been strong anti-Catholic sentiments coming from the right-wing in general. When Kennedy ran for president in the 60s, right-wing Baptists protested with signs demanding to “keep the Pope out of the White House.” The many evangelicals and fundamentalists Protestants that make up the right-wing ‘party’ so to speak would have no issue with saying that us Catholic ‘Papists’ are going to go to Hell. Right off the bat, many of the right-wingers who you associate with are simultaneously attending Catholic hate rallies in addition to attending pro-life movements. As already mentioned, Pastor Hagee - whom McCain sought endorsement of  has videos all over YouTube about who the Catholic Church is the wh*re of Babylon. I do not see any reason to associate with right-wingers when so many of them are clearly anti-Catholic. I really do not see how one could ignore the basic claim that right-wing ideology is very Protestant. On the other hand, left-wing ideology is flawed for also being anti-Catholic (in different ways), namely attacking the power and pro-life aspects of the Church. Both left-wing and right-wing ideology is flawed from a Catholic perspective. If one is following right-wing ideology, one is following a conservative Protestant ideology, not Catholic ideology. Let us not forget that the majority of America is Protestant, specifically about 60% Protestant with a Catholic minority of about 23%. In the nation’s history, we’ve had only one Catholic president. Common sense would tell us that the political ideology of this country in general is more Protestant than Catholic. While Catholics justly align with the right-wing party on issues of life and family, right-wing Catholics seem to have no issue with throwing away the Church’s teaching on war and on the death penalty. In aligning themselves with the just causes of the right-wing party such as issues of life and family, right-wing Catholics leave behind the allegiance to the Church’s teachings which differ from the right-wings agenda. So then why bother following the right-wing? Why can’t we just stick with being Catholic? Protestants have no issue with being pro-death penalty and pro-Iraq War, because, well, they can believe whatever they want, that’s why there’s 33,000 different denominations of them. Right-winger ‘Catholics’ therefore choose to align with the Protestant ideology of the right-wing rather than choose to align with true, authentic, genuine Catholic teaching. One cannot hope to be both right-wing and Catholic, just as one cannot hope to be both left-wing and Catholic.

  7. Tony
    3 years ago

    First question: The causes in the right-wing agenda of being pro-life, against embryonic stem cell research, pro-family, limited government (this is debatable depending on how limited), reducing debt, are all perfectly fine and Catholic. However, I wouldn’t use the term ‘anti-gay rights,’ as that makes it sound as if gays should have all rights taken away from them. Being against the legalization of gay marriage is of course a necessity for Catholics, but I would specifically opposing gay marriage rather than being against gay rights in general. That makes it sound as if gays are less than human. The cause of being pro-American is very, very debatable. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to be proud of the country you live in and to appreciate living in such a country, but to put patriotism of one’s country above allegiance to one’s Church most certainly cannot be justified. It depends what you refer to when you say pro-American, Pete. Does that just mean that one is happy to live in one’s country and is proud of its founding principles? Or does that mean that when America decides to wage a meaningless and unjust war against another country, namely Iraq, that one decides to follow the direction of America over following the direction of the Catholic Church? If the description is the latter, then being entirely pro-America (choosing to agree with the direction of America over the direction of the Catholic Church) must be entirely condemned. The Catholic Church is universal, applying to all societies of all time. It would be silly and irrational to favor one’s country as being favored by God, elevated above the rest. Fundamentalist Protestants will often refer to America as ‘God’s Country,’ whatever that means. This is absolutely pathetic. God does not favor any country. Naturally, there is absolutely nothing in the Catechism or the Bible about the superiority of America. So it would depend what you mean when saying ‘Pro-America.’ Again, patriotism is fine, but choosing to favor the actions of one’s country over the teachings of the Church is simply unacceptable as a Catholic. While American Catholics were in support of the Iraq War, the Vatican was across the globe absolutely condemning it, along with Catholics from every other country, whether that be South American Catholics or European Catholics. The rest of the Catholic population in the civilized world does not relate to the support of American Catholics of the Iraq War in any way. In essence, American Catholics isolated themselves from the rest of our global Church in supporting the Iraq War. The only reason for an American Catholic to support the Iraq War is out of pure and utter patriotism, not out of any allegiance to the Church. This is incredibly dangerous. Furthermore, it depends what you mean by being a free-market advocate. The Church has accepted the basic concept of a free-market; however, the Church has condemned free markets which remain unregulated to the point at which excessive greed is made possible. I’ll write more on that in a bit. So to answer your question, most of the principles you listed of a right-winger are perfectly acceptable, with the possible exception of being ‘pro-American,’ depending on what you meant and with the possible exception of advocating an unregulated free market, depending on what that means as well. However, what you left out of the definition of a right-winger is being pro-Iraq War and pro-death penalty, two things that one simply cannot be and hope to call themselves Catholic. If one is pro-Iraq War, they are ignoring the basic criteria for war outlined clearly in Catechism in the Just War doctrine, and they are ignoring the two most recent Popes in our Church condemnation of the war. While the Pope was condemning the Iraq War from the Vatican, virtually every Catholic worldwide agreed with him, except for certain American Catholics who were simply brainwashed with distorted notions of patriotism. This is absolutely alarming. Furthermore, if one is pro-death penalty in the US, one is outright ignoring the Church’s condemnation of the death penalty in civilized societies. . Being both pro-Iraq War and pro-death penalty are two signs, in my opinion, that a person is entirely placing their right-wing bias above their allegiance to the Church. That is my issue with right-wingers in general. Although some of the most basic beliefs of the right-winger fit in with Church teaching (pro-life, pro-family), too many tenets of right-wing ideology completely conflict with the Church. Now, again, identifying oneself exclusively as a left-winger has the same dangers. Being a left-winger is just as hostile to Catholic theology as is being a right-winger. Why should a Catholic even bother associating themselves with the right-wing or the left-wing? Catholics should simply be ‘Catholic’ and just that.

  8. Pam
    3 years ago

    Wow, 123 Comments! (I did not open this article until today. Used to visit Catholic Online daily--but I am operating on over-load these days.) Well, I see why! Good discussion, for the most part, on matters that touch each of us to the core--in fact, in some ways, life and death matters! Some observations are dubious, like: "stop" someone from "saying" they're Catholic....How would you, effectively, practically speaking "stop" them? (Take them to court? We are all "court-ed out!" How much money is spent in the courthouse--on everything lawsuit imaginable under the sun!) I understand the frustration, but how would our Bishops effectively do that? Re. Tony's: "I'm anti-death penalty, anti-Iraq War and pro-universal health care," I have a couple of observations and a question or two: The teaching of the Church is, by and large, anti-death penalty and anti-war, but there are exceptions (CCC 2263ff & 2309ff)--in both cases: when concern for the innocent is a major factor. In such instances, a hard choice may have to be made. It seems to me that, as the US Bishops have said: it is hard to justify the death penalty anymore--considering our prisons today(with solitary confinement, etc.). With regard to a "just war" I find that qualifier ("just") difficult to assess in my circumstances.... I can read and read, and watch the news on CNN, etc,, and listen to discussions, etc., and I still have to say: I don't know what's really going on--neither "here" (in our government), nor "there" (where the aggression and/or conflict is taking place)--even though photos and testimonies may tell us something (?) I ask myself: "Are the "innocent:at risk" in this (whatever) war--and how big is the risk??? With regard to "universal health care." What do we mean when we say that? That we want everyone to get the healthcare they need? Who in the world wouldn't want that! The question is: how (underscore "how") do we make that happen? Is it a really a good idea to put the government in charge of dispensing our healthcare? I know we have Medicare and Medicaid already (I'll be collecting one of them soon!), but do we want employee private healthcare to be pushed out of existence--and other private options to be eliminated? That is what is already happening--and will continue to happen more and more, the way things are going now....I do fear government takeover of healthcare--for all of us, but most especially for the most vulnerable among us. (I suppose the rich will still mange to get supplemental, or even entirely private healthcare, but the rest of us...?) And forgot about all the LIFE issues!

    We are at a turning point in our history; I have read and heard this said--and I don't doubt it's true one bit. Let's pray for ourselves, one another and our country--that we may be worthy to have good leaders and representatives with sound moral character ("virtuous and religious" men and women--fit to be in positions of responsibility and authority for "One Nation, under God....") We are falling apart in our core--as a nation. We need to get back together again and hold fast to what we have received--as a nation that sees itself subject to God. It has been said by many that we live in "post-Christian" times--and it "appears" that way, but there is still time to "change, change, change...." this "change" in us!... There is plenty of evil around these days, but ."For evil to triumph, all it takes is for good people to do nothing." (Edmund Burke) Still, we also need to "be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." (Mt 10:16) Let's pray, and keep one another in prayer as we do what we can to turn our country, "my country..." around!


  9. Pete Brady
    3 years ago

    Tony: Eighth question. Your statement: "here's the Catechism quote that proves this, which many of you have seem to totally and utterly ignore: 2288: 'Concern for the health of its citizens requires that society help in the attainment of living conditions that allow them to grow and reach maturity: food and clothing, housing, health care, basic education, employment, and social assistance.' Take a good look at that. The Catechism is saying that society is REQUIRED to provide food, housing, HEALTH CARE, etc. etc. for those in society. This seems to be entirely ignored by many posters here." Okay, the Catechism says that. Exactly what, however, does that mean to you. Does it say what "means" are preferred over another. Does it say that a government is REQUIRED to have certain "programs, insurances, or lax "lending" standards?" What public policies and programs, in particular, do you think are "required" that so many of us posters here "ignore?"

  10. Pete Brady
    3 years ago

    Tony: Seventh question: Would you disagree with the statement that a "commercial society provides the means by which many can be generous; self-restraint and civility are promoted; inculcates the value of peace; is the cure for the most destructive prejudices; and has actually created the material basis for altruism to occur on a scale unprecedented in history?"


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