Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

9/21/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The truths and principles offered by Catholic social teaching are neither left nor right

How I have longed to see Catholic Social Thought liberated so that it can be offered to our Nation in this her great hour of need. As my dear mother was so fond of saying "Raise the Flag", it finally seems to be happening.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/21/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Jonathan Reyes, John Carr, Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, justice, peace, human development, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Christendom College, evangelization, Archbishop Chaput, National Catholic Reporter, Social Justice, John Allen, Paul Ryan, Deacon Keith Fo


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - The announcement that Jonathan J. Reyes, Ph.D. will serve as the new Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) sent joy into many hearts. Even though I do not personally know Dr. Reyes, I was numbered among them.

He served as the CEO of Catholic Charities and Community Services of the Archdiocese of Denver since 2009. His record of properly applying the real Social Teaching of the Catholic Church was evident. His founding of Christ in the City, work with Regina Caeli Catholic Counseling Services and Lighthouse Women's Care Center and the Guadalupe Community Assistance Center, all make clear he "walks the talk". His service to the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) confirms that he lives the mission of the New Evangelization.

His time in the Catholic Academy, including both his service at Christendom College and his co-founding and subsequent leadership of the Augustine Institute, speak volumes. Both institutions are clearly faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and produce wonderful "living stones" (1 Peter 2:5) for service to the Church and the world into which she is sent in this new missionary age. This man is a treasure at just the right time for the US Catholic Church.

On the day I read of this important appointment, I also read Archbishop Chaput 's wide ranging interview with John Allen of the National Catholic Register. Of course, anyone who reads me regularly knows of my high regard for the Archbishop. He is a courageous champion in an hour of cowardice. We need as many like him as we can get.

The interview has received a lot of press coverage. It can be read in its entirety here. However, allow me to excerpt one part below:

*****

"(John Allen) We're speaking on the night Barack Obama is delivering his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. Let me ask flat-out: Do you believe a Catholic in good faith can vote for Obama?

"(Archbishop Chaput) I can only speak in terms of my own personal views. I certainly can't vote for somebody who's either pro-choice or pro-abortion.I'm not a Republican and I'm not a Democrat. I'm registered as an independent, because I don't think the church should be identified with one party or another. As an individual and voter I have deep personal concerns about any party that supports changing the definition of marriage, supports abortion in all circumstances, wants to restrict the traditional understanding of religious freedom. Those kinds of issues cause me a great deal of uneasiness.

"(John Allen) What about the wing of the church that says a party that supports the Ryan budget also ought to cause concern?

"(Archbishop Chaput) - Jesus tells us very clearly that if we don't help the poor, we're going to go to hell. Period. There's just no doubt about it. That has to be a foundational concern of Catholics and of all Christians. But Jesus didn't say the government has to take care of them, or that we have to pay taxes to take care of them. Those are prudential judgments.

"Anybody who would condemn someone because of their position on taxes is making a leap that I can't make as a Catholic. ... You can't say that somebody's not Christian because they want to limit taxation. Again, I'm speaking only for myself, but I think that's a legitimate position. It may not be the correct one, but it's certainly a legitimate Catholic position; and to say that it's somehow intrinsically evil like abortion doesn't make any sense at all.

"(John Allen) - That said, do you find the Ryan budget troubling?

"(Archbishop Chaput) - The Ryan budget isn't the budget I would write. I think he's trying to deal with the same issue in the government I'm dealing with here locally, which is spending more than we bring in. I admire the courage of anyone who's actually trying to solve the problems rather than paper over them. I think a vigorous debate about the issues, rather than the personalities, is the way through this problem. It's immoral for us to continue to spend money we don't have. I think that those persons who don't want to deal with the issue are, in some ways, doing wrong by putting it off for their own political protection or the protection of their party."

*****
Wow! How I have longed to see Catholic Social Thought liberated so that it can be offered to our Nation in this her great hour of need. As my dear mother was so fond of saying "Raise the Flag", it finally seems to be happening.

It is time to take the truths and principles offered in Catholic Social Teaching out of the rarified academic debates in which they do little practical good and offer them as yeast for the quickly collapsing loaf of American culture.  I hope this appointment, along with the comments from Bishops like Cardinal Dolan and Archbishop Chaput signal that the liberation of Catholic Social Thought is underway.

It is time to wrest these principles from the camp of some on the political left who have wrongly used them as proof-texts for their social engineering efforts. It is time to offer them to any on the right who have failed to place the human person at the center of all considerations in their dalliance with libertarianism. Both left and right teeter on the brink of losing an authentic humanism which affirms the primacy of the person, the family and the common good.

The truths and principles offered by Catholic social teaching are neither left nor right. They are truly human and critical for our efforts to build a truly just and human society together.  The application of the principles can also require the exercise of prudential judgment.

For example, as Archbishop Chaput noted, agree or disagree with Paul Ryan's exercise of his prudential judgment - and his proposed legislative solutions to the current fiscal crisis- he does exactly what a Catholic in public service should do with the Social Doctrine of the Church.

The Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church confronts what Pope Benedict properly called the "Dictatorship of Relativism" even before he assumed the Papal office. It insists there are unchangeable truths which are revealed by the Natural Law, can be known through the exercise of reason and should inform the social order in every just society.

At the foundation of these truths is the dignity of every human person at every age and stage. To be Pro-Life is NOT to be "single issue" in your political positions; it is about having a world view. It is the dignity of the human person which requires a respect for every human life whether that life be in the first home of the womb, a wheelchair, a jail cell, a hospital room, a hospice, a senior center or a soup kitchen.

Another one of these truths is that marriage is between one man and one woman, intended for life, and ordered toward the bearing and raising of children in the family. Marriage is not some social construct which can be redefined by courts or legislatures. It is the foundation for family and family is the first society, first church, first school, first economy, first government and first mediating institution. The first community which humanizes and civilizes all of us is the family.

Another is that all human persons created in the Image of God are created for relationship and called to human community. We can never fully experience human flourishing outside of social relationships. These relationships are perfective of our human person because we are by nature - and grace - made for these relationships. Catholic Social Thought does not begin with the individual but with the family. The social doctrine affirms our obligation in solidarity to one another. We are our brother/sister's keeper.

The social doctrine rejects a notion of "freedom" which begins and ends with the isolated, atomistic, person as the measure of its application. Authentic human freedom must be exercised within a moral constitution. We will only grow in freedom when we choose what is good and what is true. Otherwise "freedom" becomes a counterfeit and enslaves us, as individuals and as nations.

The social doctrine offers principles to help us order our economies. It does not propose any particular economic theory. It insists that every economic order be at the service of the human person, human freedom, human flourishing and the family. We are to give a love of preference to the poor, recognizing our solidarity with them. However, this call to solidarity is to be applied through the application of the principle of subsidiarity, rejecting all forms of dehumanizing collectivism, either of the left or the right.

The market economy has been affirmed in recent social teaching - when properly understood and morally structured. However, the Catholic Church stood against the materialism of the atheistic Marxist system and now properly cautions Nations which have adopted a form of liberal capitalism of the dangers of "economism" or materialism which promotes the use of persons as products and fails to recognize the value of being over acquiring.

The truths and principles contained within Catholic social doctrine are not merely "religious" positions, in the sense that only religious people need assent to them. They are revealed by the Natural Law and can be known through the exercise of reason. The truths are true for all people and for all time. The Church calls us to offer them as leaven to be worked into the loaf of human culture.

The appointment of Jonathan J. Reyes, Ph.D. to serve as the new Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Archbishop Chaput's interview both give me hope that the Catholic Social Teaching is being liberated - just in the nick of time.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More U.S.

Fr. Randy Sly on Thanksgiving and Our Roots of Faith

Image of Ceremonies and periods of thanksgiving are woven through the entire tapestry of history. We find them in the Jewish Calendar of Feasts, in other world religions, in European cultures and native practices of North America, South America, Asia and Africa.

By Fr. Randy Sly

Thanksgiving Day has become a time when we watch parades and then take in large amounts of food and football. According to some calculations, 46 million turkeys-around 550 million pounds-will be consumed during Thanksgiving this year. But that's not how it began! ... continue reading


Thanksgiving Day: We are Still One Nation - Under God Watch

Image of The sincere sentiments expressed by this extraordinary leader, George Washington, should inform our response to all of the challenges we face today in the United States of America. We are still one Nation - under God. They should also inspire us to pray for great leaders to emerge in this our great hour of need. Leaders who can help us see this as an hour of opportunity and an invitation to reaffirm our reliance on God.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

This week the people of the United States of America struggle to find a way through the trauma we are experiencing in the wake of the riots in Ferguson, Missouri. Too many self-appointed "experts" seem all too eager to tell us what divides us. However, even in ... continue reading


Following Ferguson shooting, police departments rush to adopt body cameras Watch

Image of The purchasing of body cameras by police departments nationwide has increased dramatically following the shooting of Michael Brown.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Whether you believe the story told by Ferguson police officer Daren Wilson, or by the family of Michael Brown, it is certain that the case has changed the face of law enforcement in America. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The use of body cameras by police ... continue reading


Catholic Shopping .com is about to have its biggest sale ever for Black Friday weekend!

Image of Sign up so you don't miss any deals during this special Black Friday weekend sale!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

This weekend, Catholic Shopping .com is having an amazing sale with up to 70% off of selected items. These deep discounts will help you finish your shopping early, but be prepared, many of these sales will last just an hour or two and then the specials will be gone! ... continue reading


A Boston man has something new to be thankful for after he received a double arm transplant Watch

Image of Will Lautzenheiser, a professor of film production and screenwriting at Boston University had to undergo surgery to remove his arms and legs in 2011 after he came down with a life-threatening streptococcal infection.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Boston man who received a double arm transplant in October is making remarkable recovery, just in time for Thanksgiving. The best part, he says, is that he is able to hug his loved ones again. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Will Lautzenheiser became infected ... continue reading


Dreaded cartel overlord Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez sentenced to 22 years in prison in U.S. Watch

Image of Top Sinaloa cartel thug Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez has been sentenced to 22 years in prison in the U.S. for planning the delivery of more than 600 pounds of cocaine.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Top Sinaloa cartel thug Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez has been sentenced to 22 years in prison in the U.S. for planning the delivery of more than 600 pounds of cocaine. Some of the damning evidence against him was provided by twin brothers Pedro and Margarito ... continue reading


Here's 3,000 reasons why Obama just made illegal immigrants more attractive to your employer Watch

Image of Due to a loophole in Obamacare, the president's new amnesty plans mean that employers who hire illegals don't have to cover them with insurance, and won't be fined for doing so.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama's new amnesty plan is going to have some drastic effects that most American's aren't aware of, one that may just get you kicked out of a job because of all things, Obamacare. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Under the Affordable Care Act, ... continue reading


Acknowledging Unknown Soldier over known soldiers: Over 1.2 million veterans lack health insurance Watch

Image of As a culture, many of us feel more comfortable honoring the tomb of the Unknown Soldier --

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As many leave laurels at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the United States refuses to acknowledge the health and benefits of known soldiers. While most people assume that veterans automatically receive health care coverage through the Veterans Health ... continue reading


Ferguson in flames as policeman who shot, killed teenager found not guilty Watch

Image of Police claimed they came under heavy automatic weapon fire. Some buildings were left to burn because of the danger.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

People have responded to violence - with violence. After Police Officer Darren Wilson was been cleared of all charges in the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown in August. His surrounding community of Ferguson, Missouri has responded with widespread ... continue reading


Priest in Ferguson reports deep mistrust between groups fueling tension Watch

Image of Police in Ferguson move detain a protester.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Catholic priest assigned to Ferguson, MO, spoke with Vatican Radio about the "festering" mistrust between the populace and police. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Vatican Radio shared an interview with Fr. Arthur Cavitt, a parish priest who was asked about the ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 20:1-4, 11--21:2
1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:29-33
29 And he told them a parable, 'Look at the fig tree ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine Laboure
November 28: St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter