“…the preferential option for the poor…affects the life of each Christian inasmuch as he or she seeks to imitate the life of Christ, but it applies equally to our social responsibilities and hence to our manner of living, and to the logical decisions to be made concerning the ownership and use of goods.”
(Content on this page is taken directly from the above websites.)
Catholic Social Teaching (CST)#4
Its roots are in the Hebrew prophets who announced God's special love for the poor and called God's people to a covenant of love and justice. It is a teaching founded on the life and words of Jesus Christ, who came "to bring glad tidings to the poor . . . liberty to captives . . . recovery of sight to the blind"(Lk 4:18-19), and who identified himself with "the least of these," the hungry and the stranger (cf. Mt 25:45). Catholic social teaching is built on a commitment to the poor. Our commitment to the Catholic social mission must be rooted in and strengthened by our spiritual lives. In our relationship with God we experience the conversion of heart that is necessary to truly love one another as God has loved us. We are called to reach out and to build relationships of love and justice.
CST covers a broad range of topics impacting personal, local, national, and international concerns in seven major themes. Each week, we will explore one of these themes and its relevance and application to our lives.
Human misery is a clear sign of man's natural condition of frailty and of his need for salvation. Christ the Savior showed compassion in this regard, identifying himself with the “least” among men (cf. Mt 25:40,45). “It is by what they have done for the poor that Jesus Christ will recognize his chosen ones. When ‘the poor have the good news preached to them' (Mt 11:5), it is a sign of Christ's presence”
The Church's love for the poor is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes, by the poverty of Jesus and by his attention to the poor. This love concerns material poverty and also the numerous forms of cultural and religious poverty. The Church, “since her origin and in spite of the failing of many of her members, has not ceased to work for their relief, defense and liberation through numerous works of charity which remain indispensable always and everywhere”. Prompted by the Gospel injunction, “You have received without paying, give without pay” (Mt 10:8), the Church teaches that one should assist one's fellow man in his various needs and fills the human community with countless works of corporal and spiritual mercy. “Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God”, even if the practice of charity is not limited to alms-giving but implies addressing the social and political dimensions of the problem of poverty. In her teaching the Church constantly returns to this relationship between charity and justice: “When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice”. The Council Fathers strongly recommended that this duty be fulfilled correctly, remembering that “what is already due in justice is not to be offered as a gift of charity”. Love for the poor is certainly “incompatible with immoderate love of riches or their selfish use” (cf. Jas 5:1-6).
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church [386-394]
Other Current Relevant Topics (not complete)
Corruptions in Government
Careers & Vocations
Suffering & Dying
Restorative Justice/Detention Ministry
Victims of Natural Disasters
Unequal Distribution of Wealth
War & Conflict
Our faith calls us beyond knowledge of the issue to action…
Suggestions for actions
2) Become educated
Visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website at www.usccb.org and click on the Social Justice link for resources.
3) Incorporate into your daily lives
Examine your activities and use CST themes to guide your actions
Does your lifestyle reflect awareness of the sufferings of your local & global neighbors?
How much time, talent, and resources do you give to the poor?
4) Volunteer-do works of charity
St. Vincent de Paul (http://www.svdpoc.org/html/welcome.htm)
Second Harvest Food Bank (http://feedoc.org/)
Catholic Charities (http://www.ccoc.org/)
You can also research any of the above topics to find local volunteer opportunities.
5) Become an activist-do works of justice
Find a cause that you are passionate about and work to change policy or laws to address the problem’s root cause. For example, with homelessness, work for affordable housing and job counseling in
. Orange County