Work for Justice
“The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community composed of men. United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father and they have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every man. That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with mankind and its history by the deepest of bonds.” The beginning words of Guadium et Spes, the Church in the Modern World, of the Second Vatican Council
Working to build a more just society is not an option for Catholic Christians. We are called to feed the poor, but we must also ask –
- Why are there so many poor people?
- Why is there so little peace in the world?
- What can I do to make the world a better place, where it is easier to do good?
Saint Pope John Paul II taught that one of the problems of modern life is that the world is afflicted by “structures of sin” that make it easy to do wrong –
“If the present situation can be attributed to difficulties of various kinds, it is not out of place to speak of "structures of sin," which. . . are rooted in personal sin, and thus always linked to the concrete acts of individuals who introduce these structures, consolidate them and make them difficult to remove. And thus they grow stronger, spread, and become the source of other sins, and so influence people's behavior. 'Sin' and 'structures of sin' are categories which are seldom applied to the situation of the contemporary world. However, one cannot easily gain a profound understanding of the reality that confronts us unless we give a name to the root of the evils which afflict us.” Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, #36
When we sin, we make it easier for others to sin too. Over time, that gives rise to situations where injustice is the norm. When we do good, on the other hand, we make it easier for others to do good also. So working for justice is first a matter of learning to avoid evil and do good in your personal life. Indeed, the Venerable Servant of God Dorothy Day, one of the founders of the Catholic Worker movement, taught that it is our duty as Christians to build a world where it is “easier to do good.”
What can I do to build a world where it is easier to do good?
The most important thing to do is to learn the social teachings of the Church so you know how to make political and economic decisions. If we are making our political and economic decisions without the guidance of the Church, it is easy to fall into error. There are many voices contending in the public square, and not all of them are consistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our Catholic beliefs and positions are sometimes distorted by various non-Catholic groups to suit their own political agendas, which may not be consistent with our beliefs. Popular media is generally not a good place to find accurate information about the Catholic Church. Let the Lord Jesus Christ speak for Himself through the Popes and Bishops of the Church!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
- Part Three Chapter Two --The Human Communion
- Section 2, Article 5 on the 5th Commandment “Thou shalt not kill.”
- Section 2, Article 7 the 7th Commandment “Thou shalt not steal.”
The Second Vatican Council
The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: This is a summary of the Church's social teachings, prepared by the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, during the pontificate of Saint Pope John Paul II.
Seven Themes in Catholic Social Teaching: Prepared by the US Catholic Bishops. This is a short summary of seven primary themes in the social teaching of the Church.
Some local efforts to work for justice, peace, and life:
Catholic Charities Office of Social Justice - Contact Richard Klinge at 523-3000 to assist in the many works of social justice carried out by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. Catholic Charities OKC is committed to developing, implementing, and maintaining comprehensive solutions to address issues of importance to Catholic Social Teaching. They work through community groups, diverse religious organizations, legislators, and individuals to help restore dignity to people in need. Their activities include:
- Supporting legislation that contains long-term solutions
- Opposing legislation that could threaten human dignity
- Partnering with community groups to create a stronger force for change
- Disseminating information and encouraging action regarding issues of importance
- Lobbying state legislators to sponsor legislation that advances human dignity and oppose legislation that does not
40 Days for Life - Epiphany participates in the annual 40 days for life public witness to end abortion beginning on Sept. 26.
Rose Day at the Legislature. Each year, during the Legislative Session, Catholics join with others for Rose Day at the Legislature. This will be announced in the Sooner Catholic and our parish bulletin. It is a time to visit the Legislature and encourage legislators to support the protection of life from the moment of conception to the time of natural death.