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February 20, 2009 by d. w. horstkoetter Catholic Social Thought, and more specifically Catholic Social Teaching, is called the best kept secret of the Roman Catholic Church. This is the second post summarizing a document from Catholic Social Teaching. The first one is here (on Octogesima Adveniens). The following is a short summary of Justitia in Mundo gathered from a synod of the bishops in 1971: Justitia in Mundo (1971) came out of the Synod of Bishops (1971). Like Octogesima Adveniens, JM focused on: the need for justice; the Gospel and the church within the Gospel; action the Church can take; and the hope of salvation. Likewise, the introduction of JM begins similar to OA, as it cites the cry of the oppressed and the challenge that such a cry has had on the Church. This letter is a sanctioned teaching that answers the call for help, noting the mission of the Church within the Christ-life and therefore the need for the Church¶s greater involvement in the world. Despite the surge in recognition for human unity, the outcome of human life around the world is fragmented rather than in solidarity. Nationalism, racism, classism, and industrial and technological advancement towards death (i.e. the arms race) have grown more robust and threaten life. Economic and political injustice is rampant and threatens creation¶s existence as it centralizes power and ownership of resources without regard to the flourishing of life. The expansionist hope of the past has only led to more problems and other forms of oppression ± the bishops see the right to development as helpful, but fear a new colonialism. Rhetoric about the common good is not explicit so far within the essay, but it does seem subsumed. After noting the oppression and injustice, the bishops move to specific examples of oppression and for argue for dialogue. The good of all must be served. However, it is not a philosophical treatise on the common good that follows next, but rather, a relational, incarnational theology and a communal, creational theology predicated on divine, Christological love that governs the mission ± the drive and the exclamations ± of the Church. The mission of the Church then becomes, in its preaching of the Gospel, the fight for salvific justice against oppression. Interestingly, it is after the Christological and ecclesiological theological work that the common good is mentioned explicitly. Thus, it is through Christian distinctiveness that Christians can be within society and work for what is good. Next the bishops turn a critical eye to the Church, hoping to clean house; the practice of justice must first begin within one¶s home. The bishops advocate for: greater care of the lay workers; women should be given a greater role, with the help of a mixed commission on the matter; ³freedom of expression and thought´; fairer and faster juridical procedures; and the greater involvement of ³the members of the Church´ within the entire structure of the Church (Chapter
the work for the Church is identified: to participate in the divine¶s loving liberation. However. the bishops lay out a number of propositions for international action: the call for the affirmation of human rights by all governments. as well as ecumenical cooperation. This reworking of the person allows them to be more human. The bishops also call for local church cooperation. and respect other humans. the reader is reminded that God rules and that all Christian hope is found in the divine liberator. the call to support the UN as mediator and restrainer. Therefore. and Eucharistic. and his social and civic life´ (Chapter 3). The Church¶s witness. but rather. his work. It is within this holistic rubric for life that propagating justice by education can be understood. chatechetical. in the bishops¶ estimation. the call to support the Second Development Decade initiative. the bishops end with a Christological hope. his school. support for the arms of the UN that immediately works with the poor. education is not simply formed in an academic fashion. this education is the endeavor to spread the Christological life. care for the environment through less consumption of materials. In this increasingly communicative trajectory. education is the renewal of the person: ³education demands a renewal of heart. and principles that would help the right to development to be fulfilled. the shifting of structures for the balancing of power. This education is also sacramental ± liturgical. . In light of all that comes previous in the statement by the synod. In short. In spite of the hurdles to be passed. baptismal. look critically at society and manipulative media.3). The bishops then characterize the Christian witness to justice as ³acting like the leaven of the Gospel in his family. also touches on temporal possessions for prophetic witness for the poor and consuming lifestyles. a renewal based on the recognition of sin in its individual and social manifestations´ (Chapter 3). involve the developing nations in the process when governments make contributions.
At the same time we have noted the inmost stirring moving the world in its depths.We very highly commend cooperation with our separated Christian brethren for the promotion of justice in the world. 4. Scrutinizing the "signs of the times" and seeking to detect the meaning of emerging history.´Justice in the Worldµ ² World Conference of Bishops 1971 (selected extracts) 2. for bringing about development of peoples and for establishing peace. This cooperation concerns first and foremost activities for securing human dignity and people's fundamental rights. «. in their esteem for human values. By his action and teaching Christ united in an indivisible way the relationship of people to God and the relationship of people to each other. In this way he identified himself with his "least ones.. oppression and abuses which stifle freedom and which keep the greater part of humanity from sharing in the building up and enjoyment of a more just and more loving world. «. Christ lived his life in the world as a total giving of himself to God for the salvation and liberation of people. In the same spirit we likewise commend collaboration with all believers in God in the fostering of social justice.We have been able to perceive the serious injustices which are building around the human world a network of domination. 61. while at the same time sharing the aspirations and questionings of all those who want to build a more human world. indeed we commend collaboration also with those who. you did it to me" (Mt 25:40). peace and freedom. 31. 62. In associations of people and among peoples themselves there is arising a new awareness which shakes them out of any fatalistic resignation and which spurs them on to liberate themselves and to be responsible for their own destiny. seek justice sincerely and by honorable means. In his preaching he proclaimed the fatherhood of God towards all people and the intervention of God's justice on behalf of the needy and the oppressed (Lk 6: 21-23)." as he stated: "As you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family. we have listened to the Word of God that we might be converted to the fulfilling of the divine plan for the salvation of the world.. especially the right to religious liberty. 3. This is the source of our common efforts against discrimination on the grounds of differences of religion. . even though they do not recognize the Author of the world. Movements among people are seen which express hope in a better world and a will to change whatever has become intolerable. race and color. nevertheless. culture and the like«. There are facts constituting a contribution to the furthering of justice.
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