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Building the Church of the Home, Building the Church of the Poor

USA

A Private International Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right

Families in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of the Earth 2012 Theme: “Proclaim the greatness of the Lord” Luke 1:46-55

FAITHFUL CITIZENSHIP – REFLECTION SERIES (Weeks 1 & 2) INTRODUCTION
In November 2007, the US bishops issued their statement Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States. Focusing on the core values inherent in Catholic social teaching, the bishops lay out a framework from which Catholics in the United States can begin to develop a consistent mindset regarding the issues that face our nation and the world today. This companion guide focuses on Part I of the statement, looking at the scriptural and traditional roots of the Church’s teaching on many moral and social issues. In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of why the Church teaches what it does, this study also allows participants to reflect on Catholic social teaching and the issues at hand. Our hope is that by gaining a deeper appreciation and understanding of social teaching, participants might begin to discover how they can more actively live their Catholic faith in the public arena.

FORMAT
CFC USA will use the series of teachings from the US Bishops as the weekly discussion topic within the usual format of a Household meeting. It is recommended that we allow sufficient time (1 to 1-1/2 hours for discussion). It would also facilitate a deeper understanding and more fruitful discussion of the topic if the leaders (especially) and the HH members prayerfully read ahead of the meeting: 1.) the statement from the CFCUSA National Council in solidarity with the US Bishops; 2.) the weekly discussion topic material which point to certain paragraphs of the Bishops’ document on “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” as well as certain Church documents (Catechism, etc.) that are referred to by the study material. A suggested outline for each household meeting follows: Praise & Worship (20-30 minutes) Discussion Topic for the week (1 – 1-1/2 hours) 1. Watch brief video from USCCB (if internet connection available; otherwise encourage members to view at home) 2. Review of Faithful Citizenship section of the week. Summarize/identify major themes in readings. Possibly discuss any points of confusion, etc. 3. Read and Contemplate Scripture passages. Allow 5-10 minutes for silent reflection on the Scripture passages provided. 4. Read through Passages from Encyclicals & Catechism 5. Discuss Reflection Questions. Men may discuss separately from the women in order to give everyone a chance to share and if desired can get together afterwards as whole group to discuss a few key points or issues that come up for further clarification. 6. Look Ahead to Next Week. Participants should read applicable sections of Faithful Citizenship. Leaders should be familiar with and reflect on readings in advance of weekly meetings. 7. Closing Prayers. Prayer intentions suggested by USCCB that correspond to each week’s themes are included at the end of this material, or group members can share their own intentions. Fellowship (30 minutes) CFC USA PFO Special Topics: USCCB’s “Forming Consciences and Faithful Citizenship Weeks 1&2 September 2012 Page 1

Building the Church of the Home, Building the Church of the Poor

USA

A Private International Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right

Families in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of the Earth 2012 Theme: “Proclaim the greatness of the Lord” Luke 1:46-55

WEEK 1: Why Does the Church Teach About Issues Affecting Public Policy?
(Faithful Citizenship #9-12) Video from USCCB - Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Participating in Faithful Citizenship: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/videos-for-faithfulcitizenship.cfm?bcpid=1242911591001&bckey=AQ~~,AAAAdgye3dk~,p0Zv3iru3vJ6apZEMbPbQKQAObdrleZt&bclid =1242911792001&bctid=1675016944001 Key excerpts from Sections of “…Faithful Citizenship.” It will be good to read entire paragraphs.   The Church’s obligation to participate in shaping the moral character of society is a requirement of our faith. (Faithful Citizenship, no. 9) At the center of these truths is respect for the dignity of every person. This is the core of Catholic moral and social teaching. Because we are people of both faith and reason, it is appropriate and necessary for us to bring this essential truth about human life and dignity to the public square. (Faithful Citizenship, no. 10) Indeed, our Church’s teaching is in accord with the foundational values that have shaped our nation’s history: “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” (Faithful Citizenship, no. 11) The Catholic community brings important assets to the political dialogue about our nation’s future (Faithful Citizenship, no. 12).

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Read and Contemplate Scripture Passages. Allow 5-10 minutes for silent reflection.      I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. (Jn 13:34) Learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow. (Is 1:17) O God, give your judgment to the king; your justice to the son of kings;That he may govern your people with justice, your oppressed with right judgment. (Ps 72:1-2) Be doers of the word and not hearers only. (Jas 1:22)

Read Passages from Encyclicals & Catechism. The Church and the political community in their own fields are autonomous and independent from each other. Yet both, under different titles, are devoted to the personal and social vocation of the same men... The Church, for her part, founded on the love of the Redeemer, contributes toward the reign of justice and charity within the borders of a nation and between nations. By preaching the truths of the Gospel, and bringing to bear on all fields of human endeavor the light of her

CFC USA PFO Special Topics: USCCB’s “Forming Consciences and Faithful Citizenship Weeks 1&2 September 2012

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Building the Church of the Home, Building the Church of the Poor

USA

A Private International Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right

Families in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of the Earth 2012 Theme: “Proclaim the greatness of the Lord” Luke 1:46-55 doctrine and of a Christian witness, she respects and fosters the political freedom and responsibility of citizens. (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes (1965), no. 76)  [The Church] is both the sign and the safeguard of the transcendent character of the human person. “The Church respects and encourages the political freedom and responsibility of the citizen.”1 (CCC 2245) It is a part of the Church's mission “to pass moral judgments even in matters related to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvation of souls requires it. The means, the only means, she may use are those which are in accord with the Gospel and the welfare of all men according to the diversity of times and circumstances.”2 (CCC 2246)

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION / REFLECTION 1. What from the readings resonated with you? Challenged you? 2. What do you think is the place of faith in public life? 3. Why is it important for the Church, while not associated with any political party, to be active in the public arena? 4. What are ways that the Church has passed “moral judgments” in relation to politics? What has this added to the conversation or debate? 5. What does it mean to be a “doer” of the Word? Is this a challenge to individual citizens only, or to leaders and governments as well? 6. What role does Sacred Scripture play in your daily life, in the opinions you form, and in your relationship to the world? CLOSING PRAYER. Suggested Prayer Intentions:    That the Church may be a prophetic voice in the political realm, reminding all of their obligation to protect the weak and vulnerable, we pray to the Lord. For all public officials, that the Word of God may guide their decisions as they seek to do what is best for the common good of our nation and world, we pray to the Lord. For us, that we may listen with conviction to the words of Scripture and Tradition and be inspired to work for a world of justice where the life and dignity of all are respected, we pray to the Lord

CFC USA PFO Special Topics: USCCB’s “Forming Consciences and Faithful Citizenship Weeks 1&2 September 2012

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Building the Church of the Home, Building the Church of the Poor

USA

A Private International Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right

Families in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of the Earth 2012 Theme: “Proclaim the greatness of the Lord” Luke 1:46-55

WEEK 2: Who in the Church Should Participate in Political Life?
(Faithful Citizenship: #13-16) Video from USCCB - Using Faithful Citizenship Correctly. Franciscan Father Greg Friedman explains how to correctly use the right tools when forming our consciences and applying Church teaching to political issues. http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/videos-for-faithfulcitizenship.cfm?bcpid=1242911591001&bckey=AQ~~,AAAAdgye3dk~,p0Zv3iru3vJ6apZEMbPbQKQAObdrleZt&bclid =1242911792001&bctid=1652663740001 Key excerpts from Sections of “…Faithful Citizenship.” It will be good to read entire paragraphs.   In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation. (Faithful Citizenship, no. 13) The Church calls for a different type of political engagement: one shaped by the moral convictions of well-formed consciences and focused on the dignity of every human being, the pursuit of the common good, and the protection of the weak and vulnerable. (Faithful Citizenship, no. 14) Clergy and lay people have complementary roles in public life. (Faithful Citizenship, no. 15) “The direct duty to work for a just ordering of society is proper to the lay faithful” (Deus Caritas Est no. 29). This duty is more critical than ever in today’s political environment, where Catholics may feel politically disenfranchised, sensing that no party and too few candidates fully share the Church’s comprehensive commitment to the life and dignity of every human being from conception to natural death. (Faithful Citizenship, no. 16)

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Read and Contemplate Scripture Passages. Allow 5-10 minutes for silent reflection.

The word of the LORD came to me thus: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you. “Ah, Lord GOD!” I said, “I know not how to speak; I am too young.” But the LORD answered me, Say not, “I am too young.” To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak. (Jer 1:4-7) “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. . . . Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.” (Mt 5:6-9, 12-14)

CFC USA PFO Special Topics: USCCB’s “Forming Consciences and Faithful Citizenship Weeks 1&2 September 2012

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Building the Church of the Home, Building the Church of the Poor

USA

A Private International Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right

Families in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of the Earth 2012 Theme: “Proclaim the greatness of the Lord” Luke 1:46-55 Read Passages from Encyclicals & Catechism.  Building a just social and civil order, wherein each person receives what is his or her due, is an essential task which every generation must take up anew... As citizens of the State, [the lay faithful] are called to take part in public life in a personal capacity. So they cannot relinquish their participation “in the many different economic, social, legislative, administrative and cultural areas, which are intended to promote organically and institutionally the common good.”1 . . . [I]t still remains true that charity must animate the entire lives of the lay faithful and therefore also their political activity, lived as “social charity”.2 (Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est (2005), no. 28, 29)  Let everyone consider it his sacred obligation to esteem and observe social necessities as belonging to the primary duties of modern man. For the more unified the world becomes, the more plainly do the offices of men extend beyond particular groups and spread by degrees to the whole world. But this development cannot occur unless individual men and their associations cultivate in themselves the moral and social virtues, and promote them in society; thus, with the needed help of divine grace men who are truly new and artisans of a new humanity can be forthcoming. (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes (1965), no. 30)  It is necessary that all participate, each according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This obligation is inherent in the dignity of the human person... As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life (CCC 1913, 1915).  It is not the role of the Pastors of the Church to intervene directly in the political structuring and organization of social life. This task is part of the vocation of the lay faithful, acting on their own initiative with their fellow citizens. Social action can assume various concrete forms. It should always have the common good in view and be in conformity with the message of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church. It is the role of the laity “to animate temporal realities with Christian commitment, by which they show that they are witnesses and agents of peace and justice.”3 (CCC 2442) QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION / REFLECTION 1. What from the readings resonated with you? Challenged you? 2. In what ways can you relate to the call of Jeremiah? Have you ever felt the stirring of the Holy Spirit in your heart, urging you to respond to some injustice? 3. What does Matthew 5 reveal about the role of Christians in the world? 4. When you hear the word “politics,” what is your initial reaction? Do you think the average person considers politics with cynicism or enthusiasm? How might we renew an interest in political participation? 5. What does it mean to promote “the common good”? 6. Reflect on the statement that participation in the public and political sphere is necessary and obligatory. How are you involved in political life? If not, what keeps you from responding to this call to participation? 7. What are some ways the faithful can transform the political arena?

CFC USA PFO Special Topics: USCCB’s “Forming Consciences and Faithful Citizenship Weeks 1&2 September 2012

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Building the Church of the Home, Building the Church of the Poor

USA

A Private International Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right

Families in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of the Earth 2012 Theme: “Proclaim the greatness of the Lord” Luke 1:46-55 CLOSING PRAYER. Suggested Prayer Intentions:

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That the Holy Spirit may embolden the body of Christ to act with faith and courage in the public arena, we pray to the Lord. That pastors may be inspired to preach the Word of God without inhibition so that the faithful may listen and act on it, we pray to the Lord. That we, the Catholic Church in the United States of America, may transform the political landscape to reflect light, hope, and the dignity of every person, we pray to the Lord.

CFC USA PFO Special Topics: USCCB’s “Forming Consciences and Faithful Citizenship Weeks 1&2 September 2012

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