Blog Template Theology of the Body: A Week of Catholic Social Teaching III

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Week of Catholic Social Teaching III

3. Option for the Poor

This theme does not intend to accentuate the division of classes to an even greater degree, but instead to emphasize our responsibility towards the most vulnerable members of society. As citizens we are called to educate ourselves before we vote so we can elect those candidates who will protect those who are more exposed in our society to ever-changing public policies. Same applies to the State: “It lies in the power of a ruler to benefit every class in the State, and amongst the rest to promote to the utmost the interests of the poor.” (Rerum Novarum, 32)

4. Rights and Responsibilities

Every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency such as food, shelter, clothing, employment, health care, and education. As Catholics, we have the duty to ensure that these basic rights are true for all members of society. John Paul II challenges us to go beyond our feelings of compassion and take an active part in defending human rights:

“This then is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual.” (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 38).

At the same time, we have responsibilities towards our families, one another, and to the larger society. These responsibilities extend beyond the boundaries of our homes, neighborhoods, countries, and even cultures and religions, since “we are all really responsible for all” (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 38).

We exercise our responsibilities towards our fellow citizens and those members of society whose voice cannot be heard by voting for candidates who will promote human dignity and protect human rights.

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