Pastor's Corner

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

11-13-2022Pastor's CornerVery Rev. Robert J. Deehan, VF

Are you surprised that our Catholic Bishops have something to say about topical social issues, some of which are matters promoted by Democrats and others promoted by Republicans? The Church does not align with a particular political candidate or party, but it can speak about social issues that impact the welfare of our society.

The Church’s rich social teaching offers a treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of our times. The sources of Catholic social teaching come from papal, conciliar and episcopal documents over many years, and highlight key themes that are at the heart of our Catholic social tradition. These include the life and dignity of the human person; and the call to organize society in a way that supports marriage, family and the central social institutions that help bring about the common good and the well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.

Our Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be upheld and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met, which promote the fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our Catholic tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgement (Mt. 25:31 – 46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first, which is commonly referred to as “the fundamental option for the poor.” Our Catholic social teaching has a lot to say about the dignity of work and the rights of workers, highlighting that the economy must serve people, not the other way around. This is with the understanding that work is more than a way of making a living, but also a form of continuing participation in God’s creation.

Another facet of Catholic social teaching is our solidarity with other members of the human family whatever national, racial, ethnic, economic and ideological differences there may be, sharing a common fundamental pursuit of justice and peace. And, highlighted by Pope Francis in his Encyclical, On Care for Our Common Home (Laudato Si), our Church calls all of us to view ourselves as stewards of creation, where we must strive to protect all people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation, and by taking on the fundamental moral and ethical issues brought on by environmental challenges. (Portions taken from Themes from Catholic Social Teaching, USCCB Communications Pub. No. 5-315)

Besides making statements providing moral guidance, our Church - all of us, as a community of persons formed by the Gospel and Catholic social teaching, can have a powerful influence, both in an organized fashion and as individual stakeholders, on the direction our society takes. We are challenged to address the connection between our faith and the social issues that call forth a response. Among those Catholic social teachings highlighted above, which one are you motivated to do something about?

God bless you!

Fr. Bob