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1 FAITHFUL CITIZENSHIP An Exploration of Sacred Scripture & Tradition AN ELEVEN-WEEK REFLECTION SERIES A COMPANION GUIDE TO: Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility FROM THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF THE UNITED STATES

2 INTRODUCTION TO FAITHFUL CITIZENSHIP In November 2019, the U.S. bishops issued their statement Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility. 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. FOR GROUP LEADERS AND FACILITATORS To maximize the impact of this 11-week study, we suggest limiting group size to fewer than fifteen persons, and meeting length to between one and a half to two hours, with time for socializing or refreshments afterwards. A suggested outline for each session follows: Opening Prayer / Song See the following section for prayer ideas. Review the Faithful Citizenship section of the week Summarize / identify major themes in readings. Possibly discuss any points of confusion, etc. Read and Contemplate Scripture passages Allow 5-10 minutes for silent reflection on the Scripture passages provided. Read through Passages from Encyclicals & Catechism Discuss Reflection Questions Look Ahead to Next Week Read applicable sections of Faithful Citizenship. Leaders should be familiar with and reflect on readings in advance of weekly meetings. Prayer Intentions Prayer intentions that correspond to each week s themes are available, or members can share their own intentions with the group. Closing Prayer / Song 2

3 PRAYER SUGGESTIONS PRAYER BY CARDINAL JOHN HENRY NEWMAN Prayed often by Saint Teresa of Calcutta Dear Jesus, help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go. Flood our souls with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess our whole being, so utterly, that our lives may only be a radiance of yours. Shine through us, and be so in us, that every soul we come in contact with may feel your presence in our soul. Let them look up and see no longer us but only Jesus! Stay with us, and then we shall begin to shine as you shine; so to shine as to be a light to others. The light, O Jesus will be all from you. None of it will be ours; it will be you shining on others through us. Let us thus praise you in the way that you love best by shining on those around us. Let us preach you with preaching: not by words but by our example, by the catching force, by sympathetic influence of what we do, the evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to you. Amen. PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen. 3

4 11-WEEK REFLECTION SERIES WEEK ONE Why does the church teach about issues affecting public policy? Faithful Citizenship: #9-12 John 13:34; Isaiah 1:17; Psalm 72:2; James 1:22; Gaudium et Spes, No. 76; Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 2245, 46 WEEK TWO Who in the church should participate in political life? Faithful Citizenship: #13-16 Jeremiah 1:4-7; Matthew 5:6-9, 12-14; Deus Caritas Est, No. 28, 29; Gaudium et Spes, No. 30; CCC 1913, 1915; CCC 2242 WEEK THREE How does the church help the faithful address social & political questions? PART 1 A WELL FORMED CONSCIENCE Faithful Citizenship: #17-18 Romans 12:1-2; CCC 1778 VIRTUE OF PRUDENCE Faithful Citizenship: #19-20 Romans 12:1-2; CCC 1778 WEEK FOUR How does the church help the faithful address social & political questions? PART 2 DOING GOOD AND AVOIDING EVIL Faithful Citizenship: #21-30 Romans 12:9, Veritatis Splendor, No. 52 MAKING MORAL CHOICES Faithful Citizenship: #31-39 Deuteronomy 30:11, 14-20; Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life, No. 4 WEEK FIVE The right to life and the dignity of the human person Faithful Citizenship: #44-45 Genesis 1:27; Ps 139:13-16; John 10:10b; Evangelium Vitae, nos. 2, 53-54; CCC 1931, 1938 WEEK SIX Call to family, community and participation Faithful Citizenship: #46-48 Genesis 2:18; Genesis 28:3; James 2:14-17; Gaudium et Spes, No. 12; CCC 1879; Centesimus Annus, No. 39; Economic Justice for All, No. 93; CCC 1882 WEEK SEVEN Rights and responsibilities Faithful Citizenship: #49 Proverbs 31:8-9; Leviticus 25:35; Matthew 10:8; Pacem in Terris, No. 11, 30; Divini Redemptoris, 30; Christifideles Laici, No. 38 WEEK EIGHT Option for the poor and vulnerable Faithful Citizenship: #50-51 Leviticus 19:9-10; Deuteronomy 15:11; Mark 10:21; Matthew 25:34-40; CCC 1033; Octogesima Adveniens, No. 23; Populorum Progressio, No. 23; Economic Justice for All, No. 86 WEEK NINE Dignity of work and the rights of workers Faithful Citizenship: #52 Genesis 2:15; Deuteronomy 24:14-16; Centesimus Annus, No. 6; Laborem Exercens, No. 9; CCC WEEK TEN Solidarity Faithful Citizenship: #53 Isaiah 35:3-4; 1 John 3:16-18; 1 Corinthians 12:24-27; Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, No. 38, 39; CCC , 2439 WEEK ELEVEN Caring for God s Creation Faithful Citizenship: #54 Genesis 1:26-30; Centesimus Annus, 37; CCC 31-32, 299; CCC ADDITIONAL READING REFERENCE 4

5 WEEK ONE Why does the church teach about issues that effect public policy? 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 I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. John 13:34 Learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow. Isaiah 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. Psalm 72:1-2 Be doers of the word and not hearers only. James 1:22 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 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. i 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. ii CCC

6 WEEK ONE REFLECTION QUESTIONS 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? 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. 6

7 WEEK TWO Who in the church should participate in political life? 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. Jeremiah 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. Matthew 5:6-9, 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. ii... It still remains true that charity must animate the entire lives of the lay faithful and therefore also their political activity, lived as social charity. iv 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 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. CCC

8 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 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 WEEK TWO REFLECTION QUESTIONS 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? SUGGESTED PRAYER INTENTIONS 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 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. 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. 8

9 WEEK THREE PART ONE How does the church help the faithful address social & political questions? A WELL-FORMED CONSCIENCE I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 9 Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed. In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right. CCC 1778 Catholics have a serious and lifelong obligation to form their consciences in accord with human reason and the teaching of the Church. Conscience is not something that allows us to justify doing whatever we want, nor is it a mere feeling about what we should or should not do. Rather, conscience is the voice of God resounding in the human heart, revealing the truth to us and calling us to do what is good while shunning evil. Faithful Citizenship, No.17 The formation of conscience includes several elements. First, there is a desire to embrace goodness and truth. For Catholics this begins with a willingness and openness to seek the truth and what is right by studying Sacred Scripture and the teaching of the Church as contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is also important to examine the facts and background information about various choices. Finally, prayerful reflection is essential to discern the will of God. Catholics must also understand that if they fail to form their consciences they can make erroneous judgments.v Faithful Citizenship, No. 18 THE VIRTUE OF PRUDENCE Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it... It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience. The prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid. CCC 1806 The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD. Isaiah 11:2 9

10 Prudence is love choosing wisely between the things that help and those which hinder. (St. Augustine, De Moribus...,eccl. xv.) And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11 The Church fosters well-formed consciences not only by teaching moral truth but also by encouraging her members to develop the virtue of prudence... Prudence shapes and informs our ability to deliberate over available alternatives, to determine what is most fitting to a specific context, and to act decisively. Exercising this virtue often requires the courage to act in defense of moral principles when making decisions about how to build a society of justice and peace. Faithful Citizenship, No. 19 WEEK THREE REFLECTION QUESTIONS 1. What comes to mind when you think of conscience? What new insights do the readings provide about conscience? 2. How do you personally make important decisions, particularly about political issues? 3. How is conscience formation a continuous process in your own life? What activities or processes do you engage in, to form your conscience? 4. How might you be able to apply the process of conscience formation suggested in Faithful Citizenship in your own life? 5. How does one develop the virtue of prudence? 6. Where have you exercised the virtue of prudence in your own political decision-making? SUGGESTED PRAYER INTENTIONS That we may all encourage each other up to do good and help each other to avoid evil, we pray to the Lord. That we may be united in our support of human life and dignity instead of falling victim to the two temptations in public life, we pray to the Lord. That guided by our consciences and the Holy Spirit, we may make moral decisions about the political choices before us and choose candidates who will represent Catholic teachings, we pray to the Lord. 10

11 WEEK FOUR PART TWO How does the church help the faithful address social & political questions? DOING GOOD AND AVOIDING EVIL Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good. Romans 12:9 There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor. Such actions are so deeply flawed that they are always opposed to the authentic good of persons. These are called intrinsically evil actions. They must always be rejected and opposed and must never be supported or condoned... Opposition to intrinsically evil acts that undercut the dignity of the human person should also open our eyes to the good we must do, that is, to your positive duty to contribute to the common good and to act in solidarity with those in need. Faithful Citizenship, No. 22, 24 Two temptations in public life can distort the Church s defense of human life and dignity: The first is a moral equivalence that makes no ethical distinctions between different kinds of issues involving human life and dignity... The second is the misuse of these necessary moral distinctions as a way of dismissing or ignoring other serious threats to human life and dignity... We are not factions, but one family of faith fulfilling the mission of Jesus Christ. Faithful Citizenship, No , 29 The negative precepts of the natural law are universally valid. They oblige each and every individual, always and in every circumstance. It is a matter of prohibitions which forbid a given action semper et pro semper, without exception, because the choice of this kind of behavior is in no case compatible with the goodness of the will of the acting person, with his vocation to life with God and to communion with his neighbor... On the other hand, the fact that only the negative commandments oblige always and under all circumstances does not mean that in the moral life prohibitions are more important than the obligation to do good indicated by the positive commandment. Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor (1993), No. 52 MAKING MORAL CHOICES For this command which I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you... No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out. Here, then, I have today set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving him, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees, you will live and grow numerous... Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. Deuteronomy 30:11,

12 A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals. The Christian faith is an integral unity, and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine. A political commitment to a single isolated aspect of the Church s social doctrine does not exhaust one s responsibility towards the common good. Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life, No. 4 In making these decisions, it is essential for Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions. These decisions should take into account a candidate s commitments, character, integrity, and ability to influence a given issue. In the end, this is a decision to be made by each Catholic guided by a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching. Faithful Citizenship, No. 37 WEEK FOUR REFLECTION QUESTIONS 1. What from the readings resonated with you? Challenged you? 2. Why is it important for Catholics to both fight evil and to work for good? How do the negative and positive commandments work hand in hand? How do you personally work to avoid evil and do good? 3. Have you or anyone you know ever fallen victim to either of the two temptations in public life mentioned in Faithful Citizenship? Describe. How are each of these temptations a distortion of the Church s defense of human life? 4. The Church has always been clear that it does not support any party or endorse any candidates, but how can the Church s teachings help guide our decisions about voting? SUGGESTED PRAYER INTENTIONS That we may all encourage each other to do good and help each other to avoid evil, we pray to the Lord. That we may be united in our support of human life and dignity instead of falling victim to the two temptations in public life, we pray to the Lord. That guided by our consciences and the Holy Spirit, we may make moral decisions about the political choices before us and choose candidates who will represent Catholic teachings, we pray to the Lord. 12

13 WEEK FIVE The right to life and the dignity of the human person God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae (1995), No. 2 You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb. I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth. Your eyes foresaw my actions; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be. Psalm 139:13-16 I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly John 10:10b By his incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every human being. vi This saving event reveals to humanity not only the boundless love of God who so loved the world that he gave his only Son (Jn 3:16), but also the incomparable value of every human person. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae (1995), No. 2 God proclaims that he is absolute Lord of the life of man, who is formed in his image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26-28). Human life is thus given a sacred and inviolable character, which reflects the inviolability of the Creator himself. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, No. 53 As explicitly formulated, the precept You shall not kill is strongly negative: it indicates the extreme limit which can never be exceeded. Implicitly, however, it encourages a positive attitude of absolute respect for life; it leads to the promotion of life and to progress along the way of a love which gives, receives and serves. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, No. 54 Respect for the human person proceeds by way of respect for the principle that everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as another self, above all bearing in mind his life and the means necessary for living it with dignity vii CCC 1931 There exist also sinful inequalities that affect millions of men and women. These are in open contradiction of the Gospel: Their equal dignity as persons demands that we strive for fairer and more humane conditions. Excessive economic and social disparity between individuals and peoples of the one human race is a source of scandal and militates against social justice, equity, human dignity, as well as social and international peace. CCC 1938 Human life is sacred. The dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. Direct attacks on innocent persons are never morally acceptable, at any stage or in any condition. Faithful Citizenship, No

14 There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor. Such actions are so deeply flawed that they are always opposed to the authentic good of persons. These are called intrinsically evil actions. They must always be rejected and opposed and must never be supported or condoned. A prime example is the intentional taking of innocent human life, as in abortion and euthanasia... Similarly, direct threats to the sanctity and dignity of human life, such as human cloning and destructive research on human embryos, are also intrinsically evil. These must always be opposed. Other direct assaults on innocent human life and violations of human dignity, such as genocide, torture, racism, and the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror or war, can never be justified. Faithful Citizenship, No. 22, 23 WEEK FIVE REFLECTION QUESTIONS 1. What from the readings resonated with you? Challenged you? 2. Read the selection from Psalms 139 aloud. What does this tell you about human life? 3. What does it mean to you to be created in the image and likeness of God? 4. Do you see your neighbor as another self? How would embracing this practice change the way in which you act? Would it impact your beliefs on political issues? 5. John 10:10b talks about having life abundantly. What does it mean to have abundant physical life? Spiritual life? How does this relate to the concept of human dignity? 6. Reflect on the commandment You shall not kill. Other than the taking of physical life, name some other ways in which we can kill the person? 7. How can the Church s teachings about human life and dignity help inform our opinions about issues like abortion, euthanasia, poverty, and the death penalty? SUGGESTED PRAYER INTENTIONS That public officials might embrace policies that transform our culture into a culture of life that embraces life and the dignity of every person, from conception to natural death, we pray to the Lord. For our Church, that united with one Spirit, we might present a unified voice to stand up for the life and dignity of every person, created in the image and likeness of God, we pray to the Lord. That our own hearts may be transformed to see others with the eyes of Christ, professing and practicing a true love of neighbor, stranger, and friend, we pray to the Lord. 14

15 WEEK SIX Call to family, community and participation The LORD God said: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him. Genesis 2:18 May God Almighty bless you and make you fertile, multiply you that you may become an assembly of peoples. Genesis 28:3 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well, but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:14-17 But God did not create man as a solitary, for from the beginning male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 Their companionship produces the primary form of interpersonal communion. For by his innermost nature man is a social being, and unless he relates himself to others he can neither live nor develop his potential. Gaudium et Spes (1965), No. 12 The human person needs to live in society. Society is not for him an extraneous addition but a requirement of his nature. Through the exchange with others, mutual service and dialogue with his brethren, man develops his potential; he thus responds to his vocation.viii CCC 1879 The first and fundamental structure for a human ecology is the family... founded on marriage, in which the mutual gift of self as husband and wife creates an environment in which children can be born and develop their potentialities, become aware of their dignity and prepare to face their unique and individual destiny. Centesimus Annus (1991), No. 39 Economic and social policies as well as organization of the work world should be continually evaluated in light of their impact on the strength and stability of family life. The long-range future of this nation is intimately linked with the well-being of families, for the family is the most basic form of human community.ix Efficiency and competition in the marketplace must be moderated by greater concern for the way work schedules and compensation support or threaten the bonds between spouses and between parents and children. Economic Justice for All, No. 93 The human person is not only sacred, but social. Full human development takes place in relationship with others. The family based on marriage between a man and a woman is the first and fundamental unit of society and is a sanctuary for the creation and nurturing of children. Faithful Citizenship, No

16 Certain societies, such as the family and the state, correspond more directly to the nature of man; they are necessary to him. To promote the participation of the greatest number in the life of a society, the creation of voluntary associations and institutions must be encouraged on both national and international levels, which relate to economic and social goals, to cultural and recreational activities, to sport, to various professions, and to political affairs. x This socialization also expresses the natural tendency for human beings to associate with one another for the sake of attaining objectives that exceed individual capacities. It develops the qualities of the person, especially the sense of initiative and responsibility, and helps guarantee his rights. xi CCC 1882 How we organize our society in economics and politics, in law and policy directly affects the common good and the capacity of individuals to develop their full potential. Every person and association has a right and a duty to participate actively in shaping society and to promote the well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable. Faithful Citizenship, No. 47 WEEK SIX REFLECTION QUESTIONS 1. What from the readings resonated with you? Challenged you? 2. Reflect on the Genesis creation stories; discuss how marriage and family relate to the very nature of humans as social beings and our relationship to God? 3. How do economic and social policies affect family life? How can family life be threatened by a narrow focus on efficiency and competition? 4. What role does society play in shaping our lives? What role do we play in shaping society? 5. Does the organization of your local and national communities allow and encourage the participation of all? Whose voices are heard easily? Who might have a hard time having their voices heard? 6. Can we be faithful to Christ and the Church if we do not participate in the social order? SUGGESTED PRAYER INTENTIONS For all those who feel lonely or isolated, that the Church and her people may fill the void and darkness with the light of Christ s love, we pray to the Lord. For economic and social policies that support the health and cohesiveness of families, and for healing within families that are broken, we pray to the Lord. That we might build a society which promotes and strengthens the institution of marriage, and that respect for the family might be reflected in every policy and program, we pray to the Lord. 16

17 WEEK SEVEN Rights and Responsibilities Open your mouth in behalf of the dumb, and for the rights of the destitute; Open your mouth, decree what is just, defend the needy and the poor! Proverbs 31:8-9 When one of your fellow countrymen is reduced to poverty and is unable to hold out beside you, extend to him the privileges of an alien or a tenant, so that he may continue to live with you. Lv 25:35 We must speak of man's rights. Man has the right to live. He has the right to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services. In consequence, he has the right to be looked after in the event of ill health; disability stemming from his work; widowhood; old age; enforced unemployment; or whenever through no fault of his own he is deprived of the means of livelihood.xii Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris (1963), No. 11 In human society one man's natural right gives rise to a corresponding duty in other men; the duty, that is, of recognizing and respecting that right. Every basic human right draws its authoritative force from the natural law, which confers it and attaches to it its respective duty. Hence, to claim one's rights and ignore one's duties, or only half fulfill them, is like building a house with one hand and tearing it down with the other. Pacem in Terris, No. 30 Man cannot be exempted from his divinely-imposed obligations toward civil society, and the representatives of authority have the right to coerce him when he refuses without reason to do his duty. Society, on the other hand, cannot defraud man of his God-granted rights, the most important of which we have indicated above. Nor can society systematically void these rights by making their use impossible. Pope Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris (1937), No. 30 The inviolability of the person which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, finds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights-for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination. Pope John Paul II, Christifideles Laici (1988), No. 38 Every human being has a right to life, the fundamental right that makes all other rights possible, and a right to access to those things required for human decency: food and shelter, education and employment, health care and housing, freedom of religion and family life... Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities to one another, to our families and to the larger society. Faithful Citizenship, No

18 The human being is entitled to such rights, in every phase of development, from conception until natural death; and in every condition, whether healthy or sick, whole or handicapped, rich or poor. The Second Vatican Council openly proclaimed All offences against life itself, such as every kind of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and willful suicide; all violations of the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture, undue psychological pressures; all offences against human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children, degrading working conditions where men are treated as mere tools for profit rather than free and responsible persons; all these and the like are certainly criminal: they poison human society; and they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonor to the Creator. Christifideles Laici, No. 38 WEEK SEVEN REFLECTION QUESTIONS 1. What from the readings resonated with you? Challenged you? 2. Discuss the notion of rights from a Catholic perspective. How might this differ from society s understanding of rights? 3. Reflect on the statement that our obligations toward civil society are divinely imposed. What is your reaction? 4. Name some rights we enjoy (or should enjoy) as human persons created by God. What are our responsibilities in light of these? 5. Why is the right to life seen as the most basic and fundamental right? 6. Who in the local, national, or international community has rights that are left unfulfilled? Whose duty is it to ensure the fulfillment of these rights? SUGGESTED PRAYER INTENTIONS That human life, the basic and most fundamental right and the condition for all other rights, may always be respected, we pray to the Lord. That leaders of nations may always strive to protect the right to life of all, especially the disadvantaged, and that they may work to promote human rights and encourage all to fulfill their responsibilities, we pray to the Lord. For those who live in oppression, that we, the body of Christ, might live out our duty to give voice to the voiceless and stand up for the rights of all humanity, we pray to the Lord. 18

19 WEEK EIGHT Option for the poor and vulnerable When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not be so thorough that you reap the field to its very edge, nor shall you glean the stray ears of grain. Likewise, you shall not pick your vineyard bare, nor gather up the grapes that have fallen. These things you shall leave for the poor and the alien. Proverbs 31:8-9 The needy will never be lacking in the land; that is why I command you to open your hand to your poor and needy kinsman in your country. Lv 25:35 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to [the] poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me. Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris (1963), No. 11 Then the king will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me. Then the righteous will answer him and say, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you? And the king will say to them in reply, Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:34-40 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. xiii Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.xiv To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called hell. CCC 1033 In teaching us charity, the Gospel instructs us in the preferential respect due to the poor and the special situation they have in society: the more fortunate should renounce some of their rights so as to place their goods more generously at the service of others. Pope Paul VI, Octogesima Adveniens (1971), No. 23 The obligation to provide justice for all means that the poor have the single most urgent economic claim on the conscience of the nation. Economic Justice for All, No

20 He who has the goods of this world and sees his brother in need and closes his heart to him, how does the love of God abide in him? xv Everyone knows that the Fathers of the Church laid down the duty of the rich toward the poor in no uncertain terms. As St. Ambrose put it: You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. You have been appropriating things that are meant to be for the common use of everyone. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich. xvi Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio (1967), No. 23 While the common good embraces all, those who are weak, vulnerable and most in need deserve preferential concern. A basic moral test for our society is how we treat the most vulnerable in our midst. Faithful Citizenship, No. 50 WEEK EIGHT REFLECTION QUESTIONS 1. What from the readings resonated with you? Challenged you? 2. In your estimation, who are the poor and vulnerable in our midst? 3. Do you think we would, as a society, pass the test of judgment presented in Matthew 25? Would you, as an individual, pass this test? Why or why not? If not, what would it take for us, or you, to achieve that measure? 4. What is your reaction to the Catechism passage ( We cannot be... )? 5. What does Pope Paul VI say about the responsibility of those more fortunate than others? What changes could you make in your own life to better live up to this responsibility? SUGGESTED PRAYER INTENTIONS That the leaders of the Church and nations keep the plight of the poor at the forefront of their actions and deliberations, we pray to the Lord. For those who suffer from all poverty, be it physical, emotional or spiritual, that they may find relief in the kindness of community and hope from the body of Christ, we pray to the Lord. That we, as faithful disciples of Christ, may always respond to those who are in need, seeing Jesus in the hungry, the thirsty, the strangers, the ill, and the prisoners, we pray to the Lord. That we all may work to transform unjust structures which perpetuate poverty and that these efforts may lead to a transformed society of justice for all, we pray to the Lord. 20

21 WEEK NINE Dignity of work and the rights of workers The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it. Genesis 2:15 With the intention of shedding light on the conflict which had arisen between capital and labor, Pope Leo XIII affirmed the fundamental rights of workers. Indeed, the key to reading the Encyclical is the dignity of the worker as such, and, for the same reason, the dignity of work, which is defined as follows: to exert oneself for the sake of procuring what is necessary for the various purposes of life, and first of all for self-preservation. xvii The Pope describes work as personal, inasmuch as the energy expended is bound up with the personality and is the exclusive property of him who acts, and, furthermore, was given to him for his advantage. xviii Work thus belongs to the vocation of every person; indeed, man expresses and fulfils himself by working. At the same time, work has a social dimension through its intimate relationship not only to the family, but also to the common good, since it may truly be said that it is only by the labor of working-men that States grow rich. xix John Paul II, Centesimus Annus (1991), No. 6 In work... man himself should not experience a lowering of his own dignity.xx Again, it is well known that it is possible to use work in various ways against man, that it is possible to punish man with the system of forced labor in concentration camps, that work can be made into a means for oppressing man, and that in various ways it is possible to exploit human labor, that is to say the worker. All this pleads in favor of the moral obligation to link industriousness as a virtue with the social order of work, which will enable man to become, in work, more a human being and not be degraded by it not only because of the wearing out of his physical strength (which, at least up to a certain point, is inevitable), but especially through damage to the dignity and subjectivity that are proper to him. John Paul II, Laborem Exercens (1981), No. 9 Access to employment and to professions must be open to all without unjust discrimination: men and women, healthy and disabled, natives and immigrants. For its part society should, according to circumstances, help citizens find work and employment...xxi A just wage is the legitimate fruit of work. To refuse or withhold it can be a grave injustice.xxii In determining fair pay both the needs and the contributions of each person must be taken into account. Remuneration for work should guarantee man the opportunity to provide a dignified livelihood for himself and his family on the material, social, cultural and spiritual level, taking into account the role and the productivity of each, the state of the business, and the common good. xxiii Agreement between the parties is not sufficient to justify morally the amount to be received in wages... Unemployment almost always wounds its victim s dignity and threatens the equilibrium of his life. Besides the harm done to him personally, it entails many risks for his family.xxiv CCC ,

22 You shall not defraud a poor and needy hired servant, whether he be one of your own countrymen or one of the aliens who live in your communities. You shall pay him each day's wages before sundown on the day itself, since he is poor and looks forward to them. Otherwise he will cry to the LORD against you, and you will be held guilty. Deuteronomy 24:14-16 The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God s creation... Workers, employers and unions should not only advance their own interests, but also work together to advance economic justice and the well-being of all. Faithful Citizenship, No. 52 WEEK NINE REFLECTION QUESTIONS 1. What from the readings resonated with you? Challenged you? 2. What relationship does your work have to your identity in Christ? 3. What do you think is the dominant cultural view of work? Of workers? 4. Think of the different types of workers you interact with each day (bus drivers, grocery clerks, waiters, businesspersons, etc.). Do you think the work done by the majority of people in your community and in the United States reflects their dignity as human beings? Is work seen as a vocation? 5. What do you know about work conditions globally? How are you connected with workers in other countries in the globalized world? What responsibility do you have to ensure just working conditions for people across national borders? 6. In our society, does the economy serve people, or do people serve the economy? If the latter, what changes could be made to make the dignity of persons a focus of economic policy? SUGGESTED PRAYER INTENTIONS That the Church, and we as its members, may continue our tradition of defending the dignity of workers and the valuing of people over profit, we pray to the Lord. For leaders of nations and employers, that they may see people as more than instruments of economic growth, we pray to the Lord. That we, as children of God, may experience fulfillment in our work, seeing in it an opportunity to offer our labor to and for God, we pray to the Lord. That money and wealth may cease to be idols that distract us from living out our call to love our neighbor and reverence God above all things, we pray to the Lord. 22

23 WEEK TEN Solidarity Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak. Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Isaiah 35:3-4 The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. 1 John 3:16-18 But God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without it, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another. If [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy. Now you are Christ s body, and individually parts of it. 1 Corinthians 12:24-27 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, because we are all really responsible for all. This determination is based on the solid conviction that what is hindering full development is that desire for profit and that thirst for power already mentioned. These attitudes and structures of sin are only conquered presupposing the help of divine grace by a diametrically opposed attitude: a commitment to the good of one's neighbor with the readiness, in the gospel sense, to lose oneself for the sake of the other instead of exploiting him, and to serve him instead of oppressing him for one s own advantage (cf. Mt. 10:40-42; 20:25; Mk 10:42-45; Lk 22:25-27). John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (1987), No. 38 Interdependence must be transformed into solidarity, based upon the principle that the goods of creation are meant for all... Surmounting every type of imperialism and determination to preserve their own hegemony, the stronger and richer nations must have a sense of moral responsibility for the other nations, so that a real international system may be established which will rest on the foundation of the equality of all peoples and on the necessary respect for their legitimate differences. John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (1987), No. 39 Rich nations have a grave moral responsibility toward those which are unable to ensure the means of their development by themselves or have been prevented from doing so by tragic historical events. It is a duty in solidarity and charity; it is also an obligation in justice if the prosperity of the rich nations has come from resources that have not been paid for fairly. CCC

24 The principle of solidarity, also articulated in terms of friendship or social charity, is a direct demand of human and Christian brotherhood... xxv An error, today abundantly widespread, is disregard for the law of human solidarity and charity, dictated and imposed both by our common origin and by the equality in rational nature of all men, whatever nation they belong to. This law is sealed by the sacrifice of redemption offered by Jesus Christ on the altar of the Cross to his heavenly Father, on behalf of sinful humanity... xxvi Solidarity is manifested in the first place by the distribution of goods and remuneration for work. It also presupposes the effort for a more just social order where tensions are better able to be reduced and conflicts more readily settled by negotiation. CCC We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic and ideological differences. We are our brothers and sisters keepers, wherever they may be... Solidarity also includes the Scriptural call to welcome the stranger among us including immigrants seeking work, a safe home, education for their children, and a decent life for their families. Faithful Citizenship, No. 53 WEEK TEN REFLECTION QUESTIONS 1. What from the readings resonated with you? Challenged you? 2. Read Isaiah 35:3-4 aloud. What does this passage from Scripture call us to? 3. What does it mean to love in deed and truth as opposed to word or speech? 4. How does viewing the neighbor, stranger or not, local or not, as the living image of God, redeemed by Christ, change the way we as individuals and as a nation interact with and treat others? 5. Are you aware of ways in which actions by individuals and by the United States and other rich nations, affect poorer nations? What does it mean for us to be our brothers and sisters keepers? 6. How are we doing, a) as a Catholic community, and b) as a nation, at welcoming strangers among us? How could we improve our efforts? SUGGESTED PRAYER INTENTIONS That the leaders of the Church and we as its members, may challenge our leaders to realize that we are all part of one human family, we pray to the Lord. That we may one day embrace the full reality of a love of neighbor that extends beyond our national boundaries, we pray to the Lord. For the leaders of nations, that they may always act fairly and justly in their relations with other nations, and that we may always see everyone in the global community as our sisters and brothers, we pray to the Lord. 24

25 WEEK ELEVEN Caring for God s Creation Then God said: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground. God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth. God also said: See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground, I give all the green plants for food. Genesis 1:26-30 Equally worrying is the ecological question which accompanies the problem of consumerism and which is closely connected to it. In his desire to have and to enjoy rather than to be and to grow, man consumes the resources of the earth and his own life in an excessive and disordered way... Man, who discovers his capacity to transform and in a certain sense create the world through his own work, forgets that this is always based on God's prior and original gift of the things that are. Man thinks that he can make arbitrary use of the earth, subjecting it without restraint to his will, as though it did not have its own requisites and a prior God-given purpose, which man can indeed develop but must not betray. Instead of carrying out his role as a co-operator with God in the work of creation, man sets himself up in place of God and thus ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature, which is more tyrannized than governed by him...xxvii In this regard, humanity today must be conscious of its duties and obligations towards future generations John Paul II, Centesimus Annus (1991), No. 37 These ways of approaching God from creation have a twofold point of departure: the physical world and the human person... The world: starting from movement, becoming, contingency, and the world's order and beauty, one can come to a knowledge of God as the origin and the end of the universe... And St. Augustine issues this challenge: Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air distending and diffusing itself, question the beauty of the sky... question all these realities. All respond: See, we are beautiful. Their beauty is a profession [confessio]. These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One [Pulcher] who is not subject to change? xxviii CCC Because creation comes forth from God's goodness, it shares in that goodness and God saw that it was good... very good xxix for God willed creation as a gift addressed to man, an inheritance destined for and entrusted to him. On many occasions the Church has had to defend the goodness of creation, including that of the physical world.xxx CCC

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