Life Among the Believers
All who believed were together and had all things in common; they
would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds
to all, as any had need.
Acts 2: 44-45
The human person realizes dignity and rights in relationship with
others, in community. "If one member suffers, all suffer together
with it: if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it."
(1Corinthians 12: 26) We are called to respect each other and work
for the good of others, the common good.
Anchor Concepts: Citizenship,
- COMMON GOOD
- RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- LOVE OF NEIGHBOUR
- HUMAN DIGNITY
- PREFERENTIAL OPTION FOR THE POOR
- WORLD ORDER/GLOBALIZATION
- UNITY IN DIVERSITY
- HUMAN FAMILY
- SHARING/SOCIAL CHARITY
- HUMAN RIGHTS
- RESPECT FOR LIFE
Laws Concerning the Sabbatical Year Beloved, Let Us Love
Beloved, let us love one another, because love comes from God; everyone
who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does
not know God, for God is love. God's love was revealed to us in
this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might
live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that
he loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has
ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his
love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:7-10
I Am the Good Shepherd
Jesus said to the Pharisees, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd
lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the
shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves
the sheep and runs away- and the wolf snatches them and scatters
them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care
for the sheep. "I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own
know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And
I lay down my life for my sheep. I have other sheep that do not
belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen
to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. "For this
reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order
to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down
of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power
to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father."
John 10: 11-18
Abide in My Love
Jesus said to his disciples, "As the Father has loved me, so I have
loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will
abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and
abide in his love. "I have said these things to you so that my joy
may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment,
that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater
love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. "You are
my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants
any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is
doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known
to you everything that I have heard from my Father. "You did not
choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit,
fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever
you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you
may love one another."
John 15: 9-17
There are Varieties of Gifts, but the Same Spirit
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there
are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties
of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them
in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for
the common good. For just as the body is one and has many members,
and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it
is with Christ.
1 Corinthians 12: 3b-7, 12
Unity of the Spirit
I call you lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been
called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing
with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity
of the Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling,
one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who
is above all and through all and in all. Each of us was given grace
according to the measure of Christ's gift. The gifts he gave were
to prepare all God's people for the work of Christian service, in
order to build up the body of Christ.
Ephesians 4: 1-7, 12
Encourage One Another
Encourage one another and build up each other, as you are doing.
Respect those who labour among you, and have charge of you in the
Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of
their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, beloved,
to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint hearted, help the weak,
be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for
evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice
always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:11-18
Life Among the Believers
All who believed were together and had all things in common; they
would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds
to all, as any had need.
Acts 2: 44-45
Giving to others
Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account
the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that
you undertake. Since there will never cease to be some in need on
the earth, I therefore command you, "Open your hand to the poor
and needy neighbour in your land."
Deuteronomy 15: 10-11
When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the
field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be left for the
alien, the orphan and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless
you in all your undertakings. Remember that you were a slave in
the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this.
Deuteronomy 24: 19-22
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and
to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked,
to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then
your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall
spring up quickly ...
Isaiah 58: 6-8a
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he
sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and
taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they
will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter
all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and
be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way
they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5: 1-12
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with
him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations
will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from
another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he
will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that
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 something to drink, I was a stranger
and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was
sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.'
Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw
you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something
to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed
you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw
you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer
them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least
of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'
Matthew 25: 31-40
Parts of the Body
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members
of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For
in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - Jews or Greeks,
slaves or free - and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed,
the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot
would say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,"
that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear
would say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body",
that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole
body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body
were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God
arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is there
are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand,
"I have no need of you", nor again the head to the feet, "I have
no need of you." On the contrary, the members of the body that seem
to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that
we think less honourable we clothe with greater honour, and our
less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas
our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged
the body, giving the greater honour to the inferior member, that
there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may
have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer
together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together
1 Corinthians 12:12-16
My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have
received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.
Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. Bear one another's
burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. For
if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from
love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make
my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being
in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition
or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.
Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests
Forgiveness and Love
As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion,
kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another
and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other;
just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above
all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together
in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
to which indeed you were called in the one body.
The Vine and the Branches
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes
every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears
fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been
cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I
abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless
it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I
am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in
them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.
Love For Enemies; Judging Others
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you
will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give,
and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken
together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure
you give will be the measure you get back.
Luke 6: 36-38
Documents of Vatican II
Promoting the Common Good
26 Every day human interdependence grows more tightly
drawn and spreads by degrees over the whole world. As a result the
common good, that is, the sum of those conditions of social life
which allow social groups and their individual members relatively
thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment, today takes
on an increasingly universal complexion and consequently involves
rights and duties with respect to the whole human race. Every social
group must take account of the needs and legitimate aspiration of
other groups, and even of the general welfare of the entire human
Gaudium et Spes, (The Pastoral Constitution on the Church
in the Modern World)
Catechism of the Catholic Church
1822 Charity is the theological virtue by which
we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbour
as ourselves for the love of God.
1823 Jesus makes charity the new commandment.
By loving his own "to the end, "he makes manifest the Father's love
which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate
the love of Jesus which they themselves receive. Whence Jesus says:
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love."
And again: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as
I have loved you."
THE PERSON AND SOCIETY
I. THE COMMUNAL CHARACTER OF THE HUMAN VOCATION
1878 All men are called to the same end: God himself. There
is a certain resemblance between the unity of the divine persons
and the fraternity that men are to establish among themselves in
truth and love. Love of neighbour is inseparable from love for God.
1879 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.
1880 A society is a group of persons bound together
organically by a principle of unity that goes beyond each one of
them. As an assembly that is at once visible and spiritual, a society
endures through time: it gathers up the past and prepares for the
future. By means of society, each man is established as an "heir"
and receives certain "talents" that enrich his identity and whose
fruits he must develop. He rightly owes loyalty to the communities
of which he is part and respect to those in authority who have charge
of the common good.
1881 Each community is defined by its purpose
and consequently obeys specific rules; but "the human person . .
. is and ought to be the principle, the subject and the end of all
1882 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." 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.
II. THE COMMON GOOD
1905 In keeping with the social nature of man, the good
of each individual is necessarily related to the common good, which
in turn can be defined only in reference to the human person: Do
not live entirely isolated, having retreated into yourselves, as
if you were already justified, but gather instead to seek the common
1906 By common good is to be understood "the sum
total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups
or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more
easily." The common good concerns the life of all. It calls for
prudence from each, and even more from those who exercise the office
of authority. It consists of three essential elements:
1907 First, the common good presupposes respect
for the person as such. In the name of the common good, public authorities
are bound to respect the fundamental and inalienable rights of the
human person. Society should permit each of its members to fulfill
his vocation. In particular, the common good resides in the conditions
for the exercise of the natural freedoms indispensable for the development
of the human vocation, such as "the right to act according to a
sound norm of conscience and to safeguard . . . privacy, and rightful
freedom also in matters of religion."
1908 Second, the common good requires the social
well-being and development of the group itself. Development is the
epitome of all social duties. Certainly, it is the proper function
of authority to arbitrate, in the name of the common good, between
various particular interests; but it should make accessible to each
what is needed to lead a truly human life: food, clothing, health,
work, education and culture, suitable information, the right to
establish a family, and so on.
1909 Finally, the common good requires peace,
that is, the stability and security of a just order. It presupposes
that authority should ensure by morally acceptable means the security
of society and its members. It is the basis of the right to legitimate
personal and collective defence.
1910 Each human community possesses a common good
which permits it to be recognized as such; it is in the political
community that its most complete realization is found. It is the
role of the state to defend and promote the common good of civil
society, its citizens, and intermediate bodies.
1911 Human interdependence is increasing and gradually
spreading throughout the world. The unity of the human family, embracing
people who enjoy equal natural dignity, implies a universal common
good. This good calls for an organization of the community of nations
able to "provide for the different needs of men; this will involve
the sphere of social life to which belong questions of food, hygiene,
education, . . . and certain situations arising here and there,
as for example . . . alleviating the miseries of refugees dispersed
throughout the world, and assisting migrants and their families."
1912 The common good is always oriented towards
the progress of persons: "The order of things must be subordinate
to the order of persons, and not the other way around." This order
is founded on truth, built up in justice, and animated by love.
III. HUMAN SOLIDARITY
1939 The principle of solidarity, also articulated in terms
of "friendship" or "social charity," is a direct demand of human
and Christian brotherhood. 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."
1940 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
1941 Socio-economic problems can be resolved only
with the help of all the forms of solidarity: solidarity of the
poor among themselves, between rich and poor, of workers among themselves,
between employers and employees in a business, solidarity among
nations and peoples. International solidarity is a requirement of
the moral order; world peace depends in part upon this.
1942 The virtue of solidarity goes beyond material
goods. In spreading the spiritual goods of the faith, the Church
has promoted, and often opened new paths for, the development of
temporal goods as well. And so throughout the centuries has the
Lord's saying been verified: "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things shall be yours as well": For two thousand years
this sentiment has lived and endured in the soul of the Church,
impelling souls then and now to the heroic charity of monastic farmers,
liberators of slaves, healers of the sick, and messengers of faith,
civilization, and science to all generations and all peoples for
the sake of creating the social conditions capable of offering to
everyone possible a life worthy of man and of a Christian.
JUSTICE AND SOLIDARITY AMONG NATIONS
2437 On the international level, inequality of resources
and economic capability is such that it creates a real "gap" between
nations. On the one side there are those nations possessing and
developing the means of growth and, on the other, those accumulating
2438 Various causes of a religious, political,
economic, and financial nature today give "the social question a
worldwide dimension." There must be solidarity among nations which
are already politically interdependent. It is even more essential
when it is a question of dismantling the "perverse mechanisms" that
impede the development of the less advanced countries. In place
of abusive if not usurious financial systems, iniquitous commercial
relations among nations, and the arms race, there must be substituted
a common effort to mobilize resources toward objectives of moral,
cultural, and economic development, "redefining the priorities and
hierarchies of values."
2439 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.
2440 Direct aid is an appropriate response to
immediate, extraordinary needs caused by natural catastrophes, epidemics,
and the like. But it does not suffice to repair the grave damage
resulting from destitution or to provide a lasting solution to a
country's needs. It is also necessary to reform international economic
and financial institutions so that they will better promote equitable
relationships with less advanced countries. The efforts of poor
countries working for growth and liberation must be supported. This
doctrine must be applied especially in the area of agricultural
labour. Peasants, especially in the Third World, form the overwhelming
majority of the poor.
2441 An increased sense of God and increased self-awareness
are fundamental to any full development of human society. This development
multiplies material goods and puts them at the service of the person
and his freedom. It reduces dire poverty and economic exploitation.
It makes for growth in respect for cultural identities and openness
to the transcendent.
2442 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
Other Church Documents
70 The obligation to "love our neighbor" has an
individual dimension, but it also requires a broader social commitment
to the common good. We have many partial ways to measure and debate
the health of our economy: Gross National Product, per capita income,
stock market prices, and so forth. The Christian vision of economic
life looks beyond them all and asks, Does economic life enhance
or threaten our life together as a community?
Economic Justice for All, Pastoral Message of the United
States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1986
38 The members of the Church, as members of society,
have the same right and duty to promote the common good as do other
citizens. Christians ought to fulfill their temporal obligations
with fidelity and competence. They should act as a leaven in the
world, in their family, professional, social, cultural and political
Justicia in Mundo (Justice in the World), Synod of Bishops,
25 Just freedom of action must ... be left both
to individual citizens and to families, yet only on condition that
the common good be preserved and wrong to any individual be abolished.
The function of the rulers of the State is to watch over the community
and its parts; but in protecting private individuals in their rights,
chief consideration ought to be given to the weak and the poor.
Quadragesimo Anno (After Forty Years), Encyclical Letter
of Pope Pius XI, 1931
98 We must remember that, of its very nature,
civil authority exists, not to confine its people within the boundaries
of their nation, but rather to protect, above all else the common
good of that particular civil society, which certainly cannot be
divorced from the common good of the entire human family.
Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth), Encyclical Letter of Pope
John XXIII, 1963
35 According to Pope John Paul II, the Catholic
tradition calls for a "society of work, enterprise and participation"
which "is not directed against the market, but demands that the
market be appropriately controlled by the forces of society and
by the state to assure that the basic needs of the whole society
Centesimus Annus, (The Hundredth Year), Encyclical Letter
of Pope John Paul II, 1991
Catholic social teaching more than anything else insists that we
are one family; it calls us to overcome barriers of race, religion,
ethnicity, gender, economic status, and nationality. We are all
one in Christ Jesus - beyond our differences and boundaries.
Communities of Salt and Light , (page 10), United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1993
38 Solidarity 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
Solicitudo Rei Socialis (On Social Concern), Encyclical
Letter of Pope John Paul II, 1987
17 We have inherited from past generations, and
we have benefited from the work of our contemporaries: for this
reason we have obligations towards all, and we cannot refuse to
interest ourselves in those who will come after us to enlarge the
human family. The reality of human solidarity, which is a benefit
for us, also imposes a duty.
Populorum Progressio, (On the Development of Peoples), Encyclical
Letter of Pope Paul VI, 1967
Community Theme Resources from Born of the Spirit
Kindergarten - In God's Image:
Grade 1 - We Belong to God:
1. Welcome! You Belong
2. Jesus Welcomes Us
4. God Dwells Among Us
5. I'll Always Be With You
8. We Belong to God's family
9. The Holy Spirit Gathers Us Into God's Circle of Friends
10. We are Born of the Spirit
Grade 2 - We Belong to the Lord Jesus
1. Let's be Friends
2. Let's Come Together
10. Let's Go Forth
Grade 3 - In the Spirit We Belong
1. We Welcome and Gather in the Spirit
2. The Holy Spirit Gathers and Feeds Us at Eucharist
3. The Holy Spirit Calls and Anoints Us in Baptism and Confirmation
4. The Holy Spirit Comes Upon Advent People
5. The Holy Spirit Dwells in Jesus
6.The Holy Spirit Dwells in the Followers of Jesus
7.The Holy Spirit Fills the Whole Earth
8. The Holy Spirit Reconciles People
9. The Holy Spirit Gives New Life
10. The Holy Spirit is Alive!
Grade 4 - Come and See
2. The Good News About Jesus Christ
6. Jesus Reveals the Compassion of God
7. Jesus Says, "I am the Way"
10. Jesus' Spirit is with Us
Grade 5 - May We Be One
1. The Church Proclaims the Good News
2. The Church Believes in the Lord Jesus
3. The Church Celebrates God's Mighty Deeds
5. The Church Welcomes All Nations
6. The Church Acts Justly
7. The Church Reconciles
8. The Church Loves
9. The Church Rejoices
10. The Church Witnesses
Grade 6 -You Shall Be My Witnesses
1. You Are My Friends
2. I Love You With an Everlasting Love
3. I Shall Be Your God; You Shall Be My People
4. God So Loved the World
5. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life
6. Love Your Enemies
7. What You Do to the Least of My Brothers and Sisters
9. Do Not Be Afraid
10. You Shall Be My Witnesses
Community Theme Resources in Fully Alive
In all grades:
Theme Two: Living in Relationship
Theme Four: Growing in Commitment
Theme Five: Living in the World
... the social dimensions of our faith come alive in caring service,
creative education and principled action throughout the Catholic
Celebrating An Education for Justice and Peace, Ontario
Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1996
For complete text go to http://www.occb.on.ca/english/celebrating.html
It is precisely this solidarity and interdependence that are at
the core of Catholic social teaching and that are so necessary if
we are to begin to change those unjust global attitudes and structures
that keep the South poor and the North rich.
Celebrating An Education for Justice and Peace, Ontario
Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1996
For complete text go to
Living and acting in solidarity with others in our society is,
of course, something that goes far beyond party politics, since
there are many things which politics cannot do. For example, politics
by itself cannot give us a sense of justice, a spirit of caring
about others, nor a commitment to serving the common good. These
are virtues which our faith fosters in us. In one sense, then, the
most important thing each of us can do in order to make our political
Community Better Is To Live Our Faith To The Full.
Choosing A Government, Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops,
For complete text go to http://www.occb.on.ca/english/choosing.html
Principles to be Observed by all Governments
What follows are several principles which apply to any government,
at any time and under any circumstances. The people of Ontario must
expect of any government they elect that its policies and actions
respect these principles. ...
2 Respect for human dignity requires a vigorous
pursuit of the common good. By the common good is to be understood
"the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as
groups or individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and
easily." Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1906). This means
that governments have a positive role to play, not only in providing
a space for private action, but also in creating those social institutions
that are required especially for the fulfillment of socio-economic
rights, like the right to satisfying and dignifying employment.
Contemporary efforts to "downsize" in order to reduce public deficits
must not be pursued to the point where they endanger the common
good. Such efforts can also become an ideological pursuit of individualism
which threatens to eliminate the role of governments in the pursuit
of social goals and purposes. In sharp contrast, the Church has
insisted that "the complex conditions of our day make it necessary
for public authority to intervene more often in social, economic
and cultural matters" in order to achieve this common good (The
Church in the Modern World, No. 75, emphasis added).
3 Governments must balance the rights, obligations
and opportunities of various segments of society. We recognize that
we live in a society which is fragmented in many ways. Interest
groups are active. Government policy has to balance the needs, not
desires, of existing groups as well as protect those who do not
belong to organized groups. All must share fairly in the payment
of taxes; all must accept their share of the sacrifices which have
to be made; all must have the freedom to pursue their legitimate
interests, but government must ensure that they do so on an equitable
basis. Nor should money be allowed to dominate or distort the exchange
of ideas and the flow of information.
Choosing A Government, Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops,
For complete text go to http://www.occb.on.ca/english/choosing.html
If you live alone, whose feet will you wash?
No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too
much work to do.
In separateness lies the world's great misery; in compassion lies
the world's true strength.
We need at last to form a circle that includes us all, in which
all of us are seen as equal... We do not belong to the other, but
our lives are linked; we belong in a circle of others.
The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love
stop at the border?
It is penance to work, to give oneself to others, to endure the
pinpricks of community living.
If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You
talk to your enemies.
The longer we listen to one another - with real attention - the
more commonality we will find in all our lives. That is, if we are
careful to exchange with one another life stories and not simply
No man is an island entire of itself ... any man's death diminishes
me because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to
know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
Better than a thousand hollow words,
Is one word that brings peace.
Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops
The official web site of the OCCB contains extensive resources from
the Catholic Bishops of Ontario as well as useful links to other
Church and Catholic organizations' web sites. The Conference's jurisdiction
over Ontario Catholic schools makes this site particularly relevant.
Christian Community and Catholicism
Six Ways to be Truly Catholic, by Archbishop Weakland is an article
that focuses on the faith community aspects of Catholicism. The
article is written in clear, invitational language.
Faith Community and Youth
Young people put their Catholic faith into action when they pray
and worship, when they proclaim God's Word, when they build up the
community and when they work for justice.
Educational Leadership and Community
This is the web site of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum
Development (ASCD), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that represents
170,000 educators from more than 135 countries and more than 60
affiliates. Members span the entire profession of educators—superintendents,
supervisors, principals, teachers, professors of education, and
school board members. The organization seeks to address all aspects
of effective teaching and learning—such as professional development,
educational leadership, and capacity building. ASCD offers broad,
multiple perspectives—across all education professions—in
reporting key policies and practices. It notes its desire to focus
solely on professional practice within the context of "Is it
good for the children?" rather than what is reflective of a
specific educator role. In short, ASCD reflects the conscience and
content of education. Though written from a public school perspective,
the ideas nevertheless have application to Catholic schools.
The Vatican: Catechism of the Catholic Church
In Part III, Life in Christ, Chapter Two focuses on The Human Community.
The Church's teaching on Social Justice is detailed, including sections
on the respect for the human person, equality and differences among
men (people) and solidarity. Section two deals with the Ten Commandments
and the Fourth Commandment, "You Shall Love your Neighbour as Yourself"
and the Fifth, "Thou Shall Not Kill" concentrate on themes central
to social justice. The Seventh, "You Shall Not Steal" also addresses
economic activity such as labour, solidarity among nations, and
love for the poor. While the Catechism has no links and is difficult
to read at times, it provides a useful resource to the underpinnings
of Church teachings on social justice.
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
The site of Canada's Catholic Bishops under 'Commissions and Organizations'
has a deep section under the Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs.
Included is a list of letters of both praise and concern written
by the Conference to prominent politicians and members of the business
and international community. The 'Public Statements' section includes
major policy statements on current issues like aboriginal land claims,
religious rights and the dignity of life. The CCCB is a valuable
resource for those seeking to see where the Canadian Catholic stands
on social justice.
"OneWorld has a vision of equitable and sustainable distribution
of wealth amongst the world's population, underpinned by global
attainment and protection of human rights and by governance structures
which permit local communities control over their own affairs."
OneWorld site includes news `clippings on global topics, analysis
of global issues. Specialized editions for Africa, the US, UK, Latin
America and South Asia. Information about their campaigns for debt
relief, education, climate change, biosafety and women's rights.
Current special reports from the "world's front line" countries
like the Sudan, Congo, Macedonia and Zimbabwe. One of the most diverse
and broad news and analysis sections on the internet: OneWorld draws
from sources like the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Nation
Magazine, UN agencies, the Arabic Media Internet Network, and Inter
Press Service. Extremely useful 'guides:' in the Perspectives section
on a long list of topics like landmines, land rights, climate change,
population, poverty, fair trade, genocide and the World Trade Organization.
Each of the 'guides:' includes historical information, the current
state of the issue in the world today, quotes, and great links to
organizations committed to the issue.
The Council of Canadians
"An independent, non-partisan citizens' interest group providing
a critical and progressive voice on key national and international
issues", the Council of Canadians advocates for social justice on
a variety of fronts. The ActionLinks area provides a lengthy how-to
on lobbying government and corporations, using the media and organizing
events. The Council's own Campaigns are few but focused, currently
centred on water, trade and investment issues and genetically modified
food in addition to their ongoing campaigns on social union and
the campaign for press and broadcasting freedom. Each of the campaign
sections include an introduction, a full achieve of publications
and press releases as well as photos and selected links.
The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and
This Canadian Catholic organization, created by the Canadian Bishops
Conference, works to have "helped improve living and working conditions
in 70 countries around the globe, providing $375 million for human
rights, community development and humanitarian aid" around the world,
provide relief in disaster situations and whose projects seek to
improve education and job opportunities, the environment, women's
rights, agrarian reform, housing and co-operative movements. Publications
section has issues of the Global Village Voice and the organizations
annual reports. Specific information about Development and Peace
projects around the world is comprehensive. Archive of policy statements,
many on current political issues, provides interesting insights
into many D & P causes that are outside its traditional work in
developing countries. Like many social justice websites, many of
the documents are in .PDF format, making Adobe Acrobat reader indispensable
for information gathering.
World Health Organization
The WHO site features an extremely helpful 'A to Z' of world health
topics, hot linked to fact sheets or for broader topics like cancer,
HIV/AIDS, and asthma, full pages featuring UN publications, news,
events, global partners, and links. While not visually attractive,
a good base for any global health study.
Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without
Recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999, MSF's Canadian site
mixes national project information about the work of the world's
largest independent international medical relief organization with
poignant On Mission section photo essays, first person travel reports
and letters from the field from Canadian MSF volunteers. A small
but engaging site, the MSF Canada homepage offers an important human
insight into the challenges and rewards of global medical relief.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
The website of the world's largest humanitarian organization, the
Red Cross and Red Crescent, opens up in attractive and digestible
detail under its sections entitled simply: Who We Are, What We Do,
Where We Work. The questions are navigated by a friendly toolbar
on the left and answered all on a global, national, ideological
and practical level. The Photos section is diverse and powerful,
the news section relevant to all their global work and a publications
section that includes everything from appeal to their ten-year plan.
The excellent design work in tandem with the content to provide
students and teachers alike with a valuable resource of an organization
hugely important for people all over the world.
Links to Ontario Catholic
Believer Formed in the Catholic Faith Community who:
Develops attitudes and values founded on Catholic social teaching
and acts to promote social responsibility, human solidarity
and the common good
Seeks intimacy with God and celebrates communion with God, others
and creation through prayer and worship
Respects the faith traditions, world religions and the life-journeys
of all people of good will
Recognizes that "sin, human weakness, conflict and forgiveness
are part of the human journey" and that the cross, the ultimate
sign of forgiveness is at the heart of redemption. (Witnesses
Listens actively and critically to understand and learn in light
of gospel values
Reads, understands and uses written materials effectively
Presents information and ideas clearly and honestly and with
sensitivity to others
Writes and speaks fluently one or both of Canada's official
Uses and integrates the Catholic faith tradition, in the critical
analysis of the arts, media, technology and information systems
to enhance the quality of life
and Creative Thinker who:
Recognizes there is more grace in our world than sin and that
hope is essential in facing all challenges
Creates, adapts, evaluates new ideas in light of the common
Makes decisions in light of gospel values with an informed moral
Examines, evaluates and applies knowledge of interdependent
systems (physical, political, ethical, socio-economic and ecological)
for the development of a just and compassionate society
Responsible, Life Long Learner who:
Demonstrates a confident and positive sense of self and respect
for the dignity and welfare of others
Takes initiative and demonstrates Christian leadership.
Takes initiative and demonstrates Christian leadership
Participates in leisure and fitness activities for a balanced
and healthy lifestyle
Develops one's God-given potential and makes a meaningful contribution
Finds meaning, dignity, fulfillment and vocation in work which
contributes to the common good
Respects the rights, responsibilities and contributions of self
Exercises Christian leadership in the achievement of individual
and group goals
Achieves excellence, originality, and integrity in one's own
work and supports these qualities in the work of others
|A Caring Family
Relates to family members in a loving, compassionate and respectful
Recognizes human intimacy and sexuality as God given gifts,
to be used as the creator intended
Values and honours the important role of the family in society
Values and nurtures opportunities for family prayer
Ministers to the family, school, parish, and wider community
Acts morally and legally as a person formed in Catholic traditions
Accepts accountability for one's own actions
Seeks and grants forgiveness
Witnesses Catholic social teaching by promoting equality, democracy,
and solidarity for a just, peaceful and compassionate society
Respects and affirms the diversity and interdependence of the
world's peoples and cultures
Respects and understands the history, cultural heritage and
pluralism of today's contemporary society
Exercises the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship
Contributes to the common good
Personal and Group Reflection:
1. I describe a time when I felt a sense of community in my
2. I describe a time when individual interests were sacrificed
in the service of the common good ...
Small Group Reflection:
1. In our experience, what are the strengths of our school
2. What are some obstacles to community?
3. What is the common good of our school; my classroom?
1. We suggest some creative strategies for building school