The Parable of the Good Samaritan
Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher,"
he said, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" He
said to him, "What is written in the law? What do you read
there? He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with
all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength,
and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself." And
he said to him, 'You have given the right answer; do this, and you
But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, "And who is
my neighbour? Jesus replied, 'A man was going down from Jerusalem
to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him,
beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a
priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed
by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the
place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan
while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved
with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured
oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought
him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two
denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, "Take care of
him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.'
Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who
fell into the hands of the robbers?" He said, "The one
who showed him mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."
Luke 10: 25-37
Created in the image and likeness of God, all human life is sacred
and all people have dignity. Human persons do not lose dignity because
of gender, sexual orientation, disability, poverty, age, or race.
Anchor Concepts: Human Dignity, Interdependence,
RESPECT FOR LIFE
- LOVE OF NEIGHBOUR
- HUMAN RIGHTS AND DUTIES
- QUALITY OF LIFE
- EQUALITY AND EQUITY
- PREFERENTIAL OPTION FOR THE POOR
- AUTONOMY / SELF-SUFFICIENCY
- HUMAN FAMILY
- FRIENDSHIP / UNDERSTANDING
- SHARING / SOCIAL CHARITY
- UNITY IN DIVERSITY
- INTERDEPENDENCE / COMMON GOOD
So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created
them; male and female he created them
Genesis 1: 27
... then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became
a living being.
Genesis 2: 7
Jesus cleanses a leper
A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, "If
you choose, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, Jesus
stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, "I
do choose. Be made clean!" Immediately the leprosy left him,
and he was made clean.
Mark 1: 40-42
Jesus calls sinners
And as he sat at dinner in Levi's house, many tax collectors
and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples -
for there were many who followed him. When the scribes of the Pharisees
saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said
to his disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and
sinners?" When Jesus heard this, he said to them, "Those
who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick;
I have come to call not the righteous but sinners."
Mark 2: 15-17
Lamp under a basket
He said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under the
bushel basket, or under the bed, and not on the lampstand? For there
is nothing hidden, except to be disclosed; nor is anything secret,
except to come to light. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!"
Mark 4: 21-23
Who is the greatest?
Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked
them, "What were you arguing about on the way?" But
they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another
who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to
them, "Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant
of all." Then he took a little child and put it among them;
and taking it in his arms, he said to them, "Whoever welcomes
one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes
not me but the one who sent me."
Mark 9: 33-37
Jesus blesses children
People were bringing little children to him in order that he might
touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus
saw this, he was indignant and said to them, "Let the little
children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these
that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does
not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter
it." And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them,
and blessed them.
Mark 10: 13-16
Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's
Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God
will destroy that person. For God's temple is holy, and you
are that temple.
1 Corinthians 3: 16-17
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever
is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have
learned and received and heard and see in me, and the God of peace
will be with you.
Documents of Vatican II
26 There is a growing awareness of the sublime
dignity of human persons, who stand above all things and whose rights
and duties are universal and inviolable. They ought, therefore,
to have ready access to all that is necessary for living a genuinely
human life: for example, food, clothing, housing, ...the right
to education, and work ...
Gaudium et Spes, (The Pastoral Constitution on the Church
in the Modern World)
27 Whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman
living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery,
prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful
working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit,
rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and
others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society,
but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who
suffer from the injury.
Gaudium et Spes, (The Pastoral Constitution on the Church
in the Modern World)
Catechism of the Catholic Church
1701 "Christ, . . . in the very revelation
of the mystery of the Father and of his love, makes man fully manifest
to himself and brings to light his exalted vocation. It is in Christ,
"the image of the invisible God, that man has been created
"in the image and likeness" of the Creator. It is in Christ,
Redeemer and Savior, that the divine image, disfigured in man by
the first sin, has been restored to its original beauty and ennobled
by the grace of God.
1702 The divine image is present in every man.
It shines forth in the communion of persons, in the likeness of
the unity of the divine persons among themselves (cf. chapter two).
1703 Endowed with "a spiritual and immortal"
soul, the human person is "the only creature on earth that
God has willed for its own sake." From his conception, he is
destined for eternal beatitude.
1704 The human person participates in the light
and power of the divine Spirit. By his reason, he is capable of
understanding the order of things established by the Creator. By
free will, he is capable of directing himself toward his true good.
He finds his perfection "in seeking and loving what is true
1705 By virtue of his soul and his spiritual powers
of intellect and will, man is endowed with freedom, an "outstanding
manifestation of the divine image."
1706 By his reason, man recognizes the voice of
God which urges him "to do what is good and avoid what is evil."
Everyone is obliged to follow this law, which makes itself heard
in conscience and is fulfilled in the love of God and of neighbour.
Living a moral life bears witness to the dignity of the person.
RESPECT FOR THE HUMAN PERSON
1929 Social justice can be obtained only in respecting
the transcendent dignity of man. The person represents the ultimate
end of society, which is ordered to him: What is at stake is the
dignity of the human person, whose defence and promotion have been
entrusted to us by the Creator, and to whom the men and women at
every moment of history are strictly and responsibly in debt.
1930 Respect for the human person entails respect
for the rights that flow from his dignity as a creature. These rights
are prior to society and must be recognized by it. They are the
basis of the moral legitimacy of every authority: by flouting them,
or refusing to recognize them in its positive legislation, a society
undermines its own moral legitimacy. If it does not respect them,
authority can rely only on force or violence to obtain obedience
from its subjects. It is the Church's role to remind men of good
will of these rights and to distinguish them from unwarranted or
1931 Respect for the human person proceeds by
way of respect for the principle that "everyone should look
upon his neighbour (without any exception) as 'another self,' above
all bearing in mind his life and the means necessary for living
it with dignity." No legislation could by itself do away with
the fears, prejudices, and attitudes of pride and selfishness which
obstruct the establishment of truly fraternal societies. Such behaviour
will cease only through the charity that finds in every man a "neighbour,"
1932 The duty of making oneself a neighbour to
others and actively serving them becomes even more urgent when it
involves the disadvantaged, in whatever area this may be. "As
you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it
1933 This same duty extends to those who think
or act differently from us. The teaching of Christ goes so far as
to require the forgiveness of offences. He extends the commandment
of love, which is that of the New Law, to all enemies. Liberation
in the spirit of the Gospel is incompatible with hatred of one's
enemy as a person, but not with hatred of the evil that he does
as an enemy.
Other Church Documents
215 Whatever the progress in technology and economic
life, there can be neither justice nor peace in the world, so long
as men and women fail to realize how great is their dignity; for
they have been created by God and are God's children.
Mater et Magistra, (Christianity and Social Progress), Encyclical
Letter of Pope John XXIII, 1961
11 Human persons are willed by God; they are imprinted
with God's image. Their dignity does not come from the work
they do, but from the persons they are.
Centesimus Annus, (The Hundredth Year), Encyclical Letter
of Pope John Paul II, 1991
9 Life, especially human life, belongs to God;
whoever attacks human life attacks God's very self.
Evangelium Vitae, (The Gospel of Life), Encyclical Letter
of Pope John Paul II, 1995
At the centre of all Catholic social teaching are the transcendence
of God and the dignity of the human person. The human person is
the clearest reflection of God's presence in the world; all
of the Church's work in pursuit of both justice and peace
is designed to protect and promote the dignity of every person.
For each person not only reflects God, but is the expression of
God's creative work and the meaning of Christ's redemptive
The Challenge of Peace, United States Conference of Catholic
Above all, to be a person is to be a mystery. We can never know
everything there is to know about anyone, including ourselves. The
more we come to know someone, the more we sense something deep and
wonderful - something beyond our ability to understand.
We have come face to face with a mystery, the mystery of the human
person, made in God's image. We are in the presence of the
spirit of our Creator.
Fully Alive, Grade 7, Family Life Program of the Ontario
Conference of Catholic Bishops, p. 8
We all want to be treated in a way that recognizes our worth as
human beings. Does this worth lie in our accomplishments? In our
ability to make decisions and determine the shape of our lives?
In our contributions to society? These are all significant aspects
of most people's lives, but none is the foundation of human
dignity. Our dignity lies in our origin and destiny: We come from
God and return to God. We are created out of love and for love.
On Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, Ontario Conference of
Catholic Bishops, January 1996
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.
The dignity of every person is to be respected at all times. Every
government must understand and realize that every human being possesses
a transcendent dignity which no one has the right to violate. Consequently
governments must work to ensure that discrimination is eliminated.
They must ensure that all people, of whatever origin, religion,
socio-economic status or culture are treated equally well. All should
be treated with courtesy, compassion and respect...
Governments must support life. All human beings must be nourished,
supported and cherished from the moment of conception until the
moment of natural death. A government worthy of support will favour
life rather than abortion and euthanasia, will be supportive of
families, will make palliative care a priority, will fight against
child poverty and will look for the rehabilitation of those who
have become entangled in crime or drugs.
Choosing A Government, Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops,
Dignity consists not in possessing honours, but in the consciousness
that we deserve them.
Remember this-that there is a proper dignity and proportion to
be observed in the performance of every act of life.
Where is there dignity unless there is honesty?
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day
and night to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest
battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.
E. E. Cummings
There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with
children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their
rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their
lives are free from fear and want and that they grow up in peace.
Kofi A. Annan
Each person has inside a basic decency and goodness. If he listens
to it and acts on it, he is giving a great deal of what it is the
world needs most. It is not complicated but it takes courage. It
takes courage for a person to listen to his own goodness and act
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent
of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned.
Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.
The first principle of non-violent action is that of non-cooperation
with everything humiliating.
A spiritual person tries less to be godly than to be deeply human.
Rev. William Sloan Coffin, Jr
The official web site of the Vatican contains an impressive collection
of materials with a useful internal search engine.
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
The Vatican: Catechism of the Catholic Church
See Part Three: Life In Christ Section One: Man's Vocation Life
InThe Spirit Chapter One of this section is titled: The Dignity
Of The Human Person. 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.
"Amnesty International is a worldwide campaigning movement
that works to promote all the human rights enshrined in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and other international standards. In
particular, Amnesty International campaigns to free all prisoners
of conscience; ensure fair and prompt trials for political prisoners;
abolish the death penalty, torture and other cruel treatment of
prisoners; end political killings and "disappearances";
and oppose human rights abuses by opposition groups." The site
main strength is its global, detailed allegations of human rights
violations, free from any political or religious agenda or ideology,
which allows for equal treatment of violations in Western and developing
nations. Provides information to users on how to contact governments
to voice one's objection to human rights violations. Amnesty creates
concrete connections throughout between injustice and possible remedies.
The site also features lengthier country profiles on nations like
Liberia and the United States and deep library of resources and
links. Amnesty does however offer complex examination of the issues,
assuming a base political knowledge of the user that may not always
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
From the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, this
site has committee reports from around the globe, treaties, links
on human rights issues and in its Universal Declaration of Human
Rights section, over 300 translations of the declaration, available
in HTML, PDF and graphical formats. Wonderful human rights issues
bank with documents, links and news in English, French and Spanish.
Gives students a chance to read in any language the United Nations
guiding human rights document. Easy web format to navigate for students.
A working knowledge of the United Nations as an institution is useful
for many of the documents.
Assembly of First Nations
Clearinghouse of Canada's national aboriginal lobby, the site includes
sections about land rights, health, housing, treaties and residential
schools issues. The information layout is at times confusing, but
the resources provide valuable detailed background that would be
useful in any in-depth research into aboriginal issues.
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
Speaks the language of life... "recognizing that life is an
unearned gift and that a person entrusted with life does not
own it but that one is called to protect and cherish it." (Witnesses
Presents information and ideas clearly and honestly and with
sensitivity to others
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:
Adopts a holistic approach to life by integrating learning from
various subject areas and experience
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
Responds to, manages and constructively influences change in
a discerning manner.
Sets appropriate goals and priorities in school, work and personal
Applies effective communication, decision-making,
problem-solving, time and resource management skills
Examines and reflects on one's personal values, abilities and
aspirations influencing life's choices and opportunities
Participates in leisure and fitness activities for a balanced
and healthy lifestyle
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
Promotes the sacredness of life
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
Contributes to the common good
Personal and Group Reflections:
1. I recall a time when the dignity and value of the human person
was evident in our school.
Small Group Discussion:
1. We describe school activities and classroom practices that
affirm and support the dignity and value of all persons while acknowledging
our responsibility to develop our humanity as God intended it to
2. We consider times when the dignity and value of all persons
was not lived out.
1. We suggest strategies that will promote the dignity and value
of persons in our school communities.