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Human Rights and Responsibilities

Scriptural Story

Lazarus and Rich Man
'There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham.* The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames." But Abraham said, "Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us." He said, "Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father's house- for I have five brothers-that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment." Abraham replied, "They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them." He said, "No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent." He said to him, "If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead." '
Luke 16: 19-31

The Woman Caught in Adultery
Then each of them went home, while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, "teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, sir". And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again."
John 8:1-11

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Description and Related Concepts

Description:
Catholic teaching on the dignity of the person and the common good imply that all people have a fundamental right to life, food, shelter, health care, education and employment. They have a right to participate in decisions that affect their lives. Corresponding to this is the duty to respect the rights of others in the wider society and promote the Reign of God.

Anchor Concepts: Citizenship, Distribution, Globalism, Interdependence, Solidarity, Common Good, Human Dignity, Empowerment, Justice

Related Concepts:

  • COMMITMENT
  • DEMOCRACY
  • CIVILIZATION
  • SOCIETY
  • CULTURE
  • COMMUNICATION
  • COMMON GOOD/COMMUNITY
  • EQUALITY
  • IMMIGRATION
  • INTERDEPENDENCE
  • COOPERATION
  • RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
  • STATE/GOVERNMENT
  • WORK
  • SERVICE
  • RIGHTEOUSNESS
  • CHARITY
  • MERCY/COMPASSION
  • RELIEF/AID
  • SOCIAL JUSTICE
  • PROGRAM / POLICY
  • QUALITY OF LIFE
  • EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH
  • GLOBAL COMMUNITY/TRADE
  • EMPOWERMENT
  • CONVERSION/INFLUENCE/POWER
  • POVERTY
  • PREFERENTIAL OPTION FOR THE POOR
  • COLLABORATION
  • DEVELOPMEN /PROGRESS/GROWTH
  • PEACE
  • GLOBAL COMMUNITY
  • HUMAN DIGNITY
  • SOLIDARITY
  • WORLD ORDER
  • LEADERSHIP
  • EMPOWERMENT/LIBERATION
  • TRADE
  • EXPLOITATION
  • TRANSNATIONAL ENTERPRISE
  • PROFIT MOTIVE
  • MUTUALITY
  • AUTONOMY
  • RELATIONSHIP
  • INCLUSIVITY
  • HUMAN RIGHTS
  • EXPLOITATION
  • AUTONOMY/SELF-SUFFICIENCY
  • COEXISTENCE
  • PRODUCTIVITY
  • SUBSIDIARITY
  • HUMAN FAMILY
  • LOVE OF NEIGHBOUR
  • FRIENDSHIP/UNDERSTANDING
  • SHARING / SOCIAL CHARITY
  • UNITY IN DIVERSITY
  • ANTI-SEXISM
  • ANTI-RACISM
  • INTERDEPENDENCE/COMMON GOOD
  • COMPROMISE
  • JUSTICE
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Scripture References

Six Days of Creation and the Sabbath
Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1: 26-27

The Sins of Israel
Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals- they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth, and push the afflicted out of the way; father and son go in to the same girl, so that my holy name is profaned; they lay themselves down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge; and in the house of their God they drink wine bought with fines they imposed.
Amos 2: 6-8

The Birth of Jesus
While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Luke 2: 6-7

The Purpose of the Law
As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3: 27-28

The New Life in Christ
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, and not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things - anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have striped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all! 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. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3: 1-17

Temptation of Jesus
Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, "To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours." Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'
Luke 4:5-8

Jesus' Ministry
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour. And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
Luke 4:16-21

Love for Enemies
But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Luke 6: 27-36

The Unjust Judge
Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, 'Grant me justice against my opponent.' For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming." And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will be find faith on earth?"
Luke 18: 1-8

Taxes
So they watched him and sent spies who pretended to be honest, in order to trap him by what he said, so as to hand him over to the jurisdiction and authority of the governor. So they asked him, "Teacher, we know that you are right in what you say and teach, and you show deference to no one, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?" But he perceived their craftiness and said to them, "Show me a denarius. Whose head and whose title does it bear?" They said, "The emperor's." He said to them, "Then give to the emperor the things that are the emperor's and to God the things that are God's. And they were not able in the presence of the people to trap him by what he said; and being amazed by his answer, they became silent.
Luke 20: 20-26

Last Judgment
'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." Then he will say to those at his left hand, "You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me." Then they also will answer, "Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?" Then he will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me." And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.'
Matthew 25: 31-46

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Church Teachings

Documents of Vatican II

INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT THE SITUATION OF MEN IN THE MODERN WORLD
4 To carry out such a task, the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel. Thus, in language intelligible to each generation, she can respond to the perennial questions which men ask about this present life and the life to come, and about the relationship of the one to the other. We must therefore recognize and understand the world in which we live, its explanations, its longings, and its often dramatic characteristics. Some of the main features of the modern world can be sketched as follows.

Today, the human race is involved in a new stage of history. Profound and rapid changes are spreading by degrees around the whole world. Triggered by the intelligence and creative energies of man, these changes recoil upon him, upon his decisions and desires, both individual and collective, and upon his manner of thinking and acting with respect to things and to people. Hence we can already speak of a true cultural and social transformation, one which has repercussions on man's religious life as well.
As happens in any crisis of growth, this transformation has brought serious difficulties in its wake. Thus while man extends his power in every direction, he does not always succeed in subjecting it to his own welfare. Striving to probe more profoundly into the deeper recesses of his own mind, he frequently appears more unsure of himself. Gradually and more precisely he lays bare the laws of society, only to be paralyzed by uncertainty about the direction to give it.

Never has the human race enjoyed such an abundance of wealth, resources and economic power, and yet a huge proportion of the worlds citizens are still tormented by hunger and poverty, while countless numbers suffer from total illiteracy. Never before has man had so keen an understanding of freedom, yet at the same time new forms of social and psychological slavery make their appearance. Although the world of today has a very vivid awareness of its unity and of how one man depends on another in needful solidarity, it is most grievously turn into opposing camps by conflicting forces. For political, social, economic, racial and ideological disputes still continue bitterly, and with them the peril of a war which would reduce everything to ashes. True, there is a growing exchange of ideas, but the very words by which key concepts are expressed take on quite different meanings in diverse ideological systems.

Finally, man painstakingly searches for a better world, without a corresponding spiritual advancement.
Influenced by such a variety of complexities, many of our contemporaries are kept from accurately identifying permanent values and adjusting them properly to fresh discoveries. As a result, buffeted between hope and anxiety and pressing one another with questions about the present course of events, they are burdened down with uneasiness. This same course of events leads men to look for answers; indeed, it forces them to do so.
Gaudium et Spes, (The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)

THE COMMUNITY OF MANKIND
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 freely to choose their state of life and set up a family, the right to education, work, to their good name, to respect, to proper knowledge, the right to act according to the dictates of conscience and to safeguard their privacy, and rightful freedom, including freedom of religion ...

27 Coming down to practical and particularly urgent consequences, this council lays stress on reverence for man; everyone must consider his every neighbor without exception as another self, taking into account first of all His life and the means necessary to living it with dignity, so as not to imitate the rich man who had no concern for the poor man Lazarus.
In our times a special obligation binds us to make ourselves the neighbor of every person without exception. and of actively helping him when he comes across our path, whether he be an old person abandoned by all, a foreign laborer unjustly looked down upon, a refugee, a child born of an unlawful union and wrongly suffering for a sin he did not commit, or a hungry person who disturbs our conscience by recalling the voice of the Lord, "As long as you did it for one of these the least of my brethren, you did it for me" (Matt. 25:40).

Furthermore, whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; 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. Moreover, they are supreme dishonor to the Creator.

28 Respect and love ought to be extended also to those who think or act differently than we do in social, political and even religious matters. In fact, the more deeply we come to understand their ways of thinking through such courtesy and love, the more easily will we be able to enter into dialogue with them.
This love and good will, to be sure, must in no way render us indifferent to truth and goodness. Indeed love itself impels the disciples of Christ to speak the saving truth to all men. But it is necessary to distinguish between error, which always merits repudiation, and the person in error, who never loses the dignity of being a person even when he is flawed by false or inadequate religious notions. God alone is the judge and searcher of hearts, for that reason He forbids us to make judgments about the internal guilt of anyone. ...

29 Since all men possess a rational soul and are created in God's likeness, since they have the same nature and origin, have been redeemed by Christ and enjoy the same divine calling and destiny, the basic equality of all must receive increasingly greater recognition.

True, all men are not alike from the point of view of varying physical power and the diversity of intellectual and moral resources. Nevertheless, with respect to the fundamental rights of the person, every type of discrimination, whether social or cultural, whether based on sex, race, color, social condition, language or religion, is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God's intent. For in truth it must still be regretted that fundamental personal rights are still not being universally honored. Such is the case of a woman who is denied the right to choose a husband freely, to embrace a state of life or to acquire an education or cultural benefits equal to those recognized for men.

Therefore, although rightful differences exist between men, the equal dignity of persons demands that a more humane and just condition of life be brought about. For excessive economic and social differences between the members of the one human family or population groups cause scandal, and militate against social justice, equity, the dignity of the human person, as well as social and international peace.

Human institutions, both private and public, must labor to minister to the dignity and purpose of man. At the same time let them put up a stubborn fight against any kind of slavery, whether social or political, and safeguard the basic rights of man under every political system. Indeed human institutions themselves must be accommodated by degrees to the highest of all realities, spiritual ones, even though meanwhile, a long enough time will be required before they arrive at the desired goal.
Gaudium et Spes, (The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)

For the complete document go to http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_cons_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_en.html

Catechism of the Catholic Church

III. RESPONSIBILITY AND PARTICIPATION
1913 "Participation" is the voluntary and generous engagement of a person in social interchange. 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.

1914 Participation is achieved first of all by taking charge of the areas for which one assumes personal responsibility: by the care taken for the education of his family, by conscientious work, and so forth, man participates in the good of others and of society.

1915 As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life. The manner of this participation may vary from one country or culture to another. "One must pay tribute to those nations whose systems permit the largest possible number of the citizens to take part in public life in a climate of genuine freedom."

1916 As with any ethical obligation, the participation of all in realizing the common good calls for a continually renewed conversion of the social partners. Fraud and other subterfuges, by which some people evade the constraints of the law and the prescriptions of societal obligation, must be firmly condemned because they are incompatible with the requirements of justice. Much care should be taken to promote institutions that improve the conditions of human life.

1917 It is incumbent on those who exercise authority to strengthen the values that inspire the confidence of the members of the group and encourage them to put themselves at the service of others. Participation begins with education and culture. "One is entitled to think that the future of humanity is in the hands of those who are capable of providing the generations to come with reasons for life and optimism."

Other Church Documents

Right to Life
11 Beginning our discussion of the rights of the human person, we see that everyone has the right to life, to bodily integrity, and to the means which are suitable for the proper development of life; these are primarily food, clothing, shelter, rest, medical care, and finally the necessary social services.
Pacem in Terris, (Peace on Earth), Encyclical of Pope John XXIII, 1963

17 But each man is a member of society. He is part of the whole of mankind. It is not just certain individuals, but all men who are called to this fullness of development. Civilizations are born, develop and die. But humanity is advancing along the path of history like the waves of a rising tide encroaching gradually on the shore. 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

47 But neither all this nor the private and public funds that have been invested, nor the gifts and loans that have been made, can suffice. It is not just a matter of eliminating hunger, nor even of reducing poverty. The struggle against destitution, though urgent and necessary, is not enough. It is a question, rather, of building a world where every man, no matter what his race, religion or nationality, can live a fully human life, freed from the servitude imposed on him by other men or by natural forces over which he has not sufficient control; a world where freedom is not an empty word and where the poor man Lazarus can sit down a the same table with the rich man. This demands great generosity, much sacrifice and unceasing effort on the part of the rich man. Let each one examine his conscience, a conscience that conveys a new message for our times. Is he prepared to support out of his own pocket works and undertakings organized in favour of the most destitute? Is he ready to pay higher taxes so that the public authorities can intensify their efforts in favour of development? Is he ready to pay a higher price for imported goods so that the producer may be more justly rewarded? Or to leave this country, if necessary and if he is young, in order to assist in this development of the young nations?
Populorum Progressio, (On the Development of Peoples), Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI, 1967

15 Thus the principle of the priority of labor over capital is a postulate of the order of social morality. It has key importance both in the system built on the principle of private ownership of the means of production and also in the systems in which private ownership of these means has been limited even in a radical way. Labor is in a sense inseparable from capital; in no way does it accept the antinomy, that is to say, the separation and opposition with regard to the means of production that has weighed upon human life in recent centuries as a result of merely economic premises. When man works, using all the means of production, he also wishes the fruit of this work to be used by himself and others, and he wishes to be able to take part in the very work process as a sharer in responsibility and creativity at the workbench to which he applies himself.

From this spring certain specific rights of workers, corresponding to the obligation of work. They will be discussed later. But here it must be emphasized in general terms that the person who works desires not only due remuneration for his work; he also wishes that within the production process provision be made for him to be able to know that in his work, even on something that is owned in common, he is working "for himself." This awareness is extinguished within him in a system of excessive bureaucratic centralization, which makes the worker feel that he is just a cog in a huge machine moved from above, that he is for more reasons than one a mere production instrument rather than a true subject of work with an initiative of his own. The church's teaching has always expressed the strong and deep conviction that man's work concerns not only the economy but also, and especially, personal values. The economic system itself and the production process benefit precisely when these personal values are fully respected. In the mind of St. Thomas Aquinas,[25] this is the principal reason in favor of private ownership of the means of production. While we accept that for certain well-founded reasons exceptions can be made to the principle of private ownership--in our own time we even see that the system of "socialized ownership" has been introduced--nevertheless the personalist argument still holds good both on the level of principles and on the practical level. If it is to be rational and fruitful, any socialization of the means of production must take this argument into consideration. Every effort must be made to ensure that in this kind of system also the human person can preserve his awareness of working "for himself." If this is not done, incalculable damage is inevitably done throughout the economic process, not only economic damage but first and foremost damage to man.

Rights of Workers

Within the Broad Context of Human Rights
While work, in all its many senses, is an obligation, that is to say a duty, it is also a source of rights on the part of the worker. These rights must be examined in the broad context of human rights as a whole, which are connatural with man and many of which are proclaimed by various international organizations and increasingly guaranteed by the individual states for their citizens. Respect for this broad range of human rights constitutes the fundamental condition for peace in the modern world: peace both within individual countries and societies and in international relations, as the church's magisterium has several times noted, especially since the encyclical Pacem in terris. The human rights that flow from work are part of the broader context of those fundamental rights of the person.

However, within this context they have a specific character corresponding to the specific nature of human work as outlined above. It is in keeping with this character that we must view them. Work is, as has been said, an obligation, that is to say, a duty, on the part of man. This is true in all the many meanings of the word. Man must work both because the Creator has commanded it and because of his own humanity, which requires work in order to be maintained and developed. Man must work out of regard for others, especially his own family, but also for the society he belongs, to the country of which he is a child and the whole human family of which he is a member, since he is the heir to the work of generations and at the same time a sharer in building the future of those who will come after him in the succession of history. All this constitutes the moral obligation of work understood in its wide sense. When we have to consider the moral rights corresponding to this obligation of every person with regard to work, we must always keep before our eyes the whole vast range of points of reference in which the labor of every working subject is manifested.

For when we speak of the obligation of work and of the rights of the worker that correspond to this obligation, we think in the first place of the relationship between the employer, direct or indirect, and the worker.

The distinction between the direct and the indirect employer is seen to be very important when one considers both the way in which labor is actually organized and the possibility of the formation of just or unjust relationships in the field of labor.

Since the direct employer is the person or institution with whom the worker enters directly into a work contract in accordance with definite conditions, we must understand as the indirect employer many different factors, other than the direct employer, that exercise a determining influence on the shaping both of the work contract and consequently of just or unjust relationships in the field of human labor.
Laborem Exercens, (On Human Work), Encyclical of Pope John Paul II, September 14, 1981

Importance of Unions
20 All these rights, together with the need for the workers themselves to secure them, give rise to yet another right: the right of association, that is, to form associations for the purpose of defending the vital interests of those employed in the various professions. These associations are called labor or trade unions. The vital interests of the workers are to a certain extent common for all of them; at the same time, however, each type of work, each profession, has its own specific character which should find a particular reflection in these organizations.

In a sense, unions go back to the medieval guilds of artisans, insofar as those organizations brought together people belonging to the same craft and thus on the basis of their work. However unions differ from the guilds on this essential point: The modern unions grew up from the struggle of the workers--workers in general but especially the industrial workers--to protect their just rights vis-a-vis the entrepreneurs and the owners of the means of production. Their task is to defend the existential interests of workers in all sectors in which their rights are concerned. The experience of history teaches that organizations of this type are an indispensable element of social life, especially in modern industrialized societies. Obviously this does not mean that only industrial workers can set up associations of this type. Representatives of every profession can use them to ensure their own rights. Thus there are unions of agricultural workers and of white-collar workers; there are also employers' associations. All, as has been said above, are further divided into groups or subgroups according to particular professional specializations.

Catholic social teaching does not hold that unions are no more than a reflection of the "class" structure of society and that they are a mouthpiece for a class struggle which inevitably governs social life. They are indeed a mouthpiece for the struggle for social justice, for the just rights or working people in accordance with their individual professions. However, this struggle should be seen as a normal endeavor "for" the just good: In the present case, for the good which corresponds to the needs and merits of working people associated by profession; but it is not a struggle "against" others. Even if in controversial questions the struggle takes on a character of opposition toward others, this is because it aims at the good of social justice, not for the sake of "struggle" or in order to eliminate the opponent. It is characteristic of work that it first and foremost unites people. In this consists its social power: the power to build a community. In the final analysis, both those who work and those who manage the means of production or who own them must in some way be united in this community. In the light of this fundamental structure of all work--in the light of the fact that, in the final analysis, labor and capital are indispensable components of the process of production in any social system--it is clear that even if it is because of their work needs that people unite to secure their rights, their union remains a constructive factor of social order and solidarity, and it is impossible to ignore it.

Just efforts to secure the rights of workers who are united by the same profession should always take into account the limitations imposed by the general economic situation of the country. Union demands cannot be turned into a kind of group or class "egoism," although they can and should also aim at correcting--with a view to the common good of the whole of society--everything defective in the system of ownership of the means of production or in the way these are managed. Social and socioeconomic life is certainly like a system of "connected vessels," and every social activity directed toward safeguarding the rights of particular groups should adapt itself to this system.

In this sense, union activity undoubtedly enters the held of politics, understood as prudent concern for the common good. However, the role of unions is not to "play politics" in the sense that the expression is commonly understood today. Unions do not have the character of political parties struggling for power; they should not be subjected to the decision of political parties or have too close links with them. In fact, in such a situation they easily lose contact with their specific role, which is to secure the just rights of workers within the framework of the common good of the whole of society; instead they become an instrument used for other purposes.

Speaking of the protection of the just rights of workers according to their individual professions, we must of course always keep in mind that which determines the subjective character of work in each profession, but at the same time, indeed before all else, we must keep in mind that which conditions the specific dignity of the subject of the work. The activity of union organizations opens up many possibilities in this respect, including their efforts to instruct and educate the workers and to foster their self education. Praise is due to the work of the schools, what are known as workers' or people's universities and the training programs and courses which have developed and are still developing this field of activity. It is always to be hoped that, thanks to the work of their unions, workers will not only have more, but above all be more: in other words that they will realize their humanity more fully in every respect.
One method used by unions in pursuing the just rights of their members is the strike or work stoppage, as a kind of ultimatum to the competent bodies, especially the employers. This method is recognized by Catholic social teaching as legitimate in the proper conditions and within just limits. In this connection workers should be assured the right to strike, without being subjected to personal penal sanctions for taking part in a strike. While admitting that it is a legitimate means, we must at the same time emphasize that a strike remains, in a sense, an extreme means. It must not be abused; it must not be abused especially for "political" purposes. Furthermore, it must never be forgotten that when essential community services are in question, they must in every case be ensured, if necessary by means of appropriate legislation. Abuse of the strike weapon can lead to the paralysis of the whole of socioeconomic life, and this is contrary to the requirements of the common good of society, which also corresponds to the properly understood nature of work itself.
Laborem Exercens, (On Human Work), Encyclical of Pope John Paul II, September 14, 1981

The Disabled Person and Work
22 Recently national communities and international organizations have turned their attention to another question connected with work, one full of implications: the question of disabled people. They too are fully human subjects with corresponding innate, sacred and inviolable rights and, in spite of the limitations and sufferings affecting their bodies and faculties, they point up more clearly the dignity and greatness of man. Since disabled people are subjects with all their rights, they should be helped to participate in the life of society in all its aspects and at all the levels accessible to their capacities. The disabled person is one of us and participates fully in the same humanity that we possess. It would be radically unworthy of man and a denial of our common humanity to admit to the life of the community, and thus admit to work, only those who are fully functional. To do so would be to practice a serious form of discrimination, that of the strong and healthy against the weak and sick. Work in the objective sense should be subordinated in this circumstance too to the dignity of man, to the subject of work and not to economic advantage.

The various bodies involved in the world of labor, both the direct and the indirect employer, should therefore, by means of effective and appropriate measures, foster the right of disabled people to professional training and work so that they can be given a productive activity suited to them. Many practical problems arise at this point, as well as legal and economic ones; but the community, that is to say, the public authorities, associations and intermediate groups, business enterprises and the disabled themselves should pool their ideas and resources so as to attain this goal that must not be shirked: that disabled people may be offered work according to their capabilities, for this is demanded by their dignity as persons and as subjects of work. Each community will be able to set up suitable structures for finding or creating jobs for such people both in the usual public or private enterprises, by offering them ordinary or suitably adapted jobs, and in what are called "protected" enterprises and surroundings.

Careful attention must be devoted to the physical and psychological working conditions of disabled people--as for all workers--to their just remuneration, to the possibility of their promotion and to the elimination of various obstacles. Without hiding the fact that this is a complex and difficult task, it is to be hoped that a correct concept of labor in the subjective sense will produce a situation which will make it possible for disabled people to feel that they are not cut off from the working world or dependent upon society, but that they are full-scale subjects of work, useful, respected for their human dignity and called to contribute to the progress and welfare of their families and of the community according to their particular capacities.
Laborem Exercens, (On Human Work), Encyclical of Pope John Paul II, September 14, 1981

80 ...internationally accepted human rights standards are strongly supported by Catholic teaching. These rights include the civil and political rights to freedom of speech, worship, and assembly. A number of human rights also concern human welfare and are of a specifically economic nature. First among these are the rights to life, food, clothing, shelter, rest, medical care, and basic education. These are indispensable to the protection of human dignity. ... All persons have a right to security in the event of sickness, unemployment, and old age ... the right to healthful working conditions, to wages, and other benefits sufficient to provide individuals and their families with a standard of living in keeping with human dignity, and to the possibility of property ownership.
Economic Justice for All, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1986

17 Human rights are closely linked to the church's mission in the world. They are the basis of social and international peace. What social, economic, political, or cultural program that describes itself as "humanistic" could fail to bring "the human person" to the fore? Yet human rights are violated, undermining these humanistic premises.
Redemptor Hominis, (Redeemer of Mankind), Encyclical Letter of Pope John II, 1979

44 Thus the person who possesses certain rights has likewise the duty to claim those rights as marks of human dignity, while all others have the obligation to acknowledge those rights and respect them.
Pacem in Terris, (Peace on Earth), Encyclical of Pope John XXIII, 1963

Advantages and limitations of juridical recognition
23 Through the statement of the rights of man and the seeking for international agreements for the application of these rights, progress has been made towards inscribing these two aspirations in deeds and structures. Nevertheless various forms of discrimination continually reappear - ethnic cultural, religious, political and so on. In fact, human rights are still too often disregarded, if not scoffed at, or else they receive only formal recognition. In many cases legislation does not keep up with real situations. Legislation is necessary, but it is not sufficient for setting up true relationships of justice and equity. 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. If, beyond legal rules, there is really no deeper feeling of respect for and service to others, then even equality before the law can serve as an alibi for flagrant discrimination, continued exploitation and actual contempt. Without a renewed education in solidarity, an overemphasis of equality can give rise to an individualism in which each one claims his own rights without wishing to be answerable for the common good.
Octogesima Adveniens, Apostolic Letter of Pope Paul VI, 1971

In this field, everyone sees the highly important contribution of the Christian spirit, which moreover answers man's yearning to be loved. "Love for man, the prime value of the earthly order" ensures the conditions for peace, both social peace and international peace, by affirming our universal brotherhood.

17 Human rights are the minimum conditions for life in community. In Catholic teaching, human rights include not only civil and political rights but also economic rights.... This means that when people are without a chance to earn a living, and must go hungry and homeless, they are being denied basic rights. Society must ensure that these rights are protected.
Economic Justice for All, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1986

60 It is agreed that in our time the common good is chiefly guaranteed when personal rights and duties are maintained. The chief concern of civil authorities must therefore be to ensure that these rights are acknowledged, respected, coordinated with other rights, defended and promoted, so that in this way everyone may more easily carry out their duties. For "to safeguard the inviolable rights of the human person, and to facilitate the fulfillment of each one's duties, should be the chief duty of every public authority."
Pacem in Terris, (Peace on Earth), Encyclical of Pope John XXIII, 1963

The right to conscientious objection
399 Citizens are not obligated in conscience to follow the prescriptions of civil authorities if their precepts are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or to the teachings of the Gospel. Unjust laws pose dramatic problems of conscience for morally upright people: when they are called to cooperate in morally evil acts they must refuse. Besides being a moral duty, such a refusal is also a basic human right which, precisely as such, civil law itself is obliged to recognize and protect. "Those who have recourse to conscientious objection must be protected not only from legal penalties but also from any negative effects on the legal, disciplinary, financial and professional plane.
Compendium of The Social Doctrine of the Church, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, 2005

Human Rights
154 Human rights are to be defended not only individually but also as a whole: protecting them only partially would imply a kind of failure to recognize them. They correspond to the demands of human dignity and entail, in the first place, the fulfillment of the essential needs of the person in the material and spiritual spheres. "These rights apply to every state of life and to every political, social, economic and cultural situation. Together they form a single whole, directed unambiguously towards the promotion of every aspect of the good of both the person and society ... The integral promotion of every category of human rights is the true guarantee of full respect for each individual right." Universality and indivisibility are distinctive characteristics of human rights: they are "two guiding principles which at the same time demand that human rights be rooted in each culture and that their juridical profile be strengthened so as to ensure that they are fully observed."
Compendium of The Social Doctrine of the Church, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, 2005

For more information on Compendium of The Social Doctrine of the Church, go to http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=60944

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Canadian/Ontario Documents

Structures of injustice have been created over the years by human decisions; they have been maintained by human attitudes ...
Celebrating an Education for Justice & Peace, OCCB, January 1996

The Scriptures say 'Without a vision the people perish.' (Proverbs). As Catholics, we have an inspiring vision in our social teaching. In a world that hungers for a sense of meaning and moral direction, this teaching offers ethical criteria for action. In a society of rapid change and often confused moral values, this teaching offers consistent moral guidance for the future.
Celebrating an Education for Justice & Peace, OCCB, January 1996

In a very real sense, we are the government. In a democracy such as our own, our political responsibility is very serious. Politics in this sense is a vocation. Our involvement in it will reflect the degree to which we accept our responsibility and vocation to create a just society. It is on this political responsibility that we want to make a comment.
Choosing A Government, OCCB, 1998

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...
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...
Governments must support the right to private property, but at the same time recognize that that right is not absolute. The world has been given by God to the whole human race. Every person, therefore, has the right to what he or she needs to live in a decent manner in society. All must share its benefits; material goods; social goods, like education and health care; and an opportunity for recreation and full self-development. Appropriate legislation, effective social programs and fair forms of taxation should ensure that these goods are truly available to all...
Governments must support the rights of workers to unite in order to protect the quality of their lives, their safety and their security. "Organizations of this type are an indispensable element of social life." (On Human Work, No. 20) Hence the right of labour to form unions and to bargain collectively must be guaranteed. Actions taken by all parties in labour relations must withstand the scrutiny of what is good for the parties but also what is good for society at large...
Governments must encourage and facilitate involvement in the process of political decision-making. A democratic government is elected with a mandate, and has every right to pursue the direction set by that mandate. There are, however, many means of reaching a goal, and citizens have the right and responsibility to make their views known on the relative value of taking one course rather than another. A government which respects its people will ensure that means are made available for the voices of citizens, singularly and in groups, to be heard and to have influence in dialogue with their government.
Government worthy of support must respect other governments and non-governmental bodies with respect to decision-making. While responsible for setting a tone and providing overall policy direction, governments should not take over those functions which can be carried out by other bodies at lower levels of government or by non-governmental organizations. Governments should do for people what they cannot do for themselves or cannot do as well for themselves.
Choosing A Government, OCCB, 1998

Media Release concerning attacks on Jewish and Muslim Facilities, 2004
At the end of their Plenary meeting in March 2004, the Catholic bishops of Ontario issued a media release deploring recent attacks on Jewish and Muslim facilities in the Toronto area.
The Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2004

SIXTH CORPORAL WORK OF MERCY: TO VISIT THE IMPRISONED
The dignity of all
The Gospel of Jesus Christ reveals to us the fundamental dignity of each person, irrespective of his or her social status, past actions or present situation. The teaching that "God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8) continually surprises us with the reality of God's unconditional love for all men and women. This love, which rains down "on the righteous and on the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:45), is the foundation of the dignity of each human being, a dignity which was given to us when we were created "in the image and likeness of God" (Genesis 1:27), a dignity which even sin cannot destroy. At the core of their being, criminals are not defined by their crimes. They are human beings, first and always. As human beings, they share with all other humans the right to be treated with dignity. To love the sinner while hating the sin is the challenge that is set before all of Christ's disciples.
The Social Affairs Commission of the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops: Most Rev. John Sherlock, Bishop of London, Chair of the Social Affairs Commission of the OCCB, Feast of All Saints, November 1, 2001

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Quotations

I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream -- a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man's skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Genuine politics -- even politics worthy of the name -- the only politics I am willing to devote myself to -- is simply a matter of serving those around us: serving the community and serving those who will come after us. Its deepest roots are moral because it is a responsibility expressed through action, to and for the whole.
Vaclav Havel

Be as beneficent as the sun or the sea, but if your rights as a rational being are trenched on, die on the first inch of your territory.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ultimately, America's answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.
Robert F. Kennedy

States are not moral agents, people are, and can impose moral standards on powerful institutions.
Noam Chomsky

The most effective way to restrict democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations.
Noam Chomsky

Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
Paulo Freire

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Web Resources

The Vatican: Catechism of the Catholic Church
http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/ccc_toc.htm

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
http://www.cccb.ca/

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.

Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops
http://www.occb.on.ca

This is the official site of the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops and contains an extensive archive of many of their recent statements and publications on social affairs.

Amnesty International
http://www.amnesty.org/

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 be present.

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
http://www.unhchr.ch/

and
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/index.htm

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.

PEN America
http://www.pen.org/

PEN is a fellowship of writers promoting the freedom of expression and the advance of literature and literacy in the world. The site has many interesting sections about countries that violate freedom of expression, strongly highlighted with actual poetry and prose from oppressed writers. The site also includes more traditional sections on literary awards, contests and other literary events.

International Campaign to Ban Landmines
http://www.icbl.org/

A campaign made famous through the Ottawa Accord and the work of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, the ICBL site has captivating photos, news articles and updates, campaign details and a section entitled 'Youth Against War' where young people can sign online a simple yet powerful Treaty denouncing war.

KAIROS
http://www.kairoscanada.org/e/index.asp

KAIROS unites churches and religious organizations in a faithful ecumenical response to the call to "do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8). We deliberate on issues of common concern, advocate for social change and join with people of faith and goodwill in action for social transformation.

Maquila Solidarity Network
http://www.maquilasolidarity.org/

The Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) is a labour and women's rights advocacy organization promoting solidarity with grassroots groups in Mexico, Central America, and Asia working to improve conditions in maquiladora factories and export processing zones. We believe retailers must be accountable for the conditions under which their products are made. Since 1995, we have supported garment workers' efforts to improve working conditions through policy advocacy, corporate campaigning and engagement, participation in multi-stakeholder initiatives to promote corporate accountability, and local labour rights capacity building. In a global economy groups in the North and South must work together for employment with dignity, fair wages and working conditions, and healthy workplaces and communities.

The Fair Labor Association
http://www.fairlabor.org/index.html

The Fair Labor Association (FLA) is a non-profit organization combining the efforts of industry, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), colleges and universities to promote adherence to international labor standards and improve working conditions worldwide. The FLA conducts independent monitoring and verification to ensure that the FLA's Workplace Standards are upheld where FLA company products are produced. Through public reporting, the FLA provides consumers and shareholders with credible information to make responsible buying decisions.

The Worker Rights Consortium
http://www.workersrights.org/

The Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) is a non-profit organization created by college and university administrations, students and labor rights experts. The WRC's purpose is to assist in the enforcement of manufacturing Codes of Conduct adopted by colleges and universities; these Codes are designed to ensure that factories producing clothing and other goods bearing college and university names respect the basic rights of workers. There are more than 100 colleges and universities affiliated with the WRC.

Sojourners
http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm

Sojourners is a Christian ministry whose mission is to proclaim and practice the biblical call to integrate spiritual renewal and social justice. In our lives and in our work, we seek to be guided by the biblical principles of justice, mercy, and humility.

CAFOD- Catholic Agency for Overseas Development
http://www.cafod.org.uk/

We act based on principles of compassion, solidarity, stewardship and hope. Confronted by immense poverty and suffering, CAFOD's most fundamental response is compassion. CAFOD also stands alongside excluded communities, sharing resources, uniting in prayer, defending rights and challenging the systems that keep people poor. CAFOD draws its inspiration from Scripture, the Church's social teaching, and the experiences and hopes of the poor. Our mission is to promote human development and social justice in witness to Christian faith and Gospel values.

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Links to Ontario Catholic Graduate Expectations

A Discerning Believer Formed in the Catholic Faith Community who:
CGE1d Develops attitudes and values founded on Catholic social teaching and acts to promote social responsibility, human solidarity and the common good
CGE1e 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 to Faith)
CGE1f Seeks intimacy with God and celebrates communion with God, others and creation through prayer and worship
CGE1h Respects the faith traditions, world religions and the life-journeys of all people of good will
CGE1i Integrates faith with life
 
An Effective Communicator who:
CGE2b Reads, understands and uses written materials effectively
CGE2c Presents information and ideas clearly and honestly and with sensitivity to others
CGE2d Writes and speaks fluently one or both of Canada's official languages
 
A Reflective and Creative Thinker who:
CGE3a Recognizes there is more grace in our world than sin and that hope is essential in facing all challenges
CGE3c Thinks reflectively and creatively to evaluate situations and solve problems
CGE3d Makes decisions in light of gospel values with an informed moral conscience
CGE3f Examines, evaluates and applies knowledge of interdependent systems (physical, political, ethical, socio-economic and ecological) for the development of a just and compassionate society  
 
A Self-directed, Responsible, Life Long Learner who:  
CGE4a Demonstrates a confident and positive sense of self and respect for the dignity and welfare of others
CGE4b Takes initiative and demonstrates Christian leadership.
 
A Collaborative Contributor who:
CGE5a Works effectively as an interdependent team member
CGE5e Respects the rights, responsibilities and contributions of self and others
CGE5f Exercises Christian leadership in the achievement of individual and group goals
 
A Caring Family Member who:
CGE6a Relates to family members in a loving, compassionate and respectful manner
CGE6e Ministers to the family, school, parish, and wider community through service
 
A Responsible Citizen who:
CGE7a Acts morally and legally as a person formed in Catholic traditions
CGE7b Accepts accountability for one's own actions
CGE7c Seeks and grants forgiveness
CGE7d Promotes the sacredness of life
CGE7e Witnesses Catholic social teaching by promoting equality, democracy, and solidarity for a just, peaceful and compassionate society
CGE7f Respects and affirms the diversity and interdependence of the world's peoples and cultures
CGE7g Respects and understands the history, cultural heritage and pluralism of today's contemporary society
CGE7h Exercises the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship
CGE7j Contributes to the common good
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Reflection Questions

Personal and Group Reflection:

Personal Reflection:

1. I call to mind a situation locally, nationally or globally where human rights are being violated. I reflect on the personal impact that this would have on the individuals and families involved.

2. I call to mind an occasion when one of my own human rights was threatened/violated. What was the impact of this experience?

Small Group Reflection:

1. What human rights issues have impacted upon our school community?

Strategies:

1. What opportunities do we have to educate students in issues and problems related to human rights?

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