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Love and Justice

Scriptural Story

The Rejection of Jesus at Nazareth
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went back 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

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Description and Related Concepts

Description:
A necessary condition for Jesus' command of love of neighbour is justice. Love must manifest itself in actions and structures that respect human dignity, protect human rights and facilitate human development. To promote justice is to transform the structures that block love. Action of behalf of justice is not an option but a constitutive dimension of the Gospel.

Justice reaches outward, not inward. Justice is founded on the premise that all persons are sacred. Justice acknowledges the dignity of each person which comes from his/her creation in God's image. Justice demands action; it is not simply an intellectual activity. Justice empowers persons to participate in decisions affecting their own lives. Justice, therefore, addresses the distribution of power. Justice demands that individuals receive what they need, not what others believe they deserve. Justice is the cornerstone of human togetherness and authentic community.

Anchor Concepts: Conflict, Empowerment, Globalism, Interdependence, Justice, Solidarity, Common Good, Community, Human Dignity, Distribution, Lifestyle, Transformation/Conversion

Related Concepts:

  • PEACE
  • VIOLENCE
  • CAUSATION
  • VICTIM
  • SELF-INTEREST
  • BIAS / FRAME OF REFERENCE
  • NEGOTIATION/COMPROMISE
  • PROTEST/DEMONSTRATION
  • DIALOGUE
  • PREFERENTIAL OPTION FOR THE POOR
  • POWERLESSNESS
  • RESOLUTION
  • COMMON GOOD
  • AUTHORITY
  • POWER
  • FREEDOM/LIBERATION
  • OPPRESSION
  • MARGINALIZATION
  • DISENFRANCHISEMENT
  • SUBSIDIARITY
  • EQUALITY/EQUITY
  • DEMOCRACY
  • POLITICAL VALUE SYSTEM
  • POLICY
  • JUSTICE
  • HOPE
  • SOCIAL JUSTICE
  • GLOBAL COMMUNITY
  • HUMAN DIGNITY
  • QUALITY OF LIFE
  • HUMAN RIGHTS
  • SOLIDARITY
  • WORLD ORDER
  • LEADERSHIP
  • EMPOWERMENT
  • TRADE
  • EXPLOITATION
  • TRANSNATIONAL ENTERPRISE
  • PROFIT MOTIVE
  • MUTUALITY
  • AUTONOMY
  • RELATIONSHIP
  • INCLUSIVITY
  • COOPERATION
  • COLLABORATION
  • SERVICE
  • AUTONOMY/SELF-
  • SUFFICIENCY
  • COEXISTENCE
  • PRODUCTIVITY
  • RIGHTEOUSNESS
  • CONFLICT RESOLUTION
  • SOCIAL SIN
  • NON-VIOLENCE
  • DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE
  • LOVE OF NEIGHBOUR
  • HUMAN FAMILY
  • DIGNITY OF WORK AND SERVICE
  • FRIENDSHIP/UNDERSTANDING
  • SHARING/SOCIAL CHARITY
  • UNITY IN DIVERSITY
  • ANTI-SEXISM
  • ANTI-RACISM
  • INTERDEPENDENCE
  • COMPROMISE
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Scripture References

False and True Worship
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; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Isaiah 58: 6-8

Social Injustice Denounced
Ah, you who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is room for no one but you, and you are left to live alone in the midst of the land! The Lord of hosts has sworn in my hearing: Surely many houses shall be desolate, large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant.
Isaiah 4: 8-9

Judgment on 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 brought with fines they imposed.
Amos 2: 6-8

Israel's Guilt and Punishment
Hear this word, you cows of Bashan who are on Mount Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to their husbands, "Bring something to drink!" The Lord God has sworn by his holiness: The time is surely coming upon you, when they shall take you away with hooks, even the last of you with fishhooks. Through breaches in the wall you shall leave, each one straight ahead; and you shall be flung out into Harmon, says the Lord.
Amos 4: 1-3

Social Evils Denounced
Alas for those who devise wickedness and evil deeds on their beds! When the morning dawns, they perform it, because it is in their power. They covet fields, and seize them; houses, and take them away; they oppress householder and house, people and their inheritance. Therefore thus says the Lord: Now, I am devising against this family an evil from which you cannot remove your necks; and you shall not walk haughtily, for it will be an evil time.
Micah 2: 1-3

What God Requires
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6: 8

Concerning Retaliation
"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5: 38-48

The Greatest Commandment
"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Matthew 22: 36-40

The New Commandment
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13: 34-35

The Judgment of the Nations
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

The Rich Man and Lazarus
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 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 her 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

Encouragement to be Generous
...it is a question of fair balance between your present abundance and their need ...
2 Corinthians 8: 8-15


Faith Without Works is Dead
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith and do not have works. Can faith save you? ...So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
James 2: 14-17

The Widow's Offering
A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then Jesus called his disciples and said, "Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had."
Mark 12: 42-44

Jesus the True Vine
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. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my 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 choose 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.
John 15: 1-16

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Church Teachings

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)

30 It is imperative that no one ... would indulge in a merely individualistic morality. The best way to fulfill one's obligations of justice and love is to contribute to the common good according to one's means and the needs of others, and also to promote and help public and private organizations devoted to bettering the conditions of life.
Gaudium et Spes, (The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)

78 Accordingly, peace is also the fruit of love, for love goes beyond what justice can achieve.
Gaudium et Spes, (The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)

82 Since peace must be born of mutual trust between nations and not be imposed on them through fear of the available weapons, everyone must labour to put an end at last to the arms race.
Gaudium et Spes, (The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)

93 Mindful of the words of the Lord: "By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another"(Jn. 13:35), Christians can yearn for, nothing more ardently than to serve the people of this age successfully with increasing generosity. Holding loyally to the Gospel, enriched by its resources, and joining forces with all who love and practice justice, they have shouldered a weighty task here on earth and they must render an account of it to him who will judge all people on the last day.
Gaudium et Spes, (The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)


Catechism of the Catholic Church

1805 Four virtues play a pivotal role and accordingly are called "cardinal"; all the others are groups around them. They are: prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. "If anyone loves righteousness, [Wisdom's] labours are virtues; for she teaches temperance and prudence, justice and courage." These virtues are praised under other names in many passages of Scripture.

1807 Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbour. Justice toward God is called the "virtue of religion." Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbour." Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven."

2411 Contracts are subject to commutative justice which regulates exchanges between persons in accordance with a strict respect for their rights. Commutative justice obliges strictly; it requires safeguarding property rights, paying debts and fulfilling obligations freely contracted. Without commutative justice, no other form of justices is possible. One distinguishes commutative justice from legal justice which concerns what the citizen owes in fairness to the community, and from distributive justice which regulates what the community woes its citizens in proportion to their contributions and needs.

Other Church Documents

137 But in effecting all this, the law of charity, "which is the bond of perfection," must always take a leading role. How completely deceived, therefore, are those rash reformers who concern themselves with the enforcement of justice alone-- and this, commutative justice--and in their pride reject the assistance of charity! Admittedly, no vicarious charity can substitute for justice which is due as an obligation and is wrongfully denied.
Quadragesimo Anno, (The Fortieth Year), On Reconstruction of the Social Order, Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XI, 1931

49 Beginning with intra-ecclesial communion, charity of its nature opens out into a service that is universal; it inspires in us a commitment to practical and concrete love for every human being. This too is an aspect which must clearly mark the Christian life, the Church's whole activity and her pastoral planning...

50 In our own time, there are so many needs which demand a compassionate response from Christians. Our world is entering the new millennium burdened by the contradictions of an economic, cultural and technological progress which offers immense possibilities to a fortunate few, while leaving millions of others not only on the margins of progress but in living conditions far below the minimum demanded by human dignity. How can it be that even today there are still people dying of hunger? Condemned to illiteracy? Lacking the most basic medical care? Without a roof over their heads? ...

We must therefore ensure that in every Christian community the poor feel at home. Would not this approach be the greatest and most effective presentation of the good news of the Kingdom? Without this form of evangelization through charity and without the witness of Christian poverty the proclamation of the Gospel, which is itself the prime form of charity, risks being misunderstood or submerged by the ocean of words which daily engulfs us in today's society of mass communications. The charity of works ensures an unmistakable efficacy to the charity of words.
Novo Millennio Ineunte, (At The Dawn of the New Millenium), To The Bishops, Clergy And Lay Faithful At The Close Of The Great Jubilee Of The Year 2000, Pope John Paul II

58 Love for others, and especially for the poor, is made concrete by promoting justice.
Centesimus Annus, (The Hundredth Year), Pope John Paul II, 1991

47 At a time in history like the present, special attention must also be given to the pastoral care of the family, particularly when this fundamental institution is experiencing a radical and widespread crisis. In the Christian view of marriage, the relationship between a man and a woman - a mutual and total bond, unique and indissoluble - is part of God's original plan, obscured throughout history by our "hardness of heart", but which Christ came to restore to its pristine splendour, disclosing what had been God's will "from the beginning" (Mt 19:8). Raised to the dignity of a Sacrament, marriage expresses the "great mystery" of Christ's nuptial love for his Church (cf. Eph 5:32).

On this point the Church cannot yield to cultural pressures, no matter how widespread and even militant they may be. Instead, it is necessary to ensure that through an ever more complete Gospel formation Christian families show convincingly that it is possible to live marriage fully in keeping with God's plan and with the true good of the human person - of the spouses, and of the children who are more fragile. Families themselves must become increasingly conscious of the care due to children, and play an active role in the Church and in society in safeguarding their rights.
Pope John Paul II Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (At the Dawn of the New Millennium)

Our relationship to our neighbour is bound up with our relationship to God; our response to the love of God, saving us through Christ, is shown to be effective in his love and service of people. Christian love of neighbour and justice cannot be separated. For love implies an absolute demand for justice, namely a recognition of the dignity and rights of one's neighbour. Justice attains its inner fullness only in love. Because every person is truly a visible image of the invisible God and a sibling of Christ, the Christian finds in every person God himself and God's absolute demand for justice and love.
Justice in the World, Synod of Bishops, 1971

Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel, or in other words, of the Church's mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation
Justice in the World, Synod of Bishops, 1971

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 Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1986

120 Every citizen also has the responsibility to work to secure justice and human rights through an organized social response. In the words of Pius XI, "Charity will never be true charity unless it takes justice into account ... Let no one attempt with small gifts of charity to exempt himself from the great duties imposed by justice". The guaranteeing of basic justice for all is not an optional expression of largesse but an inescapable duty for the whole of society.
Economic Justice for All, Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1986

39 The Church has always emphasized that this obligation of helping those who are in misery and want should be felt most strongly by Catholics, in view of the fact that they are members of the Mystical Body of Christ. "In this we have known the charity of God," says St. John, "because he has laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. He that hath the substance of this world and shall see his brother in need and shall shut up his bowels from him; how doth the charity of God abide in him?"
Biblical justice is more comprehensive than subsequent philosophical definitions. It is not concerned with a strict definition of rights and duties, but with the rightness of the human condition before God and within society. Nor is justice opposed to love; rather, it is both a manifestation of love and a condition for love to grow.
Economic Justice for All, Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1986

Catholic social teaching is a central and essential element of our faith ... This commitment to social justice is at the heart of who we are and what we believe ...
Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1998

69 Commutative justice calls for fundamental fairness in all agreements and exchanges between individuals or private social groups. It demands respect for the equal human dignity of all persons in economic transactions, contracts, or promises. For example, workers owe their employers diligent work in exchange for their wages. Employers are obligated to treat their employees as persons, paying them fair wages in exchange for the work done and establishing conditions and patterns of work that are truly human.
Economic Justice for All, Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1986

70 Distributive justice requires that the allocation of income, wealth, and power in society be evaluated in light of its effects on persons whose basic material needs are unmet. The Second Vatican Council stated: "The right to have a share of earthly goods sufficient for oneself and one's family belongs to everyone. The fathers and doctors of the Church held this view, teaching that we are obliged to come to the relief of the poor and to do so not merely out of our superfluous goods". Minimum material resources are an absolute necessity for human life. If persons are to be recognized as members of the human community, then the community has an obligation to help fulfill these basic needs unless an absolute scarcity of resources makes this strictly impossible. No such scarcity exists in the United States today.
Economic Justice for All, Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1986

71 Justice also has implications for the way the larger social, economic, and political institutions of society are organized. Social justice implies that persons have an obligation to be active and productive participants in the life of society and that society has a duty to enable them to participate in this way.
Economic Justice for All, Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1986

Catholic social teaching is a central and essential element of our faith ... this commitment to social justice is at the heart of who we are and what we believe ...
Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops 1998

69 Catholic social teaching, like must philosophical reflection, distinguishes three dimensions of basic justice: commutative justice, distributive justice, and social justice [24].
Economic Justice for All, Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1986

69 Commutative justice calls for fundamental fairness in all agreements and exchanges between individuals or private social groups. It demands respect for the equal human dignity of all persons in economic transactions, contracts, or promises. For example, workers owe their employers diligent work in exchange for their wages. Employers are obligated to treat their employees as persons, paying them fair wages in exchange for the work done and establishing conditions and patterns of work that are truly human.
Economic Justice for All, Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1986

70 Distributive justice requires that the allocation of income, wealth, and power in society be evaluated in light of its effects on persons whose basic material needs are unmet. The Second Vatican Council stated: "The right to have a share of earthly goods sufficient for oneself and one's family belongs to everyone. The fathers and doctors of the Church held this view, teaching that we are obliged to come to the relief of the poor and to do so not merely out of our superfluous goods". Minimum material resources are an absolute necessity for human life. If persons are to be recognized as members of the human community, then the community has an obligation to help fulfill these basic needs unless an absolute scarcity of resources makes this strictly impossible. No such scarcity exists in the United States today.
Economic Justice for All, Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1986

71 Justice also has implications for the way the larger social, economic, and political institutions of society are organized. Social justice implies that persons have an obligation to be active and productive participants in the life of society and that society has a duty to enable them to participate in this way.
Economic Justice for All, Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1986

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Canadian/Ontario Documents

In a world marked by poverty, oppression and war, we are commanded to work for justice and peace.
This Moment of Promise, Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1989

4 As disciples of Christ, all of us have a responsibility to play a role in the creation of a social order based on justice. For we stand in the biblical tradition of the prophets of Israel (Amos, Jeremiah, Isaiah) for whom to know God is to seek justice for the disinherited, the poor and the oppressed. The same Spirit of God that came upon the prophets filled Jesus of Nazareth. With the power of that Spirit, Jesus prayed and healed, all the while proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was at hand (Mt. 4:17, 23; Lk. 6:12, 11:1-4). In the light of the Spirit he announced he was the message of the prophets come true - "the good news to the poor" and "liberty to the oppressed" (Lk. 4:18, 19).
From Words to Action, On Christian Political and Social Responsibility, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1976

Priority of the Poor
15 The needs and rights of the poor, the afflicted, the marginalized and the oppressed are given special attention in God's Plan for Creation. Throughout his ministry Jesus repeatedly identified with the plight of the poor and the outcasts of society (e.g., Ph 2: 6-8; Lk 6: 20-21). He also took a critical attitude towards the accumulation of wealth and power that comes through the exploitation of others (e.g., Lk 16: 13-15; 12: 16-21; Mk 4: 19). This has become known as "the preferential option for the poor" in the scriptures. In a given economic order, the needs of the poor take priority over the wants of the rich. This does not mean simply more handouts for the poor. It calls instead for an equitable redistribution of wealth and power among peoples and regions.
Ethical Reflections on Canada's Socio-Economic Order, The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1983

We write to you to share our joy in your commitment to the gospel of justice and peace; to thank you for your generosity of spirit; and to affirm you in the struggle you are engaged in, locally and globally, to build a more just and peaceful world. ... For all of us, your participation in the gospel of justice is immensely encouraging. You live the ideals you have learned; you actually walk the path of the gospel and bring good news to the poor. We are sure that, in doing so, you receive the good news in return. Your participation in this good news which brings justice and peace is a powerful affirmation that our Catholic secondary schools are more necessary now than ever before. For us and for our vision of Catholic education, this striving to do justice and bring peace into our world is at the very heart of the matter. You are demonstrating that Catholic schools contribute to the improvement of both Ontario and world society. With good will and efforts like yours, we can develop a society which does provide employment, security and dignity for all its citizens and which reaches out to help those in need.
Celebrating an Education for Justice and Peace, A Letter to the Catholic Secondary School Students of Ontario From the Catholic Bishops of Ontario, Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1996

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Quotations

When you give food to the poor, they call you a saint. When you ask why the poor have no food, they call you a communist.
Archbishop Helder Camara

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Martin Luther King

When we say man was created in the image of God, I refuse to imagine a God who is poor, ignorant, superstitious, fearful, oppressed, wretched - which is the lot of the majority of those he created in his own image.
Julius Nyerere

We must have no illusions, we shall not walk on roses, people will not throng to hear us and applaud, and we shall not always be aware of Divine protection. If we are to be pilgrims for justice and peace, we must expect the desert.
Archbishop Helder Camara

Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.
Saint Augustine

We must not seek the child Jesus
in the pretty figures of our Christmas cribs.
We must seek him among the undernourished children
who have gone to bed tonight with nothing to eat,
among the poor newsboys
who will sleep covered with newspapers in doorways.
Archbishop Oscar Romero

The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart.
Dorothy Day

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
Bishop Desmond Tutu

I swore never to be silent whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
Elie Wiesel

It means a great deal to those who are oppressed to know that they are not alone. And never let anyone tell you that what you are doing is insignificant.
Bishop Desmond Tutu

To save one life, it is as if you had saved the world entire.
Talmud

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Dalai Lama

In Germany they first came for the communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."
Pastor Martin Niemoller

Give a person a fish and they will eat for a day. Teach a person to fish and they will eat for a lifetime.
Old Adage

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Web Resources

The Vatican
http://www.vatican.va/

The official web site of the Vatican contains an impressive collection of materials with a useful internal search engine.

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

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.

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 web site is a valuable resource for those seeking to see where the Canadian Catholic stands on social justice.

Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
http://www.devp.org/

This Canadian Catholic organization, founded by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, 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.

Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives Homepage
http://www.kairoscanada.org

Contains news, links and resources from Canada's 10 Christian inter-church social justice coalitions. A good source of information on Canadian ecumenical social justice initiatives, with regular announcements and updates on campaigns

Pax Christi International
http://www.paxchristi.net

Pax Christi USA
http://www.paxchristiusa.org

Pax Christi is the international peace movement. Its members worldwide work for the transformation of society through non-violence and advocate peacemaking as a priority. The USA site provides excellent links to other peace sites.

Oneworld
http://www.owren.info

This site provides information about justice and peace issues from around the world, including very extensive resources for schools.

Faith Doing Justice Homepage
http://www.faithdoingjustice.ca/

Hosted by Canadian Jesuit Fathers Jack Costello, Bill Ryan, Jim Prophet and Canadian journalist Bernard Daly. Website's purpose is to "to prompt discussion about how Christian faith relates to social actions - the things people do or fail to do in their social relations: economic, ecological, political, cultural, domestic, etc." Contains a wide cross section of Church documents and articles, online discussion forum on Catholic Social Teaching and links to faith-based social justice initiatives and related websites throughout the world.

Papal and Episcopal Documents Related to Catholic Social Justice Teaching
http://www.justpeace.org/docu.htm

Contains an extensive assortment of links to statements on Catholic social justice by popes, church councils, national bishops' conferences, and individual bishops.

Amnesty International Canada
http://www.amnesty.ca/

Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of "ordinary" people who work together to achieve extraordinary results. AI stands in solidarity with - and helps protect - individuals and communities around the world whose human rights are under attack. AI appeals for the violations to stop and seeks to mobilize public pressure to prevent human rights abuses from taking place.

Catholic Social Teaching - Office of Social Justice (Archdioceses of St. Paul & Minneapolis )
http://www.osjspm.org/cst/

Far too many Catholics are not familiar with the basic content of Catholic social teaching. More fundamentally, many Catholics do not adequately understand that the social teaching of the Church is an essential part of Catholic faith. This poses a serious challenge for all Catholics, since it weakens our capacity to be a Church that is true to the demands of the Gospel. We need to do more to share the social mission and message of our Church. This rich site includes links to important documents as well as resources for teachers.

Center of Concern: Education for Justice
http://www.coc.org/ej/

The Education for Justice Web Site is a project of the Center of Concern. For over 30 years, the Center has been committed to creating a world where all economic structures, systems and policies guarantee the dignity and the basic rights of every member of the human family. The Education for Justice Web Site was created to help teachers, social action directors, parish members, campus ministers, and others in leadership roles to meet the challenge of sharing Catholic Social Teaching and bringing greater awareness to social justice issues. Through all of the materials available on the web site, we seek not only to introduce Catholic Social Teaching to a wider audience but to help deepen the knowledge of this essential element of faith and to help develop solidarity with all those in the global community who are suffering and oppressed.

Center of Concern
http://www.coc.org/index.html

The Center of Concern envisions a world in which every woman, man and child can survive, thrive, and contribute back to our communities, enhancing life for all who share the planet. Through research, analysis, networking, public education and advocacy, the Center works to advance more just, sustainable and authentically human development for all, especially for the marginalized and those in poverty.

Global Witness
http://www.globalwitness.org/

The self described mission of Global Witness is to campaign to achieve real change by challenging established thinking on seemingly intractable global issues. The organization works to highlight the link between the exploitation of natural resources and human rights abuses, particularly where the resources such as timber, diamonds and oil are used to fund and perpetuate conflict and corruption.

Holy Cross International Justice Office
http://www.holycrossjustice.org/default.asp

The Holy Cross International Justice Office animates and unites the social justice work of the four Congregations of Holy Cross. Providing issue analyses, action strategies, and networking opportunities, the Office seeks to develop a well-informed, unified, public Holy Cross voice which impacts the critical justice issues of our time.

Jesuit Centre for Social Faith and Justice - National Office
http://www.jesuits.ca/justicecr/Toronto_Jc/National_Office.html

The Jesuit Centre is a team of Jesuits and colleagues engaged in diverse works to
promote greater justice for all through a service of the faith that forms and impels us. Our work is a share in the mission of the Church which "exists" not for itself but for humanity.... Its aim is the realization of the Kingdom of God in the whole of human society..."
(G.C. 34 #24) The National Office in Toronto concentrates on theological reflection, human rights research and advocacy, legal assistance and pastoral care for refugees through the work of Jesuit Refugee Service - Canada.

One Sky: The Canadian Institute for Sustainable Living
http://www.onesky.ca/

One Sky's mission is to promote sustainable living globally. The organization works on projects to promote human rights and sustainable economics and to conserve and protect the environment.

Resurgence Magazine On-line
http://www.resurgence.org/resurgence/home.htm

Resurgence is the leading international forum for ecological and spiritual thinking. It is a life-line to the heart of the environmental movement, connecting readers to a world of ideas, tools and resources that are needed to create positive change. Through partnerships with organizations that share values and objectives, it aims to increase awareness of each other's work - providing information and inspiration to supporters.

The Micah Network
http://www.micahnetwork.org/eng/

The Micah Network is a group of 275+ Christian relief, development and justice organisations, from 74 countries. Micah Network was formed in 1999 with the aims to: Strengthen the capacity of participating agencies to make a biblically-shaped response to the needs of the poor and oppressed; speak strongly and effectively regarding the nature of the mission of the Church to proclaim and demonstrate the love of Christ to a world in need; and prophetically call upon and influence the leaders and decision-makers of societies to "maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed and rescue the weak and needy".

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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
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
CGE1j 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 to Faith)  
 
An Effective Communicator who:
CGE2a Listens actively and critically to understand and learn in light of gospel values
CGE2c Presents information and ideas clearly and honestly and with sensitivity to others
 
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
CGE3b Creates, adapts, evaluates new ideas in light of the common good
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.
CGE4c Takes initiative and demonstrates Christian leadership
CGE4e Sets appropriate goals and priorities in school, work and personal life
CGE4f Applies effective communication, decision-making, problem-solving, time and resource management skills
CGE4g Examines and reflects on one's personal values, abilities and aspirations influencing life's choices and opportunities  
 
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
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 Reflections

Personal Reflection:

1. I recall a time when love and justice were clearly values for our school community.

2. I call to mind a person whose life embodies love and justice.

Small Group Reflection:

1. We share our experience of living out justice

2. We describe times when neither love nor justice were valued.

Strategies:

1. We suggest creative strategies for promoting greater love and justice within our school community.

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