Morality Handout for 9-7-2011

6 Sep

Notable quotations from the pastoral letter


Economic Justice for All:

Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy


U.S. Bishops, 1986


Every perspective on economic life that is human, moral, and Christian must be shaped by three questions: What

does the economy do for people? What does it do to people? And how do people participate in it? (#1)


The road to holiness for most of us lies in our secular vocations. We need a spirituality that calls forth and supports lay initiative and witness not just in our churches but also in business, in the labor movement, in the professions, in education, and in public life.  Our faith is not just a weekend obligation, a mystery to be celebrated around the altar on Sunday. It is a pervasive reality to be practiced every day in homes, offices, factories, schools, and businesses across our land.  We cannot separate what we believe from how we act in the marketplace and the broader community, for this is where we make our primary contribution to the pursuit of economic justice. (#25)


“The needs of the poor take priority over the desires of the rich; the rights of workers over the maximization of profits; the preservation of the environment over uncontrolled industrial expansion; the production to meet social needs over production for military purposes”. (#94)


As individuals and as a nation, therefore, we are called to make a fundamental “option for the poor”. The obligation to evaluate social and economic activity from the viewpoint of the poor and the powerless arises from the radical command to love one’s neighbor as one’s self. Those who are marginalized and whose rights are denied have privileged claims if society is to provide justice for all. This obligation is deeply rooted in Christian belief. (#87)


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” [71]. The guaranteeing of basic justice for all is not an optional expression of largesse but an inescapable duty for the whole of society. (#120)


The obligation to provide justice for all means that the poor have the single most urgent economic claim on the

conscience of the nation. Poverty can take many forms, spiritual as well as material. (#86)


The common good may sometimes demand that the right to own be limited by public involvement in the planning or ownership of certain sectors of the economy. Support of private ownership does not mean that anyone has the right to unlimited accumulation of wealth. “Private property does not constitute for anyone an absolute or unconditional right. No one is justified in keeping for his exclusive use what he does not need, when others lack necessities” (#115)


The obligation to provide justice for all means that the poor have the single most urgent economic claim on the

conscience of the nation. Poverty can take many forms, spiritual as well as material. (#16)




Says It’s Time to Promote Responsible Consumption


VATICAN CITY, NOV. 14, 2010 ( The time is now to launch a reevaluation of agriculture, and place the sector back into its rightful place in the global economy, says Benedict XVI.  The Pope reflected on the situation of modern agriculture today before praying the midday Angelus together with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square, which coincided with Thanksgiving Day in Italy.  “The current economic crisis,” the Holy Father began, “must be taken in all its seriousness: It has numerous causes and sends a powerful message about the need for a profound revision of the model of global economic development.”  And one area that needs revision and “a strategic re-launching,” he added, is agriculture.  “I believe that this is the moment for the reevaluation of agriculture, not in a nostalgic sense, but as an indispensable resource for the future,” the Pontiff affirmed.  Benedict XVI lamented that even during the current global economic crisis, in certain industrialized countries, “lifestyles marked by unsustainable consumption — which have damaging effects for the environment and the poor — still continue.”  “It is necessary,” he continued, “to point in a truly unified way to a new balance between agriculture, industry and services, so that development be sustainable, and no one go without bread and work, and so that air and water and the other primary resources be preserved as universal goods.  “To this end, it is essential to cultivate and spread a clear ethic that is up to the task of addressing current challenges.”  The Pope delineated some points of the ethic, including the duty of each person to “educate themselves in more wise and responsible consumption.”  He also urged “personal responsibility” and the promotion of “rural” values, such as “hospitality, solidarity [and] the sharing of the toil of labor.”  “More than a few young people have already chosen this path,” The Holy Father concluded. “Also, many professionals are returning to dedicate themselves to the agricultural enterprise, feeling that they are responding not only to a personal and family need, but also to a ‘sign of the times,’ to a concrete sensibility for the ‘common good.'”



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