SOCIAL JUSTICE: THE CHURCH’S CALL TO ACTION
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 of the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation. The Church commits itself to the work of social change and the struggle against all forms of oppression.
Jesus himself, we should note, was certainly not a social reformer. Jesus stood for human freedom, though he did not dwell on the theme. For He taught that one is really free only when one’s relation to God’s will is right ; that is , when one repents.
Paul constantly exhorts his quarreling communities to live in harmony with one another by cultivating relations that are based on justice and concern for the felt needs of others.
The gospel of Jesus is good news for the poor: Luke has Jesus say in the beatitudes, “Blessed are the poor” period. It is Luke who gives us the picture of the early Church as a community of disciples sharing their property and distributing it to those in need.
Luke is the one who is most interested in social justice, and he portrays Jesus as a prophet on the Old Testament model. He took on the role of the servant prophet of Isaiah, who will proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind and freedom to the oppressed.
Luke is also most severe toward the wealthy. In general, the Bible sees wealth as spiritually dangerous if it causes us to harden our hearts and dominate others or if it becomes a substitute for God.
So, Christians must respond to the needs of others by bearing their burdens so as to fulfill the law of Christ.
Dynamic Catholicism: A Historical Catechism Bokenkotter, Thomas.
ECONOMIC STRUCTURAL DISORDER
There are profound problems with our economic system – a structural disorder of the system itself. We need a critical analysis of the essential dignity of human labor and its priority over the maximization of profits—not just through handouts. Cosmetic changes are not enough.
We need to look at the humanizing role of labor and the equitable distribution of the world’s goods. We need to look at the full value and meaning of work.
We have an economy that continues to serve the needs of the rich nations at the expense of the poor. This is not to be considered an antagonism toward the rich, but the defense of the defenseless: the uneducated, the native poor and the immigrant poor who have no voice to speak for themselves.
Do we run a risk that some of the economically oppressed nations of the world will rise in judgment on the rich nations?