in Pennsylvania's First Congressional District's_1st_congressional_district
and the Central Garden State

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Conclusion, For a Civilization of Love

As per the Conclusion of the Vatican's Compendium of Social Doctrine, For a Civilization of Love,
    “The Church's social teaching is the indispensable reference point that determines the nature, modality, articulation and development of pastoral activity in the social field....

    “In proclaiming the Gospel, the social dimension is an essential and unavoidable but not the only dimension. It is a dimension that must reveal the unlimited possibilities of Christian salvation, even if it is not possible in time to conform social realities perfectly and definitively to the Gospel....Above all, the pastoral activity of the Church in the social sector must bear witness to the truth of the human person....

    “ The Church's social doctrine must be the basis of an intense and constant work of formation, especially of the lay faithful. Such a formation should take into account their obligations in civil society. 'It belongs to the layman, without waiting passively for orders and directives, to take the initiative freely and to infuse a Christian spirit into the mentality, customs, laws and structures of the community in which they live'[Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 81: AAS 59 (1967), 296-297.]....

    "The Church's social doctrine is a privileged instrument of dialogue between Christian communities and the civil and political community….The social teaching of the Church is also fertile soil for dialogue and collaboration in the ecumenical sphere….This is already happening in various places on a broad scale concerning
    • the defence of the dignity of the human person,
    • the promotion of peace,
    • the concrete and effective struggle against the miseries of today's world, such as hunger and poverty, illiteracy, the unequal distribution of the goods of the earth and the lack of housing….

    “In the common tradition of the Old Testament, the Catholic Church is able to engage in dialogue with her Jewish brothers and sisters, which she does also through her social doctrine....The Church's social doctrine is also characterized by a constant call to dialogue among all members of the world's religions....

    “Promoting human dignity implies above all affirming the inviolability of the right to life, from conception to natural death, the first among all rights and the condition for all other rights of the person[Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum Vitae, (22 February 1987): AAS 80 (1988), 70-102.]….

    "Respect for personal dignity requires, moreover, that the religious dimension of the person be recognized.....

    “In the present cultural context, there is a particularly urgent need to defend marriage and the family, which can be adequately met only if one is convinced of the unique and singular value of these two realities for an authentic development of human society[Cf. John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 42-48: AAS 74 (1982), 134-140.]….
    “Fostering a social and political culture inspired by the Gospel must be an area of particular importance for the lay faithful....An urgent priority today is also found in the need to present… in culturally up-to-date terms....

    “The social and political involvement of the lay faithful in the area of culture moves today in specific directions.
    • The first is that of seeking to guarantee the right of each person to a human and civil culture….
    • The second…concerns the content of culture, that is, truth....The Christian commitment in the field of culture is opposed to all reductionistic and ideological perspectives of man and life....

    “Christians must work so that the full value of the religious dimension of culture is seen....When the religious dimension of the person or of a people is denied, culture itself starts to die off, sometimes disappearing completely….

    “In the promotion of an authentic culture, the laity will place great importance on mass media…. Professionals in the field of media are not the only people with ethical duties. Those who make use of the media also have obligations….

    “Faced with the complexity of today's economic context, the laity will be guided in their action by the principles of the social Magisterium….

    “Economists, those working in this field and political leaders must sense the urgency of rethinking the economy, considering, on the one hand, the dramatic material poverty of billions of people and, on the other, the fact that 'present economic, social and cultural structures are ill-equipped to meet the demands of genuine development' [John Paul II, Message for the 2000 World Day of Peace, 14: AAS 92 (2000), 366.]. The legitimate requirements of economic efficiency need to be better harmonized with…political participation and social justice….

    “The pursuit of the common good in a spirit of service, the development of justice with particular attention to situations of poverty and suffering, respect for the autonomy of earthly realities, the principle of subsidiarity, the promotion of dialogue and peace in the context of solidarity: these are the criteria that must inspire the Christian laity in their political activity. All believers, insofar as they possess rights and duties as citizens, are obligated to respect these guiding principles. Special attention must be paid to their observance by those who occupy institutional positions dealing with the complex problems of the public domain….

    “tasks accompanying responsibilities in social and political institutions demand a strict and articulated commitment that is able to demonstrate clearly the absolute necessity of the moral dimension in social and political life through thoughtful contributions to the political debate, planning and the chosen actions....

    “When — concerning areas or realities that involve fundamental ethical duties — legislative or political choices contrary to Christian principles and values are proposed or made, the Magisterium teaches that 'a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political programme or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals'[Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life (24 November 2002), 4: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City 2002, p. 9.]. In cases where it is not possible to avoid the implementation of such political programmes or to block or abrogate such laws, the Magisterium teaches that a parliamentary representative, whose personal absolute opposition to these programmes or laws is clear and known to all, may legitimately support proposals aimed at limiting the damage caused by such programmes or laws and at diminishing their negative effects on the level of culture and public morality. In this regard, a typical example of such a case would be a law permitting abortion[Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, 73: AAS 87 (1995), 486-487.]. The representative's vote, in any case, cannot be interpreted as support of an unjust law but only as a contribution to reducing the negative consequences of a legislative provision, the responsibility for which lies entirely with those who have brought it into being. Faced with the many situations involving fundamental and indispensable moral duties, it must be remembered that Christian witness is to be considered a fundamental obligation that can even lead to the sacrificing of one's life, to martyrdom in the name of love and human dignity [Cf. John Paul II, Post-Synodal Exhortation, Christifideles Laici, 39: AAS 81 (1989), 466-468.]....

    “Unfortunately, even in democratic societies, there still remain expressions of secular intolerance that are hostile to granting any kind of political or cultural relevance to religious faiths…. These attitudes even go so far, and radically so, as to deny the basis of a natural morality. This denial, which is the harbinger of a moral anarchy with the obvious consequence of the stronger prevailing over the weaker, cannot be accepted in any form by legitimate pluralism, since it undermines the very foundations of human society....

    “A particular area for discernment on the part of the lay faithful concerns the choice of political instruments, that is, membership in a party or in other types of political participation. A choice must be made that is consistent with values, taking into account actual circumstances....

    “the choice of a party, a political alliance, the persons to whom public life is to be entrusted, while involving the conscience of each person, can never be an exclusively individual choice.”

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