Catholic teaching on societal roles


#1

Let me give you an example -

Jane is loving, kind, and loves working with children. She is intelligent and witty and feels like God has given her the ability to connect with children on an emotional level and spiritual level. And given that she is intelligent and feels like she would be serving God by using these multiple attributes in a teaching position at the local elementary school.

What is wrong with this? If she spends the rest of her life in the service of the community BECAUSE SHE WANTS TO and FEELS GOD URGING HER in this endeavor - who are you and I to say that she should naturally strive to be a principal - superintendent or anything else?

An argument was made that everyone should live up to their God-given potential and that said people should strive upwards in society in all cases. In other words - a carpenter should not be content with his job as a carpenter - he must strive to own his own company and not work for others. Or a teacher should naturally not stay a teacher even if she loves it and it is beneficial to society. And this philosophy is based supposedly on Catholic teaching and anything else is a “waste” of their God-given talents (whatever that may be).

So, what is the actual teaching of the Catholic Church on the role of people in society? And hopefully we can stick to either Bible and/or Traditional teachings that make this explicit for us.

I appreciate your comments and God bless…


#2

Is Jane a real person?http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon12.gif


#3

[quote=vern humphrey]Is Jane a real person?http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon12.gif
[/quote]

Would it matter? What does that matter? You know, if you keep winking at me…my wife might become jealous - :wink: (it’s a joke - okay? don’t get mad at me!)


#4

… this philosophy is based supposedly on Catholic teaching

I’m not familiar with this supposed Catholic teaching. Certainly, we are not free to do as we please apart from God’s will for us. Jonah tried that, and it didn’t work out so well.

If it is God’s will that we remain a simple carpenter, then “moving up” in this profession is contrary to His will. We are to follow the actual grace of God in all things, to the best of our understanding, and in accord with obedience to our superiors (cf. Heb 13:17).


#5

[quote=ahimsaman72]Would it matter? What does that matter?
[/quote]

I worked a long time at performance and tactical analysis. There is a very good rule – always use a real-world example if one exists.

The reason is simple – if you use a made-up example or scenario, you have no way of validating it. And the temptation to tweak it to conform to a pre-determined outcome is almost irresistable.

So let’s find a real Jane, not a made-up one, and bind ourselves by her real-world situation.

[quote=ahimsaman72]You know, if you keep winking at me…my wife might become jealous - :wink: (it’s a joke - okay? don’t get mad at me!)
[/quote]

Well, I wouldn’t want to be an occasion of sin to your wife.http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon10.gif


#6

[quote=vern humphrey]I worked a long time at performance and tactical analysis. There is a very good rule – always use a real-world example if one exists.

The reason is simple – if you use a made-up example or scenario, you have no way of validating it. And the temptation to tweak it to conform to a pre-determined outcome is almost irresistable.

So let’s find a real Jane, not a made-up one, and bind ourselves by her real-world situation.

[/quote]

If we must - then I will replace fictional Jane with my sister - how’s that? We have no way of validating God exists empirically either, but we don’t find the idea of “God” useless do we?

Well, I wouldn’t want to be an occasion of sin to your wife.http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon10.gif

Of course not :smiley:


#7

[quote=itsjustdave1988]I’m not familiar with this supposed Catholic teaching. Certainly, we are not free to do as we please apart from God’s will for us. Jonah tried that, and it didn’t work out so well.

If it is God’s will that we remain a simple carpenter, then “moving up” in this profession is contrary to His will. We are to follow the actual grace of God in all things, to the best of our understanding, and in accord with obedience to our superiors (cf. Heb 13:17).
[/quote]

How do you know it’s God’s will?

Is it God’s will that everyone keep the first job they get in life, and never try to better themselves?

Saying “It’s God’s will” in circumstances like this is more Muslim than Catholic.


#8

[quote=ahimsaman72]If we must - then I will replace fictional Jane with my sister - how’s that? We have no way of validating God exists empirically either, but we don’t find the idea of “God” useless do we?

[/quote]

Are we debating the existance of God now?

I though we were debating the issue of people maximizing the gifts that God gave them, so as to benefit society as a whole.


#9

An argument was made that everyone should live up to their God-given potential and that said people should strive upwards in society in all cases.

Could you explain why it necessaryly follows that ‘living up to …God given potential’ requires one to strive upwards in Society.

Examine the lives of St. Therese of Liseaux and St. Frances of Assisi. Were they upwardly mobile?

If God calls a person to be a carpenter, the person should strive to be the best carpenter they can be. It does not follow that they should strive to own their own company, as their ‘God given potential’ is not necessaryily towards business, but carpentry.

The same is true for Teaching. If God gives the gift of teaching to a person, does it follow that He gives the gift of Administration as well?


#10

[quote=Brendan]Could you explain why it necessaryly follows that ‘living up to …God given potential’ requires one to strive upwards in Society.
[/quote]

First of all, God has given you gifts – to ignore them would be wrong.

Secondly, by working to potential, you benefit society as a whole.

[quote=Brendan]Examine the lives of St. Therese of Liseaux and St. Frances of Assisi. Were they upwardly mobile?
[/quote]

Of course. They were saints.

[quote=Brendan]If God calls a person to be a carpenter, the person should strive to be the best carpenter they can be.
[/quote]

And should forget any ideas about rising above that station? A person employed at manual labor should remain static all his life and look for nothing better.

[quote=Brendan]It does not follow that they should strive to own their own company, as their ‘God given potential’ is not necessaryily towards business, but carpentry.
[/quote]

And you know that, how?

How many building contractors do you know who did not start out by learning the business from the ground up?

[quote=Brendan]The same is true for Teaching. If God gives the gift of teaching to a person, does it follow that He gives the gift of Administration as well?
[/quote]

Until you can show that He does NOT give them the gift of administration, I suggest we must assume He does.

After all, would you put that carpenater in charge of the school?http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon12.gif


#11

[quote=vern humphrey]Are we debating the existance of God now?

I though we were debating the issue of people maximizing the gifts that God gave them, so as to benefit society as a whole.
[/quote]

:smiley: No, just a simple comparison -


#12

[quote=itsjustdave1988]I’m not familiar with this supposed Catholic teaching. Certainly, we are not free to do as we please apart from God’s will for us. Jonah tried that, and it didn’t work out so well.

If it is God’s will that we remain a simple carpenter, then “moving up” in this profession is contrary to His will. We are to follow the actual grace of God in all things, to the best of our understanding, and in accord with obedience to our superiors (cf. Heb 13:17).
[/quote]

That’s what I thought - I didn’t see any command in the Bible or know of any Catholic teaching but this kind of notion came from a Catholic on a thread that was about “wealth and Catholics”.


#13

[quote=vern humphrey]I worked a long time at performance and tactical analysis. There is a very good rule – always use a real-world example if one exists.

The reason is simple – if you use a made-up example or scenario, you have no way of validating it. And the temptation to tweak it to conform to a pre-determined outcome is almost irresistable.

So let’s find a real Jane, not a made-up one, and bind ourselves by her real-world situation.

Well, I wouldn’t want to be an occasion of sin to your wife.http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon10.gif
[/quote]

Now, I’ve given you the real world example, can you tell me what your response is now? What does your Catholic faith teach you? Here is one of the questions I posed in the first post:

What is wrong with this? If she spends the rest of her life in the service of the community BECAUSE SHE WANTS TO and FEELS GOD URGING HER in this endeavor - who are you and I to say that she should naturally strive to be a principal - superintendent or anything else?

Can you respond to this question?


#14

[quote=ahimsaman72] No, just a simple comparison -
[/quote]

A comparison to what? And how does it apply to this question?


#15

From “The Furrow” by St. Josemaria:

“Before God, no occupation is in itself great or small. Everything gains the value of the Love with which it is done.”


#16

[quote=Brendan]Could you explain why it necessaryly follows that ‘living up to …God given potential’ requires one to strive upwards in Society.

Examine the lives of St. Therese of Liseaux and St. Frances of Assisi. Were they upwardly mobile?

If God calls a person to be a carpenter, the person should strive to be the best carpenter they can be. It does not follow that they should strive to own their own company, as their ‘God given potential’ is not necessaryily towards business, but carpentry.

The same is true for Teaching. If God gives the gift of teaching to a person, does it follow that He gives the gift of Administration as well?
[/quote]

I agree. Listen, I’ve got a family background of blue-collar workers - skilled, but still blue-collar. My grandfather was a carpenter, my father an electrician and my sister is a public school teacher. They each have loved their jobs and felt called to perform these valuable roles in society. I relished their zeal and love of their professions.

So many people in life are dissatisfied with their jobs for various reasons. To find a job you love and work hard at it and excel at it seems to make people happy and is also beneficial for society. I wouldn’t want my family members striving to be something they don’t feel compelled or called to do.

If my dad were forced to give up his profession and become an accountant he would 1) be unsatisfied and 2) would not be a very good one :smiley: and I follow up with the fact that I wouldn’t be a good one either :smiley: .

This is what I refer to as contentment - not laziness - contentment with the personal decision to follow a certain vocation.

The opposite philosophy is one based on endless striving to be what society tells you you should be - regardless of your personal happiness.

That’s my understanding anyway - whether it is agreeable or disagreeable it is my opinion (and everyone has one:) )

Peace…


#17

[quote=vern humphrey]A comparison to what? And how does it apply to this question?
[/quote]

:cool: you missed it so don’t worry about it. Let’s get back on topic, shall we?

Peace…


#18

[quote=lifeisbeautiful]From “The Furrow” by St. Josemaria:

“Before God, no occupation is in itself great or small. Everything gains the value of the Love with which it is done.”
[/quote]

And do you interpret that to mean, “Every person must remain locked in his occupation and not strive to improve his lot, nor that of his family or society as whole?”


#19

Also from “The Furrow”

“Of Jesus’ thirty-three years, thirty were spent in silence and obscurity, submission and work”

St. Josemaria


#20

[quote=vern humphrey]And do you interpret that to mean, “Every person must remain locked in his occupation and not strive to improve his lot, nor that of his family or society as whole?”
[/quote]

You are questioning the statement of a saint? Are you really supposed to do that? I love the quote and I’m a protestant!

Sorry for the big letters! :slight_smile: I just couldn’t resist - I don’t really protest that much - just a little - I’m a work of God in progress so please forgive me -


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