Why is Social Justice Less Important Than...


#1

It seems there is a lot of conversation about individual moral issues like gay marriage, contraception, etc, especially after the recent election. Although I am not Catholic, I am Christian and when I vote, debate, take political action, I base my action first and foremost on a concern for social justice, i.e. preventing/ending/mitigating human suffering and restoring human diginity. Jesus said that the greatest commandments were essentially, 1) love God and 2) love other people, and he commited himself to feeding hungry people and communing with the outcast: prostitutes, tax collectors, the diseased, and the poor. My actions have to reflect that agenda.

For example, there was no way I could vote for an administration that presided over the war in Iraq, the abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanemo Bay, and the gutting of numerous social programs that help struggling people stay afloat in this country. For me, these things far outweigh the administration’s firm stance against gay marriage, stem cell research, and even lip-service opposition to abortion.

What do you think?


#2

Your question has been answered so many times on so many threads here that I can’t count them all. God’s commandment must be properly understood. For too long our modern society has decided His commandment is really just another form of secular social work. Authentic love is wishing and helping our neighbor reach eternal salvation. The Church was founded to save souls. The issues like “gay marriage” or the war are very different. Homosexual conduct is a grave evil that currently is helping to destroy the moral fabric of our civilization. It is always wrong and will always be wrong. Our children are starting to be so influenced by the gay propagandists that it is becoming impossible to live a normal, healthy life.

The war can be debated. It is not always wrong. Both sides make good points, but it is not as bad as abortion, or sodomy, or destroying babies for research.


#3

I see nothing in the Beatitudes that addresses the issue of homosexual marriage.

I think Jesus had a lot more to say about feeding the hungry and visiting the imprisoned than he did about blasting people for what or whom they do in the privacy of their own bedro…er, fraternal correction.

I see very few politicians, very few churches, and very few people who have a true commitment to the values expressed in the Beatitudes.

There is much more interest in fraternal correction because it is much, much easier to condemn than to do anything or to get your hands dirty helping the destitute, insane, imprisoned, or repulsive. “Least of my bretheren” and all that, but most of us get off the train at the stop where you tell people exactly how they’re screwing up their lives, and we never get back on.

Myself included. I could do better.


#4

[quote=fix]God’s commandment must be properly understood. For too long our modern society has decided His commandment is really just another form of secular social work. Authentic love is wishing and helping our neighbor reach eternal salvation.
[/quote]

I’m pretty sure that Jesus told a story about a Samaritan and some Levite or priest or something or other who passed on the other side of the road. Do you really think that the Jesus who spat on the ground in disgust when the religious leaders were going to stone a woman for adultery and who spoke the Beatitudes really wants us to ignore poverty, hunger, suffering and focus exclusively on saving souls. I’m sure that millions of starving and suffering children will thank you for your prayers.

[quote=fix]The war can be debated. It is not always wrong. Both sides make good points, but it is not as bad as abortion, or sodomy, or destroying babies for research.
[/quote]

Interesting. I’m pretty sure that the Catholic leadership, up to and including the Pope, has come out in fairly universal condemnation of the war. Why can the war be debated and not these other things?


#5

[quote=Penny Plain]I see nothing in the Beatitudes that addresses the issue of homosexual marriage.

I think Jesus had a lot more to say about feeding the hungry and visiting the imprisoned than he did about blasting people for what or whom they do in the privacy of their own bedro…er, fraternal correction.

I see very few politicians, very few churches, and very few people who have a true commitment to the values expressed in the Beatitudes.

There is much more interest in fraternal correction because it is much, much easier to condemn than to do anything or to get your hands dirty helping the destitute, insane, imprisoned, or repulsive. “Least of my bretheren” and all that, but most of us get off the train at the stop where you tell people exactly how they’re screwing up their lives, and we never get back on.

Myself included. I could do better.
[/quote]

You hit the nail on the head!!


#6

[quote=Penny Plain]I see nothing in the Beatitudes that addresses the issue of homosexual marriage.

I think Jesus had a lot more to say about feeding the hungry and visiting the imprisoned than he did about blasting people for what or whom they do in the privacy of their own bedro…er, fraternal correction.

I see very few politicians, very few churches, and very few people who have a true commitment to the values expressed in the Beatitudes.

There is much more interest in fraternal correction because it is much, much easier to condemn than to do anything or to get your hands dirty helping the destitute, insane, imprisoned, or repulsive. “Least of my bretheren” and all that, but most of us get off the train at the stop where you tell people exactly how they’re screwing up their lives, and we never get back on.

Myself included. I could do better.
[/quote]

The Catholic Church’s record on help to the poor is unmatched and a shining example to the rest of the world.

Social justice in NOT less important than (in this case) teachings on sexuality and marriage. However, many issues regarding social justice are matters of prudence, whereas homosexual acts are inherently evil.

So it is very much strict doctrine that we help the less fortunate and oppressed. How we help them is mostly discretionary and debateable. That sexual acts are reserved to male-to-female relationships in the sacrament of marriage is doctrine. Sexual acts outside of the sacrament are not discretionary and debateable, they are evil. The facts simply do not support the idea that the Church cares more about sex than social justice.

Scott


#7

I am sorry Senator Kerry, I didn’t see you come in. I would have ensured that you were greeted with a proper reception. Please accept our humblest apologies.

[quote=twocinc]It seems there is a lot of conversation about individual moral issues like gay marriage, contraception, etc, especially after the recent election. Although I am not Catholic, I am Christian and when I vote, debate, take political action, I base my action first and foremost on a concern for social justice, i.e. preventing/ending/mitigating human suffering and restoring human diginity. Jesus said that the greatest commandments were essentially, 1) love God and 2) love other people, and he commited himself to feeding hungry people and communing with the outcast: prostitutes, tax collectors, the diseased, and the poor. My actions have to reflect that agenda.

For example, there was no way I could vote for an administration that presided over the war in Iraq, the abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanemo Bay, and the gutting of numerous social programs that help struggling people stay afloat in this country. For me, these things far outweigh the administration’s firm stance against gay marriage, stem cell research, and even lip-service opposition to abortion.

What do you think?
[/quote]


#8

[quote=Penny Plain]I see nothing in the Beatitudes that addresses the issue of homosexual marriage.

I think Jesus had a lot more to say about feeding the hungry and visiting the imprisoned than he did about blasting people for what or whom they do in the privacy of their own bedro…er, fraternal correction.

I see very few politicians, very few churches, and very few people who have a true commitment to the values expressed in the Beatitudes.

There is much more interest in fraternal correction because it is much, much easier to condemn than to do anything or to get your hands dirty helping the destitute, insane, imprisoned, or repulsive. “Least of my bretheren” and all that, but most of us get off the train at the stop where you tell people exactly how they’re screwing up their lives, and we never get back on.

Myself included. I could do better.
[/quote]

Fortunately, Christ founded one Church, not a book. Catholics do not accept Sola Scriptura. We have a living magisterium that teaches infallibly on matters of faith and morals.

You interpretation of one part of the Gospel does not mean we must overlook every attempt to hijack our civilization and just “focus” on your private interpretation of how you think we should help our neighbor.

Catholics all accept we must perform works of mercy. Catholics, also, accept we must teach the moral law and obey the moral law. The moral law and good works do not compete with each other. It is a case of both/and, not or/which.


#9

[quote=fix]Your question has been answered so many times on so many threads here that I can’t count them all. God’s commandment must be properly understood. For too long our modern society has decided His commandment is really just another form of secular social work. Authentic love is wishing and helping our neighbor reach eternal salvation. The Church was founded to save souls. The issues like “gay marriage” or the war are very different. Homosexual conduct is a grave evil that currently is helping to destroy the moral fabric of our civilization. It is always wrong and will always be wrong. Our children are starting to be so influenced by the gay propagandists that it is becoming impossible to live a normal, healthy life.

The war can be debated. It is not always wrong. Both sides make good points, but it is not as bad as abortion, or sodomy, or destroying babies for research.
[/quote]

Correct. One term used is “tough love.” Jesus said that love required keeping the commandments.


#10

[quote=twocinc]I’m pretty sure that Jesus told a story about a Samaritan and some Levite or priest or something or other who passed on the other side of the road.
[/quote]

Yes, and if the Samaritan came by while the beating was going on, would he wait and watch, or intervene and help?

Do you really think that the Jesus who spat on the ground in disgust when the religious leaders were going to stone a woman for adultery and who spoke the Beatitudes really wants us to ignore poverty, hunger, suffering and focus exclusively on saving souls. I’m sure that millions of starving and suffering children will thank you for your prayers.

I know Christ founded the Church to save souls. That is not in question. Does He want us to not help folks, uhm no, but why do you make the situation so polarized? Can’t we help starving kids and teach folks to stop murdering their souls?

Interesting. I’m pretty sure that the Catholic leadership, up to and including the Pope, has come out in fairly universal condemnation of the war. Why can the war be debated and not these other things?

Really, can you show me a Vatican document that claims the war is unjust and binding on Catholic conscience’s not to particiapte in the war? I will not hold my breath.


#11

[quote=twocinc] I base my action first and foremost on a concern for social justice, i.e. preventing/ending/mitigating human suffering and restoring human diginity. QUOTE]

My problem is what does “social justice” mean in practical action? The term and your explication of it seem so vague. In practical terms it seems to always mean “demand that the government to pay for more entitlements by raising everyone’s taxes.” I have no problem with the tax part, but the government programs don’t work. Look at all the housing projects that were built and torn down since WWII. It was a horrendous waste of money and decimated good old neighborhoods to replace them with Soviet-style apartment blocks that threw people together willy-nilly and provided a breeding ground for crime.

OK we have social security and Medicare already, and they work, sorta. Is the point to extend these entitlements to everyone??

Feed the poor? My church feeds the poor now. We have a wonderful homeless shelter that provides 3 meals a day, no questions asked. There are so many volunteers from the parishes here that it’s hard to get on for a shift in the kitchen without being utterly superfluous and getting in everyone’s way! And donations come in from all over town. And the people who come there to eat already have dignity. No one had to “restore” it for them.

Maybe if someone could formulate what is really meant by “social justice” we could all get more worked up about it.
[/quote]


#12

[quote=Brad]Correct. One term used is “tough love.” Jesus said that love required keeping the commandments.
[/quote]

The left wing only likes to quote certain parts of the bible. The hard parts are glossed over. One story that comes to mind is of the young man who came to Christ and said Lord what must I do to inherit eternal life. Christ said keep the commandments. The man said he had kept them since he was a child. Christ looked on him and loved him.

Christ spoke about hell often. Yet hell is almost never mentioned by the left today. It is as if they think Christ was only joking.


#13

[quote=twocinc]It seems there is a lot of conversation about individual moral issues like gay marriage, contraception, etc, especially after the recent election. Although I am not Catholic, I am Christian and when I vote, debate, take political action, I base my action first and foremost on a concern for social justice, i.e. preventing/ending/mitigating human suffering and restoring human diginity… For me, these things far outweigh the administration’s firm stance against gay marriage, stem cell research, and even lip-service opposition to abortion.

What do you think?
[/quote]

You say that their has been a lot of talk about individual moral issues? You’re right! But you fail to understand that these “individual moral issues” collectively directs the level of social justice we have in our society. You want to restore social justice? Start protesting in front of abortion clinics!!! Start voicing your opinion against same sex marriage!!! That will help restore social justice!!


#14

[quote=Penny Plain]I see nothing in the Beatitudes that addresses the issue of homosexual marriage.

I think Jesus had a lot more to say about feeding the hungry and visiting the imprisoned than he did about blasting people for what or whom they do in the privacy of their own bedro…er, fraternal correction.

I see very few politicians, very few churches, and very few people who have a true commitment to the values expressed in the Beatitudes.

There is much more interest in fraternal correction because it is much, much easier to condemn than to do anything or to get your hands dirty helping the destitute, insane, imprisoned, or repulsive. “Least of my bretheren” and all that, but most of us get off the train at the stop where you tell people exactly how they’re screwing up their lives, and we never get back on.

Myself included. I could do better.
[/quote]

You must have a unique Church. I see many Catholic parishes around me that feed the poor, visit the sick, provide clothing to the naked, visit the imprisoned etc. I see very few around me that teach the moral law and the importance of adhering to the moral law as it is the breakdown of morals that often puts people in bad situations and keeps them there - possibly for all of eternity.

In any event, there is nothing wrong with doing both - the social goods and the moral goods. However, if I truly love my brother (or sister), then I am more interested in their eternal salvation than I am their physical welfare. None of us are immortal. We live for a blink of an eye on this earth and Jesus never said we could avoid suffering - look what happened to Him. Eternity, however, is a long time - to care that your neighbor lives in eternal bliss with God versus eternal damnation in hell is demonstrative of love - especially when it comes at the risk of severe opposition to the Gospel.


#15

Where do you get the idea that conservatives are not interested in helping the poor.

My father and sister are voluteer physicians at at inner city free clinic run by a Catholic parish. Guess what, the staff there voted for Bush.

I teach computer skills to laid off people as part of a program by the Archdiocese of Detroit. Guess what, the staff there all voted for Bush.

Why??

Well 2 reasons,

First was abortion. As John Paul said, the Right to Life is the corner stone of every other Right. Without the right to Life, there can be no “Universal Health Care”, because it can’t be Universal while, at the same time, saying it doesn’t apply to a particular group of people (the unborn)

The same goes for food, clothing and shelter. You can’t say that everyone has a right to that, while at the same time saying everyone doesn’t have a right to live long enough to be clothed or fed.

The second reason is most of us have seen first hand the disastorous effect Government run programs have had the poor. A person is more than a body. They are body and soul. You can’t care for one without the other. You can’t preach to someone while denying them food and you CAN’T feed someone while denying them the Word of God.

My father and sister tell me horror stories about the prostitutes they’ve treated. The City Hosptial will gladly fill them up with birth control and anti-botics, but not teach them the value of themselves, how much God loves them, and how worthwhile they are in God’s eyes.

The City treats the person and lets the soul die. Is that what God wants?! Is that what Christ preached??

I see the same thing with the people I instruct. The State gives them a welfare check, but it doesn’t give them a life.

Most Catholic Conservatives, myself included, believe wholeheartily that the hungry should be fed, and the naked clothed. Christ Himself commanded us.

He did NOT command us to push that responsibility onto others to do for us, especially a government that cannot spread his Gospel that is so necessary for the salvation of their souls. And their soul is what God really and truely wants.

I really and honestly cannot see why someone who believes in God and truely cares for His poor, would put them in the nands of a secular Government instead of in the hands of his Church.

Who would NOT want to see an end to abortion, because only in it’s end can we have real Social Justice.

Who would not want to see more Faith Based Charity, because it’s only through Faith and God’s Grace that many of the problems the indigent have can be overcome.

I’m conservative BECAUSE I Care!!!


#16

[quote=twocinc]It seems there is a lot of conversation about individual moral issues like gay marriage, contraception, etc, especially after the recent election. Although I am not Catholic, I am Christian and when I vote, debate, take political action, I base my action first and foremost on a concern for social justice, i.e. preventing/ending/mitigating human suffering and restoring human diginity. Jesus said that the greatest commandments were essentially, 1) love God and 2) love other people, and he commited himself to feeding hungry people and communing with the outcast: prostitutes, tax collectors, the diseased, and the poor. My actions have to reflect that agenda.

For example, there was no way I could vote for an administration that presided over the war in Iraq, the abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanemo Bay, and the gutting of numerous social programs that help struggling people stay afloat in this country. For me, these things far outweigh the administration’s firm stance against gay marriage, stem cell research, and even lip-service opposition to abortion.

What do you think?
[/quote]

What I think is that UNTIL we reverse the culture of death in this society, until we quit dehumanizing “the least of these” it will be hard to humanize the poor, the hungry, the sick and the prisoner. I believe in a consistent approach to human life and I think the “cafeteria approach” of what I’d term as the secular leftists or social (they call it) justice advocates totally devalues their argument. They have chosen those that they believe worthy of supporting whether it be homosexuals or prisoners or unwed mothers. They want to take the tax dollars to feed THEIR pet projects. Yet the recoil in horror at the idea of stopping abortion or stem cell research. Until I hear a CONSISTENT argument that covers all human life and protection thereof, I am not going to be swayed by demands that I support their sacred cows.

So twocinc, do you think babies that are aborted suffer? Do you think there is any connection between our dismissal of human life in the womb and our seeming lack of sympathy for the prisoners in Guantanamo? I have a HECKUVA lot more sympathy for an unborn baby than a would be terrorist. But who is the left trying to help?

I am not trying to sound like a one trick pony here. I am truly suggesting that our society picks and chooses and our differences are not so much a difference in kindness and compassion but a difference of who or what is worthy of same.

Lisa N


#17

[quote=fix]The left wing only likes to quote certain parts of the bible. The hard parts are glossed over. One story that comes to mind is of the young man who came to Christ and said Lord what must I do to inherit eternal life. Christ said keep the commandments. The man said he had kept them since he was a child. Christ looked on him and loved him.

Christ spoke about hell often. Yet hell is almost never mentioned by the left today. It is as if they think Christ was only joking.
[/quote]

I don’t think he was - He’d have to be some sick person to joke of such things.

“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt. 7:13–14).


#18

[quote=fix] Really, can you show me a Vatican document that claims the war is unjust and binding on Catholic conscience’s not to particiapte in the war? I will not hold my breath.
[/quote]

Here are a couple:

vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/2003/january/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20030113_diplomatic-corps_en.html

(In that one JPII says, “NO to WAR!” Sounds pretty unequivocal to me.)

and

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a5.htm#2309

(That one’s the catechism.)

Enjoy


#19

[quote=twocinc]Here are a couple:

vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/2003/january/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20030113_diplomatic-corps_en.html

(In that one JPII says, “NO to WAR!” Sounds pretty unequivocal to me.)

and

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a5.htm#2309

(That one’s the catechism.)

Enjoy
[/quote]

Huh? Niether site proves your position. The CCC says the head of state decides when to go to war. The Pope may have a prudential judgement about the war, but he has not bound anyone’s conscience and has not declared it unjust.


#20

[quote=Lisa N] I am truly suggesting that our society picks and chooses and our differences are not so much a difference in kindness and compassion but a difference of who or what is worthy of same.
[/quote]

Ah. Thanks, this actually helps me understand. This is what I was looking for. Now I’m wondering where Christ made these distinctions about worth.

-Matt


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.