Last night, President Trump gave his State of the Union address. I thought it only appropriate to follow up with a blog on the State of Catholic Social Justice issues that the Church of Jesus teaches and people of God care about and bear witness to. Social Justice teaching calls on us the “people of God” to minister to our neighbor’s needs, to speak out against injustice, and to work for peace.
“If a brother or sister is in need of food or shelter and you say to them I wish you well, good luck, keep yourself warm and eat plenty without giving them the necessities of life, how is your faith going to save you or your hungry neighbor. Faith without works is dead” James 2:14-17
THE RIGHT TO LIFE IS THE FUNDAMENTAL SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUE
The fundamental human right is right to life—from the moment of conception until death. It is the source of all other rights…Those who defend the right to life of the weakest among us must be equally visible in support of the quality of life of the powerless among us: the old and the young, the hungry and the homeless, the undocumented immigrant and the unemployed worker…When human life is considered easily expendable or dismissed in one area, eventually no human life is held sacred and all lives are in jeopardy.
I grant you that President Trump has done more than most politicians who claim to be pro life. I know, like me, you have been disappointed in supporting a candidate in the past who says he/she is pro life and has done nothing to further the cause and in fact cooperates in the culture of death with their support of Planned Parenthood the greatest supporter of abortion on demand.
President Trump has supported the cause of those who are anti abortion in so far as he has appointed a conservative Supreme Court Judge, supports overturning Roe V Wade, supports the defunding of Planned parenthood, and supports limits to late term abortions.
I had my concerns about President Trump who claimed to be Pro Life in his campaign because of past statements of President Trump. In October 1999 he told Tim Russert, Meet the Press, I’m very pro-choice. I hate the concept of abortion… I am strongly for choice and, yet, I hate the concept of abortion. Then in 2011 when considering a run for President, Trump told the Des Moines Register, “abortion should only be legal in the very rare cases when a woman is pregnant by rape or incest or when the life of the mother is jeopardized by the pregnancy.”
For Mr. Trump, it was a late term “conversion;” but of course conversion is welcome any time. Still, President Trump continues to demean and dismiss people who are not like him. He seems to think he decides on which human life is worthy or not.
Trump spent his whole life prior to presidency creating a culture that encourages irresponsible and recreational sex which supports the culture of abortion He has profited off the exploitation of women and brags about his own sexual assault in the Access Hollywood tape. Trump is accused by at least 19 women of sexual assault.
The reason I bring this to your attention is to caution the Pro Life movement not to wrap their arms too closely around President Trump. President Trump should be given credit where credit is due but do not elevate him to Pro Life spokesperson or Pro Life advocate in chief…..a bridge too far
The late Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago said Pro Life was a “seamless garment” and includes more than abortion and should also cover the already born.
HOW IS PRESIDENT TRUMP DOING IN REGARDS SOCIAL JUSTIC FOR THE ALREADY BORN
A few of the Social Justice issues prioritized by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops are: Immigration Refugees; Civil Rights; Racism; ; Affordable Health Care; Affordable Housing; Living Wage for Work, Criminal Reform; Death Penalty; Stewardship of Creation; Promotion of Peace….
You can look up President Trump positions but many are already well known. I will comment on a few. Trump favors deportation, separating families, and limiting immigration; Trump makes racist statements and was sued in the 70’s for racial discrimination in Trump housing, renting to whites not blacks; Trump led the fight to repeal Affordable Health Care Act and has replaced it with nothing; Trump supports states setting minimum wage without any Federal Minimum wage change as bottom line.
In Central Park 5 when 5 black teenagers were exhonerated by DNA evidence Trump called for restoration of Death Penalty in New York and to execute the Central Park 5; (Stewardship)Trump has withdrawn from Paris accords on global warming and opened Federal Lands to more mineral exploration and exploitation. Trump has repealed regulations that protect our health and safety Trump supports “clean coal”, an oxymoron. Promotion of Peace Trump renewed the continued use of Guantanomo, a symbol of torture and indefinite detentions throughout the world; Trump likes to rattle sabres, has threatened preemptive strikes on our adversaries and even nuclear annihilation of total country. Trump in violation of Nuclear Treaty signed by President Reagan and Russia wants to up our nuclear missile capability. (some peacemaker)
Social Justice always has the common good at its core as found in Scriptures and in the teachings of the Catholic Church. Common Good is understood as the sum total of social conditions which allow people as groups or individuals to reach their ultimate fulfillment more fully and more easily.
What is a human being? What is his role in the world? Where is he headed? How does he get there? If a human being is not yet perfected, what will perfect him? How does he become whole without division or estrangement?
The fundamental principles of Catholic Social Teaching focus on the dignity and sacredness of each human life, the promotion of the common good and the proper use and distribution of the goods of this world. (CCC 1928-1942, 2419-2449)
Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC #1907) states that the Common Good requires the social well being and development of everyone, including food, clothing, shelter, health care, work, education etc. It requires peace and justice for security of a just order.
CCC #1936 On coming into this world, a person is not equipped with everything he/she needs for developing their bodily and spiritual life. They need others. Talents and gifts are not distributed equally.
CCC #1937 These differences belong to God’s divine plan which wills that each receives what he needs from others and those endowed with particular talents share them with those who need them. These differences encourage and sometimes oblige persons to practice generosity, kindness, and sharing of goods.
As a practicing Catholic, we must not be assimilated into a society that promotes the “culture of death” and worship pagan idols of sex, wealth, and power. But rather be “leaven” for the world.
We must minister to others especially those in need. Our blessings are not just for ourselves but to share with the Body of Christ. There is one Body but many members. All our talents and treasure must be compassionately shared with our neighbors just as Jesus did moving from village to village to teach and heal. We must pick up where Jesus left off in building the kingdom of God.
“WHATEVER YOU DO TO THE LEAST OF MY BRETHREN,
YOU DO TO ME”
Matthew 25:31 Last Judgment Discourse
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