“ I the LORD love justice” (Isaiah 61.8) In Search of the Good ~ A Catholic Understanding of Moral Living ~ CHAPTER 13
For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “stand there,” or “sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? -Letter of James 2.2-5
Who is a Just Person? A just person is someone who relates to the needs of others and has the responsibility to accept the poor and sinful. Moses · - Moses was just because he carried out the burdens of others, endangered his own life so others would be free, and stood up for the voiceless and powerless Jesus · - His whole ministry was regarded to the poor, sick, and overburdened. · - Prayed to God to forgive others · -Very generous · -Accepted death to save the guilty · -Suffered for sinners even though he was sinless.
Different Types of Justice Justice is closely tied with our Catholic tradition. Jesus’ followers were sought to live justly even if there was chaos and corruption surrounding them. Three Types of Justice: 1) Commutative Justice: -Relationship of one individual to another individual. - Not personal - Are corporations such as associations, retail stores, sports clubs, law firms, religious communities, etc. - Important because of the nature of all agreements that should be based on trust, confidence, and respect
3) Distributive Justice - Relationship of society or the government of the individual - Deals with the unequal distribution and basic equality society must recognize. The Good of Citizenship Conditions of becoming a citizen, and the rights we enjoy of being a citizen. Goal of Economic Security and Public Assistance Programs that respond to the needs of those who need protection and help Economic Good Regulates money and merchandise, benefits of the economy (ex. banking) Good of Offices and Positions Distribution based on qualifications set by public procedures. No one be discriminated on basis of age, sex, religion, etc. 2) Legal Justice Relationship of the individual to the society or state - Also known as “contributive justice” - Concerned with individuals obedience of the law, if not obedient must accept the consequences - Participate in creating laws that benefit the good of society
The Catholic church has sought to live and act within different forms of government – voicing dissent whenever values are threatened
Catholic Church doesn’t identify with any one type of government - whether liberal democratic, communist, tribal or monarchical
History has seen many attempts to find a just method to govern people
With fall of communism and rise of theocratic fundamentalist governments in some Muslim countries, there exists no easy alternative to liberal democracy
Government systems in China (communist), Iraq (Tribal), as well as Africa and South America (where liberal democracy is new) all, in a way guided by, or influenced by the Catholic Church’s teachings on justice
Catholic Church brings the gospel perspective of justice to bear on all political or economic systems
The Church’s teachings offers several bases for re-thinking social questions in terms of justice
Many traditional societies accept common ownership of property
In modern developed societies this common ownership would probably lead to conflict
For quite some time in the western world, because of the emphasis placed on private property by the political theorists Hobbes and Locke, the emphasis was placed on the right to own property
Property and ownership of property came to be seen as an extension of owning a body
In today’s complex society the focus is not so much on private property but on material goods in general
The church’s position is best summarized saying “the right to private property is valid and necessary” - but it is not an absolute right
The earth first and foremost belongs to God and humans are stewards of his gift
All have, therefore, a God-given right to be sustained by the earth
Reality of famine elects all to responsibility – because “goods of this world are originally meant for all”
Private property has a social function justified “by the principle of the universal destiny of goods” – goods of creation meant to serve the needs of all
Issue of distribution of material goods is a global concern - There exists a pressing question with regards to the relationship between the economically advanced and the developing
Solidarity - Solidarity is unity with and among people, based on common interests, values and principles. -Most modern political theories have a common point of departure: the individual and his or her instincts and drives to posses him or her self and material goods -The individual’s bond to a larger social whole is based on a “social contract” which obliges each citizen to abide by the social arrangement -The social bond must be so constructed as to be in the individuals self-interest -Historically, the motivation for compliance has mostly been fear of death or fear of chaos -Catholic social teaching advocates another style of social relationship with a different point of departure: the common good – and individual goods ought to serve the common good -Solidarity is the virtue that binds us to one another in the distribution of wealth -This solidarity can be understood (in its widest sense) as a solidarity with God’s love of creation and a solidarity with those who are near to us (family, community, country) and those who are far away (all children of God)
-Finally it is seen as solidarity with the natural earth - with the earth’s ecosystems -Our understanding of solidarity with the poor has become more central - known as the “preferential option for the poor” - which must be understood as a commitment to the poor on account of God’s concern for the poor -‘Solidarity with the poor’ suggests that when we consider problems of the social order, our solutions must bear in mind the people who are poor and powerless -US Bishops proposed three priorities in economic decision making: - Fulfillment of the basic needs of the poor is the highest priority… - Increasing participation in economic life by those who are presently excluded or vulnerable - The investment of wealth, talent or human energy should be directed to those who are poor (the economically insecure)
Proportional Equality If before God we are all equal, should there not be equality in how we are rewarded for our work? Why do profession athletes make millions for what they do and the single mother waitress makes minimum wage? This kind of justice is Commutative Justice is described as blind – it makes no difference who I owe 50$ to – the fact is that it is still 50$ Distributive Justice is a type of justice whereby there is no arithmetic equality - it is proportional and asks – “What is a fair or just distribution of wealth or material goods?” Below are four criteria that have been used to measure the distribution of economic goods: (1) Need – It is a strict duty of justice and truth not to allow fundamental human needs to remain unsatisfied. - Every human being has the right to decent human living - The distribution of goods must provide at least a minimum standard of living - When number of food banks and homeless increase – questions need to be asked whether welfare subsidies have fallen too low: what can be done about employment and housing? - Support given to those who cant care for themselves, who are dependant upon assistance must be enough to take care of the fundamental human needs of food and shelter
(2) A Just Wage – Catholic teaching says ‘a just wage’ falls under Distributive Justice because work is personal and necessary - Each has a right to what is required to live and ultimately it is not the contract but the need that ought to determine the wage - A just wage is a wage that allows one to fulfill the basic needs of human life - The needs of one person are higher than another and there is a considerable difference between desires, capacities and powers of each worker - A just wage should permit each one to have his or her basic needs fulfilled (3) Effort and Skill Required – Unequal reward is also due to different levels of effort and skill needed to do work - In modern economy, wage levels are determined by: power of the union, the success of the firm, the scarcity or abundance of workers in a field, and the popularity of the product. (4) Productivity - In current economies, the higher the level of productivity = the higher salaries - At the individual level, the Brian Surgeon makes a greater contribution to the health of a patient than the attendant nurse and hence – rewards will differ
Catholic doctrine of the common good is incompatible with the unlimited free market à which insists that the distribution of wealth must occur entirely according to the dictates of market forces
This theory presupposes that the common good will take care of itself, being identified with the summation of vast numbers of individual consumer decisions in a fully competitive, entirely free market economy
Capitalist theory is the belief that in an entirely free economy, each citizen, through seeking his own gain will be lead by and invisible hand to promote an end which was not part of his intention, namely the prosperity of society
While this sometimes happen it is not a God-given natural law, and amounts to only economic superstition
Smith (founder of capitalist thought) also believed that by pursuing one’s own interest they promote the interests of society
Catholic Church rejects belief in automatic beneficence of market forces
Church insists that end result of market forces must be scrutinized and (if necessary) corrected in the name of natural law, social justice, human rights, and the common good.
Market forces, if left alone, are just as likely to lead to evil results as to good ones
Adam Smith assumed individual consumer choices would be governed by moral considerations
Governments redistribute wealth within society by means of taxes
Taxes allow the state to provide services for the common good – law enforcement, health care, education, transportation, infrastructure, foreign affairs, public safety, etc.
Citizens have an obligation and responsibility to pay for these public services and good through taxes
The only equitable way of regulating the tax burden is to have people pay progressively more according to their means
US Bishops – “The tax system should be structure according to the principle of progressively so those with relatively greater financial resources pay a higher rate of taxation… this would be an important means of reducing severe inequalities of income and wealth in the nation.”
Justice has been defined as giving each person his or her due. · In commutative justice, this means acting in agreement to contracts, further called blind justice because it applies equality to all. · Distributive justice works with a sense of equivalence that is proportional to needs. · This has become known as the ‘Golden Rule’ which is present in two readings from the New Testament. · Matthew 7.12: “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you.” · Luke 6.31: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” · The ‘Golden Rule’ is also present in many other religions in different ways.
“ What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour” –Judaism
“ Let no man do to another that which would be repugnant to himself” –Hinduism
· Though it seems as though the Golden Rule goes hand in hand with justice, Jesus means something more. · Jesus wants us to go beyond equivalence to a decidedly uneven equation; to love our enemies, lend and not expect anything in return… · With this comes grace · The Golden Rule is more than justice in that it calls us to act only out of love and generosity. · Furthermore, the law of justice combined with the law of ‘love’ would create a healthy equilibrium in the practice of justice.
· First editor of The Western Catholic Reporter, a former Member of Parliament from Edmonton, and chairman of the international organization of Parliamentarians for World Order, ambassador to the United Nations for peace and disarmament, served 9 years in the Senate. · He made a statement on the occasion of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001 that discussed ending violence. He commented that the perpetrators of such evil acts must be brought to justice, but must also be done in a way that does not compound violence. Revenge is unproductive.
· Founder and Director of Romero House for Refugees in Toronto, and author of AT the Border Called Hope and Radical Gratitude. · Leddy claims that we are too consumed with materialism and that we as a society always want more. Luxuries have become necessities in today’s world. Not having enough becomes “I’m not good enough”. · To conquer this we need gratitude. Gratitude for the most obvious and most miraculous fact that we are alive. · Jesus said: “Happy are those who hunger and thirst for justice.” · For us to acknowledge that we are enough and that we have enough is to share in the economy of grace · This transformation of spirit will lead to our change of mind set. · We will then know that we will have enough energy, enough time, and enough power to do well in this world, to do justice. We can move past the concept of consumption and production. · We should know what we’re for, instead of knowing all that we’re against. · To seek justice, to love justice, is to become just. · The spirit is what matters.
Grey Nun for half a century, is an internationally recognized expert in the field of radiation. · Bertell, an environmental epidemiologist, is neither a recluse nor a denizen of the Ivory Tower. She is an activist. · After the Bhopal disaster in 1984, Bertell directed the International Medical Commission investigating the effects of the Union Carbine chemical spill that was directly responsible for approximately 15 000 deaths. · After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, Bertell helped convene a tribunal to fight for the rights of the victims involved. · Bertell has written reports on many radiation related health problems. · She declares that it’s all about the money · “War and money make the world go around. When you have money, you gave to be prepared to go to war to protect it and that is the main concern of the corporations and governments.” · “Once your eyes are open, you can’t close them again” · Bertell is all about awareness throughout society.
Starting in the mid- to late 1980s, the Princess of Wales became well known for her support of charity projects. This stemmed naturally from her role as Princess of Wales - she was expected to engage in hospital visitations where she comforted the sick and in so doing, assume the patronage of various charitable organizations - and from an interest in certain illnesses and health-related matters. Owing to Public Relations efforts in which she agreed to appear as a figurehead, Diana used her influential status to positively assist the campaign against landmines , a cause which won the Nobel Prize in 1997 in tribute, and with helping to decrease discrimination against victims of AIDS . Her work often drew an analogy with that of Mother Teresa of Calcutta .
As pope, one of John Paul II's most important roles was to teach people about Christianity . He wrote 14 papal encyclicals ( List of Encyclicals of Pope John Paul II ) that many observers believe will have long-lasting influence on the church.
Mahatma Gandhi was a major political and spiritual leader of India especially in his role within the ‘Indian Independence movement’.
In India, he is recognized as the Father of The Nation.. He was the pioneer of the resistance of tyranny through mass civil disobedience, firmly founded upon total nonviolence— which led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.
Muhatma Gandhi will forever stand as a symbol of justice. In acheieving an incredible victory for Indains under British rule he also achieved an incredible victory for all of mankind.