Back in September Bellarmine Veritas Ministry revealed that a number of groups being funded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development had acted in direct opposition to Church teaching. Most of these groups were subsequently dropped by the CCHD which in most cases had been funding these groups for several years. Last week this same ministry reported that the “community organizing” group PICO was still being funded even though they provide contraception and so-called emergency contraception.” See A Shepherd’s Voice for details.
I remember when the report first came out someone working with CCHD or the USCCB had said they were unaware of the other activities of these groups they were funding. I certainly believe this to be true that they were unaware. Though it would have taken only a couple minutes of Googling to determine how problematic these groups are via their sites. No doubt they had their blinders on. In the so-called “Social Justice” arena there are many groups under this umbrella term that have missions directly contrary to the truth of the Church, though there is some overlap in the Church’s ministry towards the poor.
Unfortunately this is all part of the larger problem of the schism between social justice and pro-life causes. From the USCCB on down there are separate organizations and offices. The USCCB on their main page lists a “Life Issues” section and a “Social Justice Issues” section. Please tell me how the pro-life cause is not a integral part of social justice? Cardinal George, tear down this wall. This separation causes confusion and damage. You can not separate the fight for the unborn and others having their lives threatened from the preferential love for the poor. It is part of the preferential love for the poor that we love the poorest of the poor- those in the womb unable to defend themselves. Just as you can not call yourself pro-life and turn your back on the poor. It is love of God and neighbor that is the foundation of any acts we take in regard to social justice.
It was always a false claim that pro-lifers did not care about the child once it was born. Though judging by organizations that define themselves in the social justice arena, they usually either say nothing about abortion or they are directly part of the culture of death. So many Catholics that work under the social justice umbrella have become quite myopic about the groups they deal with and see as their partners. Go to the web site of so many religious orders in the United States and you see plenty of “social justice” links and support of the U.N. despite the intrinsic evils that their partner sites support. The USCCB via CCHD has been pretty much the same way. For anyone with any sensitivity about the culture of death the very names of the groups that CCHD supported would raise alarm bells. That they could go on supporting these groups for years and years without the least bit investigation into those they were partnered with says a lot about those working in the narrowly defined social justice area.
We should be working together towards a culture of life which see the dignity of every human person. We can neither turn our backs on the poor or the unborn and must constantly remember that whatever we do to the least of these we do for Him. Blessed Mother Teresa is the very model of the unity we should be seeing the distressing disguise of both the poorest of the poor, the elderly or infirm in need of care, or the child in the womb. She embodied the very view we must all hold to and to live out.
This schism between pro-life and social justice must end. From the USCCB on down to our hearts any false divisions must be removed. Abortion is the preeminent social justice issue of our times. But once again it is not an either/or situation and the Catholic both/and must prevail.
Blessed Mother Teresa pray for us.
My experience with parish-level “social justice” groups has been that they are merely efforts by parish Democrats to push for support among parishioners for left-wing policy proposals. Catholic social teaching, or the Catholic understanding of social justice is not the starting point for such people. They start with Democrat talking points or public policy agendas and enlist Catholic social teaching selectively to make it appear that what the Democrats want to enact is what Catholic faith requires. One has only to see such people attempt to argue that Catholic social justice requires granting marriage equality to same-sex couples to realize what they are really all about.
The latest incarnation of this phenomenon of turning parishes into Alinskyite centers of political activism are the parish “green” or “care for the earth” or “environmental stewardship” groups. If I hear about another parish “green” group pushing the Saint Francis Pledge, I’m going to be sick.
I should have also added that the 2010 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress will have a special, central public exhibit promoting the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, in which attendees will be encouraged to take the St. Francis Pledge and explore ways to reduce their carbon footprint. The LA Religious Education Congress has NEVER, NEVER had a special featured exhibit on behalf of the unborn, nor has it ever encouraged attendees to take a pledge opposing legal abortion. By their fruits you will know them.
Thank you. I too have been struck recently by the unnecessary schism drawn between Pro-Life and Social Justice. In discussing it recently, it was suggested that those of us who clearly appreciate the respect for Life should begin getting involved in Social Justice organizations at our Parish and Diocese, and encourage the reading of the encyclicals associated with Social Justice. The premise was that far too many of those associated with Social Justice works within the Church are unfamiliar with the wealth available through the writings of the Church. And those of us involved in Pro-Life know well that the right to life is the foundation of all other rights.
As good as I may say it on my blog, and have doen so for the last two years, there is always someone who says it better.
For a proper understanding of social justice, see Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritas. I’m going to talk on “Peace and Justice” at one of our RCIA meetings, and this document will form the basis I think. Also, see Bp. Martino’s letter as a wonderful antidote to attempts to make certain prudential issues equal weight to absolute negetive precepts.
Martino link here: http://www.dioceseofscranton.org/Bishop%27s%20Pastoral%20Letters/RespectLifeSundaySeptember30th2008.asp
Amen Brother Miller,
I once decided that instead of decrying the left’s ignorance of Humanae Vitae, I would read Rerum Novarum. It does exactly what you call for in separating the divide between social justice, pro-life, and personal devotions.
The Papal encyclicals from Rerum Novarum to Caritas in Veritae beautifully integrate what should never have been separated. The beauty of these documents far outstrips the nauseating platitudes that passes as “Social Justice”.
Though it made me me some food for thought: If today’s social justice movement is a pale shadow of what Rerum Novarum actually proposed and if today’s liturgy and spirit of Vatican II ecumenism is a pale shadow of what the Second Vatican Council actually proposed, could our current opposition to abortion and contraception also be a pale and sickly shadow of what Humanae Vitae actually proposed.