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SOCIAL JUSTICE

...seeking justice through education and advocacy

 

Poverty  In 2008, the rate of poverty in the United States was 13.2%, roughly 39.8 million people, and is likely higher today. Additionally, because this definition of poverty is still startlingly low, the rate of poverty is much higher if considering a dignified standard of living. Even though 2009 Census data states that the poverty threshold for a family of four with two children is $21,834, most Americans believe that at least $35,000 is needed annually to sustain a family of four.

The Catholic Church believes, "All economic life should be shaped by moral principles. Choices and institutions must be judged by how they protect or undermine the life and dignity of the human person, support the family, and serve the common good." Therefore, we seek sustainable solutions to permanently reduce the level of poverty.

Do you want more information?
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops - Poverty USA
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops - Economic Life


Economic Justice  The tradition of the Catholic Church is one that advocates economic justice, using one's moral principles as a foundation for such justice. It does not advocate "wealth redistribution." Rather, the Catholic Framework for Economic Life offers ten principles to guide one's economic activity. These principles include:

  • The economy exists for the person, not the person for the economy.
  • Economic choices and institutions must be judged by how they protect or undermine the life and dignity of the human person, support the family, and serve the common good.
  • A fundamental moral measure of any economy is how the poor and vulnerable are faring.
  • All people have a right to life and to secure the basic necessities of life.
  • All people have the right to economic initiative, to productive work, to just wages and benefits, to decent working conditions, as well as to organize and join unions or other associations.
  • All people, to the extent that they are able, have a corresponding duty to work, a responsibility to provide for the needs of their families, and an obligation to contribute to broader society.
  • In economic life, free markets have both clear advantages and limits; government has essential responsibilities and limitations; voluntary groups have irreplaceable roles, but cannot substitute for the proper working of the market and just policies of the state.
  • Society has a moral obligation, including governmental action where necessary, to assure opportunity, meet basic human needs, and pursue justice in economic life.
  • Workers, owners, managers, stockholders, and consumers are moral agents in economic life. By our choices, initiative, creativity, and investment, we enhance or diminish economic opportunity, community life, and social justice.
  • The global economy has moral dimensions and human consequences. Decisions on investment, trade, aid, and development should protect human life and promote human rights, especially for those most in need, wherever they might live on this globe.

Do you want more information?
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops


Housing  Various facets of housing are a critical issue. Some estimates state that in a given year 35 million people will be homeless at some point. Additionally, some people pay disproportionate amounts of their income to rent (sometimes up to half of their income), or have inadequate housing.

In a letter to the United States House of Representatives in 2007, Bishop DiMarzio of Brooklyn stated, "From our pastoral experience in poor communities, from the work of diocese in poor neighborhoods, and the efforts of our parishes with poor people, we know that homelessness and inadequate housing destroy lives, undermine family life, hurt communities, and weaken the social fabric of our nation. The tragic reality of so many people without decent housing is a sign of serious social neglect and moral failure."

Do you want more information?
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
National Coalition for the Homeless


Labor  In his 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI states that decent work means "work that expresses the central dignity of every man and woman in the context of their particular society: work that is freely chosen, effectively associating workers, both men and women, with the development of their community; work that enables the worker to be respected and free from any form of discrimination; work that makes it possible for families to meet their needs and provide schooling for children, without the children themselves being forced into labor; work that permits the workers to organize themselves freely, and to make their voices heard; work that leaves enough room for re-discovering one's roots at a personal, familial and spiritual level; work that guarantees those who have retired a decent standard of living."

Because of these tenants, we support legislation and other solutions that advance these facets of decent labor.

Do you want more information?
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

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Contact

Richard Klinge, Esq.
Associate Director
(405) 523-3000

 

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