Jan 7, 2013

Doing the Will of God Together

Pillar Focus Other: Human Communion

This sampling comes from Part III of the Catechism titled: "Life in Christ" (how to live as Christians), section 1: Man's Vocation- Life in the Spirit, ch. 3 Human Communion.

The Person and Society
We reach our full potential as human beings as members of a society. We gather together keeping in mind that every individual counts.
The human person needs to live in society. Society is not for him an extraneous addition but a requirement of his nature. Through the exchange with others, mutual service and dialogue with his brethren, man develops his potential; he thus responds to his vocation. (CCC 1879)
"The human person . . . is and ought to be the principle, the subject, and the object of every social organization"(CCC 1892)
Widespread participation in voluntary associations and institutions is to be encouraged (CCC 1893)
Participation in Social Life
We understand the necessity of authority in order for communities to function. We work together for the common good, which means we work to change our society so that everyone, individually or in groups, can achieve their full potential.
Every human community needs an authority in order to endure and develop (CCC 1919)
"The political community and public authority are based on human nature and therefore . . . belong to an order established by God" (CCC 1920)
Authority is exercised legitimately if it is committed to the common good of society. To attain this it must employ morally acceptable means (CCC 1921)
..."Do not live entirely isolated, having retreated into yourselves, as if you were already justified, but gather instead to seek the common good together" (CCC 1905)
The common good comprises "the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily" (GS 26 1) (CCC 1924)
The common good consists of three essential elements: respect for and promotion of the fundamental rights of the person; prosperity, or the development of the spiritual and temporal goods of society; the peace and security of the group and of its members (CCC 1925)
Social Justice
This is a big topic. Please see the "Other Resources" and "Read the Catechism" below. The following is the "In Brief" section in the Catechism. Basically we have to ask the question, "Is everyone in a given society able to receive their needs?" These include material and spiritual. If the answer is "no" we need to work to change the systems that cause that, especially concerning the poor and vulnerable.
Society ensures social justice by providing the conditions that allow associations and individuals to obtain their due (CCC 1943)
Respect for the human person considers the other "another self." It presupposes respect for the fundamental rights that flow from the dignity intrinsic of the person (CCC 1944)
The equality of men concerns their dignity as persons and the rights that flow from it (CCC 1945)
The differences among persons belong to God's plan, who wills that we should need one another. These differences should encourage charity (CCC 1946)
The equal dignity of human persons requires the effort to reduce excessive social and economic inequalities. It gives urgency to the elimination of sinful inequalities (CCC 1947)
Solidarity is an eminently Christian virtue. It practices the sharing of spiritual goods even more than material ones (CCC 1948)

Other Resources
Social Justice - A Basic Introduction
Seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching (USCCB)

Read the Catechism
For the Compendium of the Catechism, see #401-414
For the "In Brief" sections of the Catechism, see the following:
   The Person and Society
   Participation in the Social Life
   Social Justice
For the full Catechism, begin here