Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Social Teaching of the Church - I
Historical Emergence of the Social Teaching of the Gospel:
2421 The social doctrine of the Church developed in the nineteenth century when the Gospel encountered modern industrial society with its new structures for the production of consumer goods, its new concept of society, the state and authority, and its new forms of labor and ownership. the development of the doctrine of the Church on economic and social matters attests the permanent value of the Church's teaching at the same time as it attests the true meaning of her Tradition, always living and active.200
2422 The Church's social teaching comprises a body of doctrine, which is articulated as the Church interprets events in the course of history, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, in the light of the whole of what has been revealed by Jesus Christ.201 This teaching can be more easily accepted by men of good will, the more the faithful let themselves be guided by it.
2423 The Church's social teaching proposes principles for reflection; it provides criteria for judgment; it gives guidelines for action:
Any system in which social relationships are determined entirely by economic factors is contrary to the nature of the human person and his acts.202
2424 A theory that makes profit the exclusive norm and ultimate end of economic activity is morally unacceptable. the disordered desire for money cannot but produce perverse effects. It is one of the causes of the many conflicts which disturb the social order.203 
A system that "subordinates the basic rights of individuals and of groups to the collective organization of production" is contrary to human dignity.
204Every practice that reduces persons to nothing more than a means of profit enslaves man, leads to idolizing money, and contributes to the spread of atheism. "You cannot serve God and mammon."205
2425 The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with "communism" or "socialism." She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of "capitalism," individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor.206 Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for "there are many human needs which cannot be
satisfied by the market."207 Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended.
The Absolute Starting Point to Understand the Image and Likeness as Constitutively Relational: Trinitarian Life:
The prototype of Communio is the revealed Trinity of Persons where the Father is not the Father and then engenders the Son, but is the very act of engendering the Son. Divine Person in this theological elaboration discloses itself as pertaining to a radically distinct metaphysical horizon, one in which Person is the very act of relationship.[1] Person, then, as with us, is not substance who then relates accidentally as the act of a subject, but the Subject is the very act of relating or “being-for” the Other. To be is not to be in self, but for other.
The dynamic that flows from this is Gaudium et Spes #24. That is, being constitutively and ontologically relational, the human person can only develop himself, becomes himself, and therefore achieve his fulfillment by the self-transcendence of gift that is martyrdom as Jesus Christ. Ultimately, one becomes self only by becoming Christ.
We have no direct experience of this except as an enlightenment of the mysterious relationship of spouses in conjugal union. The prime human experience of communio is spousal union or “betrothed” love. The intellectual grasp of this is not a “grasping” as in forming a concept or symbol of it in what we have come to call “intentional knowing.” Rather it is an experience of the “I” that has been disclosed by Karol Wojtyla to be a different kind of being than everything that we have come to experience through sensation and abstract conceptualization of that which is outside of us. It is the experience of the “I,” or subject itself, as “Being,” not as a kind of Cartesian consciousness or “thinking thing,” but as a consciousness of self that is “pre-conceptual” that arises from the experience.
 On my reading, the first appearance of the terminology of the phrase “self-gift” occurred in Love and Responsibility.”  There, Wojtyla said: “Betrothed love differs from all the aspects or forms of love analysed hitherto. Its decisive character is the giving of one’s own person (to another). The essence of betrothed love is self-giving, the surrender of one’s `I.’ This is something different from and more than attraction, desire or even goodwill. These are all ways by which one person goes out toward another, but none of them can take him as far in his quest for the good of the other as does betrothed love. `To give oneself to another’ is something more than merely `desiring what is good’ for another – even if as a result of this another `I’ becomes as it were my own, as it does in friendship. Betrothed love is something different from and more than all the forms of love so fast analysed, both as it affects the individual subject, the person who loves, and as regards the interpersonal union which it creates. When betrothed love enters into this interpersonal relationship something more than friendship results: two people give themselves each to the other.”[2]

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
105. The Church sees in men and women, in every person, the living image of God himself.[3] This image finds, and must always find anew, an ever deeper and fuller unfolding of itself in the mystery of Christ, the Perfect Image of God, the One who reveals God to man and man to himself. It is to these men and women, who have received an incomparable and inalienable dignity from God himself, that the Church speaks, rendering to them the highest and most singular service, constantly reminding them of their lofty vocation so that they may always be mindful of it and worthy of it. Christ, the Son of God, “by his incarnation has united himself in some fashion with every person”[197]; for this reason the Church recognizes as her fundamental duty the task of seeing that this union is continuously brought about and renewed. In Christ the Lord, the Church indicates and strives to be the first to embark upon the path of the human person[198], and she invites all people to recognize in everyone — near and far, known and unknown, and above all in the poor and the suffering — a brother or sister “for whom Christ died” (1 Cor 8:11; Rom 14:15)[199].
106. All of social life is an expression of its unmistakable protagonist: the human person. The Church has many times and in many ways been the authoritative advocate of this understanding, recognizing and affirming the centrality of the human person in every sector and expression of society: “Human society is therefore the object of the social teaching of the Church since she is neither outside nor over and above socially united men, but exists exclusively in them and, therefore, for them”[200]. This important awareness is expressed in the affirmation that “far from being the object or passive element of social life” the human person “is rather, and must always remain, its subject, foundation and goal”[201]. The origin of social life is therefore found in the human person, and society cannot refuse to recognize its active and responsible subject; every expression of society must be directed towards the human person.
107. Men and women, in the concrete circumstances of history, represent the heart and soul of Catholic social thought[202]. The whole of the Church's social doctrine, in fact, develops from the principle that affirms the inviolable dignity of the human person[203]. In her manifold expressions of this knowledge, the Church has striven above all to defend human dignity in the face of every attempt to redimension or distort its image; moreover she has often denounced the many violations of human dignity. History attests that it is from the fabric of social relationships that there arise some of the best possibilities for ennobling the human person, but it is also there that lie in wait the most loathsome rejections of human dignity.
a. Creatures in the image of God
108. The fundamental message of Sacred Scripture proclaims that the human person is a creature of God (cf. Ps 139:14-18), and sees in his being in the image of God the element that characterizes and distinguishes him: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27). God places the human creature at the centre and summit of the created order. Man (in Hebrew, “adam”) is formed from the earth (“adamah”) and God blows into his nostrils the breath of life (cf. Gen 2:7). Therefore, “being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons. Further, he is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give in his stead”[204].
109. The likeness with God shows that the essence and existence of man are constitutively related to God in the most profound manner.[205] This is a relationship that exists in itself, it is therefore not something that comes afterwards and is not added from the outside. The whole of man's life is a quest and a search for God. This relationship with God can be ignored or even forgotten or dismissed, but it can never be eliminated. Indeed, among all the world's visible creatures, only man has a “capacity for God”[4] (“homo est Dei capax”).[206] The human being is a personal being created by God to be in relationship with him; man finds life and self-expression only in relationship, and tends naturally to God.[207 ]
110. The relationship between God and man is reflected in the relational and social dimension of human nature. Man, in fact, is not a solitary being, but “a social being, and unless he relates himself to others he can neither live nor develop his potential”[208]. In this regard the fact that God created human beings as man and woman (cf. Gen 1:27) is significant[209]: “How very significant is the dissatisfaction which marks man's life in Eden as long as his sole point of reference is the world of plants and animals (cf. Gen 2:20). Only the appearance of the woman, a being who is flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones (cf. Gen2:23), and in whom the spirit of God the Creator is also alive, can satisfy the need for interpersonal dialogue, so vital for human existence. In one's neighbour, whether man or woman, there is a reflection of God himself, the definitive goal and fulfilment of every person”[210].
111. Man and woman have the same dignity and are of equal value[211], not only because they are both, in their differences, created in the image of God, but even more profoundly because the dynamic of reciprocity that gives life to the “we” in the human couple, is an image of God[212]. In a relationship of mutual communion, man and woman fulfil themselves in a profound way, rediscovering themselves as persons through the sincere gift of themselves[213]. Their covenant of union is presented in Sacred Scripture as an image of the Covenant of God with man (cf. Hos 1-3; Is 54; Eph 5:21-33) and, at the same time, as a service to life[214]. Indeed, the human couple can participate in God's act of creation: “God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it' “ (Gen 1:28).
112. Man and woman are in relationship with others above all as those to whom the lives of others have been entrusted[215]. “For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning, ... I will require it ... of man [and] of every man's brother” (Gen 9:5), God tells Noah after the flood. In this perspective, the relationship with God requires that the life of man be considered sacred and inviolable[216]. The fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex20:13; Deut 5:17), has validity because God alone is Lord of life and death[217]. The respect owed to the inviolability and integrity of physical life finds its climax in the positive commandment: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Lev 19:18), by which Jesus enjoins the obligation to tend to the needs of one's neighbour (cf. Mt 22:37-40; Mk 12:29-31;Lk 10:27-28).
113. With this specific vocation to life, man and woman find themselves also in the presence of all the other creatures. They can and are obliged to put them at their own service and to enjoy them, but their dominion over the world requires the exercise of responsibility, it is not a freedom of arbitrary and selfish exploitation. All of creation in fact has value and is “good” (cf. Gen 1:4,10,12,18,21,25) in the sight of God, who is its author. Man must discover and respect its value. This is a marvellous challenge to his intellect, which should lift him up as on wings [218] towards the contemplation of the truth of all God's creatures, that is, the contemplation of what God sees as good in them. The Book of Genesis teaches that human dominion over the world consists in naming things (cf. Gen 2:19-20). In giving things their names, man must recognize them for what they are and establish with each of them a relationship of responsibility[219].
114. Man is also in relationship with himself and is able to reflect on himself. Sacred Scripture speaks in this regard about the heart of man. The heart designates man's inner spirituality, what distinguishes him from every other creature. God “has made everything beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man's mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end” (Eccles 3:11). In the end, the heart indicates the spiritual faculties which most properly belong to man, which are his prerogatives insofar as he is created in the image of his Creator: reason, the discernment of good and evil, free will[220]. When he listens to the deep aspirations of his heart, no person can fail to make his own the words of truth expressed by Saint Augustine: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you”[221].

This Teaching Develops:

Chapter V of “Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation” [SCDF March 22, 1986, #71-100].

The Social Doctrine of the Church for a Christian Practice of Liberation
The Christian practice of liberation

71. The salvific dimension of liberation cannot be reduced to the socio-ethical dimension, which is a consequence of it. By restoring man's true freedom, the radical liberation brought about by Christ assigns to him a task: Christian practice, which is the putting into practice of the great commandment of love. The latter is the supreme principle of Christian social morality, founded upon the Gospel and the whole of tradition since apostolic times and the age of the Fathers of the Church up to and including the recent statements of the Magisterium.
The considerable challenges of our time constitute an urgent appeal to put into practice this teaching on how to act.

I. Nature of the Social Doctrine of the Church
The Gospel message and social life

72. The Church's social teaching is born of the encounter of the Gospel message and of its demands summarized in the supreme commandment of love of God and neighbor in justice[106] with the problem emanating from the life of society. This social teaching has established itself as a doctrine by using the resources of human wisdom and the sciences. It concerns the ethical aspect of this life. It takes into account the technical aspects of problems but always in order to judge them from the moral point of view.
Being essentially oriented towards action, this teaching develops in accordance with the changing circumstances of history. This is why, together with principles that are always valid, it also involves contingent judgments. Far from constituting a closed system, it remains constantly open to the new questions which continually arise; it requires the contribution of all charisms, experiences and skills.
As an "expert in humanity," the Church offers by her social doctrine a set of and [107] and also [108] so that the profound changes demanded by situations of poverty and injustice may be brought about, and this in a way which serves the true good of humanity.
Fundamental principles
73. The supreme commandment of love leads to the full recognition of the dignity of each individual, created in God's image. From this dignity flow natural rights and duties. In the light of the image of God, freedom, which is the essential prerogative of the human person, is manifested in all its depth. Persons are the active and responsible subjects of social life.[109]
Intimately linked to the , which is man's dignity, are the and the .
By virtue of the first, man with his brothers is obliged to contribute to the common good of society at all its levels.[110] Hence the Church's doctrine is opposed to all forms of social or political individualism.
By virtue of the second, neither the state nor any society must ever substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and of intermediate communities at the level on which they can function, nor must they take away the room necessary for their freedom.[111] Hence the Church's social doctrine is opposed to all forms of collectivism.
Criteria for judgment
74. These principles are the basis of on social and .
Thus the Church does not hesitate to condemn of life which are injurious to man's dignity and freedom.
These criteria also make it possible to judge the value of . These are the sets of institutions and practices which people find already existing or which they create, on the national and international level, and which orientate or organize economic, social and political life. Being necessary in themselves, they often tend to become fixed and fossilized as mechanisms relatively independent of the human will, thereby paralyzing or distorting social development and causing injustice. However, they always depend on the responsibility of man, who can alter them, and not upon an alleged determinism of history.
Institutions and laws, when they are in conformity with the natural law and ordered to the common good, are the guarantees of people's freedom and of the promotion of that freedom. One cannot condemn all the constraining aspects of law, nor the stability of a lawful state worthy of the name. One can therefore speak of structures marked by sin, but one cannot condemn structures as such.
The criteria for judgment also concerns economic, social and political . The social doctrine of the Church does not propose any particular system; but, in the light of other fundamental principles, she makes it possible at once to see to what extent existing systems conform or do not conform to the demands of human dignity.
Primacy of persons over structures
75. The Church is of course aware of the complexity of the problems confronting society and of the difficulties in finding adequate solutions to them. Nevertheless she considers that the first thing to be done is to appeal to the spiritual and moral capacities of the individual and to the permanent need for inner conversion, if one is to achieve the economic and social changes that will truly be at the service of man.
The priority given to structures and technical organization over the person and the requirements of his dignity is the expression of a materialistic anthropology and is contrary to the construction of a just social order.[112]
On the other hand, the recognized priority of freedom and of conversion of heart in no way eliminates the need for unjust structures to be changed. It is therefore perfectly legitimate that those who suffer oppression on the part of the wealthy or the politically powerful should take action, through morally licit means, in order to secure structures and institutions in which their rights will be truly respected.
It remains true however that structures established for people's good are of themselves incapable of securing and guaranteeing that good. The corruption which in certain countries affects the leaders and the state bureaucracy, and which destroys all honest social life, is a proof of this. Moral integrity is a necessary condition for the health of society. It is therefore necessary to work simultaneously for the conversion of hearts and for the improvement of structures. For the sin which is at the root of unjust systems is, in a true and immediate sense, a voluntary act which has its source in the freedom of individuals. Only in a derived and secondary sense is it applicable to structures, and only in this sense can one speak of "social sin."[113]
Moreover, in the process of liberation, one cannot abstract from the historical situation of the nation or attack the cultural identity of the people. Consequently, one cannot passively accept—still less actively support—groups which by force or by the manipulation of public opinion take over the state apparatus and unjustly imposed on the collectivity an imported ideology contrary to the culture of the people.[114] In this respect, mention should be made of the serious moral and political responsibility of intellectuals.
Guidelines for action
76. Basic principles and criteria for judgment inspire . Since the common good of human society is at the service of people, the means of action must be in conformity with human dignity and facilitate education for freedom. A safe criterion for judgment and action is this: there can be no true liberation if from the very beginning the rights of freedom are not respected.
Systematic recourse to violence put forward as the necessary path to liberation has to be condemned as a destructive illusion and one that opens the way to new forms of servitude. One must condemn with equal vigor violence exercised by the powerful against the poor, arbitrary action by the police, and any form of violence established as a system of government. In these areas one must learn the lessons of tragic experiences which the history of the present century has known and continues to know. Nor can one accept the culpable passivity of the public powers in those democracies where the social situation of a large number of men and women is far from corresponding to the demands of constitutionally guaranteed individual and social rights.
A struggle for justice
77. When the Church encourages the creation and activity of associations such as trade unions which fight for the defense of the rights and legitimate interests of the workers and for social justice, she does not thereby admit the theory that sees in the class struggle the structural dynamism of social life. The action which she sanctions is not the struggle of one class against another in order to eliminate the foe. She does not proceed from a mistaken acceptance of an alleged law of history. This action is rather a noble and reasoned struggle for justice and social solidarity.[115] The Christian will always prefer the path of dialogue and joint action.
Christ has command us to love our enemies.[116] Liberation in the spirit of the Gospel is therefore incompatible with hatred of others, taken individually or collectively, and this includes hatred of one's enemy.
The myth of revolution
78. Situations of grave injustice require the courage to make far-reaching reforms and to suppress unjustifiable privileges. But those who discredit the path of reform and favor the myth of revolution not only foster the illusion that the abolition of an evil situation is in itself sufficient to create a more human society; they also encourage the setting up of totalitarian regimes.[117] The fight against injustice is meaningless unless it is waged with a view to establishing a new social and political order in conformity with the demands of justice. Just must already mark each stage of the establishment of this new order. There is a morality of means.[118]
A last resort
79. These principles must be especially applied in the extreme case where there is recourse to armed struggle, which the Church's Magisterium admits as a last resort to put an end to an obvious and prolonged tyranny which is gravely damaging the fundamental rights of individuals and the common good.[119] Nevertheless, the concrete application of this means cannot be contemplated until there has been a very rigorous analysis of the situation. Indeed, because of the continual development of the technology of violence and the increasingly serious dangers implied in its recourse, that which today is termed "passive resistance" shows a way more conformable to moral principles and having no less prospects for success. One can never approve— whether perpetrated by an established power or insurgents—crimes such as reprisals against the general population, torture, or methods of terrorism and deliberate provocation aimed at causing deaths during popular demonstrations. Equally unacceptable are the detestable smear campaigns capable of destroying a person psychologically or morally.

The role of the laity

80. It is not for the pastors of the Church to intervene directly in the political construction and organization of social life. This task forms part of the vocation of the laity acting on their own initiative with their fellow citizens.[120] They must fulfill this task conscious of the fact that the purpose of the Church is to spread the kingdom of Christ so that all men may be saved and that through them the world may be effectively ordered to Christ.[121] The work of salvation is thus seen to be indissolubly linked to the task of improving and raising the conditions of human life in this world.
The distinction between the supernatural order of salvation and the temporal order of human life must be seen in the context of God's singular plan to recapitulate all things in Christ. Hence in each of these spheres the lay person, who is at one and the same time a member of the Church and a citizen of his country, just allow himself to be constantly guided by his Christian conscience.[122]
Social action, which can involve a number of concrete means, will always be exercised for the common good and in conformity with the Gospel message and the teaching of the Church. It must be ensured that the variety of options does not harm a sense of collaboration, or lead to a paralysis of efforts or produce confusion among the Christian people.
The orientation received from the social doctrine of the Church should stimulate an acquisition of the essential technical and scientific skills. The social doctrines of the Church will also stimulate the seeking of moral formation of character and a deepening of the spiritual life. While it offers principles and wise counsels, this doctrine does not dispense from education in the political prudence needed for guiding and running human affairs.

[1] See J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Theology,” Ignatius (2004) 183-184.
[2] Karol Wojtyla, “Love and Responsibility,” Farrar Straus Giroux, (1981) 96.
[3] Cf. John Paul II, “The Theology of the Body,” DSP (1997) November 14, 1979: “The function of the image is to reflect the one who is the model, to reproduce its own prototype. Man becomes the image of God not so much in the moment of solitude as in the moment of communion. Right ‘from the beginning,’ he is not only an image in which the solitude of a person who rules the world is reflected, but also, and essentially, an image of an inscrutable divine communion of persons.
                “In this way, the second narrative could also be a preparation for understanding the Trinitarian concept of the ‘image of God,’ even if the latter appears only in the first narrative. Obviously, that is not without significance for the theology of the body. Perhaps it even constitutes the deepest theological aspect of all that can be said about man…” When Adam sees Eve, he says, “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” That is John Paul II says: “he was able to identify and call by name what makes them visibly similar to each other, and at the same time what manifests humanity.” That is, “the body reveals man. This concise formula already contains everything that science could ever say about the structure of the body as organism, about its vitality, and it particular sexual physiology, etc. This first expression of the man, ‘flesh of my flesh,’ also contains a reference to what makes that body truly human. Therefore it refer ed to what determines man as a person, that is, as aa being who, even in all his cororality, is similar to God.
                “We find ourselves, therefore, almost at the very core of the anthropological reality, the name of which is ‘body,’ the human body. However, as can easily be seen, this core is not only anthropological, but also essentially theological. Right from the beginning, the theology of the body is bound up with the creation of man in the image of God. It becomes, in a way, also the theology of sex, or rather the theology of masculinity and femininity, which has its starting point here in Genesis…. (And) that unity [“and the two will be one flesh {Gen. 2, 24}] which is realized through the body, indicates not only the ‘body,’ but also the ‘incarnate’ communion of persons – communion personarum – and calls for this communion.”

                It is fitting to point out that as the Body of Christ is the revelation of His divine Persona [“Feel me and see that a ghost does not have flesh and blood as I have…” Lk. 24], so also the human body is the revelation of his/her persona as male and female. The human body is the enfleshment and manifestation of the person. (Me: this has much to do with the brain death dispute in that the death of the brain does not eliminate the revelation of the person as person, i.e. a non-functioning organism is still the organism of a person).

[4] This is the first question of CCC #27: MAN'S CAPACITY FOR GOD

I. The Desire for God

27 The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:
The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator.1

28 In many ways, throughout history down to the present day, men have given expression to their quest for God in their religious beliefs and behaviour: in their prayers, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, and so forth. These forms of religious expression, despite the ambiguities they often bring with them, are so universal that one may well call man a religious being:
From one ancestor (God) made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him - though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For "in him we live and move and have our being."

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