Saturday, May 23, 2009
Catholic Social Teaching: Rights and Responsibilities
The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities--to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.
-- from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/projects/socialteaching/excerpt.shtml
As Catholics, we respect life from conception to natural death, and every step in between. Certainly, we want to do everything possible to support mothers and their babies. We also want to replace the Death Penalty with life imprisonment without parole, fight euthanasia and physician assisted suicide: all these need legislative advocacy -- writing letters to Congress and informing our parishes -- this is not "politics", it's morality. But we also must support the poor and vulnerable -- the mentally ill, the homeless and poor, those in other countries who are denied access to medical care and participation in their own government. Again, this is putting our faith into action, this is all part of discipleship -- as important as going to Mass, prayer, Bible study, and almsgiving.