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No Longer the 'Best Kept Secret'
SINCE HIS ELECTION as the 265th successor of St. Peter, Pope Francis has provided a refresher course on Catholic social teaching to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. “Catholic social teaching is no longer a secret,” says Jean Hill, director of peace and justice for the diocese of Salt Lake City. “Everything Pope Francis is saying comes from social doctrine and is about social justice.”
Through his various homilies, speeches, and meetings, Francis is “reading the signs of the times” and making practical application to the issues of the day. Some of his most powerful statements to date were made in his first pastoral document, “The Joy of the Gospel,” including this declaration: “I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting, and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church that is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.”
Pope Francis is calling the faithful to be more merciful, compassionate, joyful, and centered upon the needs of the poor and vulnerable. He wants a church that sees the human person before the law and one that does not “obsess” about a narrow set of issues, but affirms both human life and human dignity. He invites Catholics to pray, reflect, and embrace the beauty and breadth of Catholic social teaching—a rich tradition that is predicated on the dignity of the human person.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) defines Catholic social teaching as “a central and essential element of our faith. Its roots are in the Hebrew prophets who announced God’s special love for the poor and called God’s people to a covenant of love and justice.” This teaching is also founded on the life and words of Jesus. It posits that “every human being is created in the image of God and redeemed by Jesus Christ, and therefore is invaluable and worthy of respect as a member of the human family.”
A Cleveland Original
Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones was a Cleveland original. Stephanie never cared about “style points.” She only cared about passing public policy that served the common good. No one matched her passion, energy, or voice for the poor and vulnerable. Everyone wanted her on their side. She was ever present in her 11th Congressional District and was tireless in her advocacy for victims of predatory lending, the uninsured, the unemployed, and children. The news [...]
A Victory Over Predatory Payday Lending
The people of Ohio won a big victory over the predatory payday lending industry this June when a new state law banned the sky-high interest rates that had trapped many poor Ohioans, as Tom Allio describes in the August issue of Sojourners. Below, Allio, who is chair of the coalition of faith-based consumer, labor, and human services groups that won the [...]