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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Social Justice and the Gospel

Sometimes I can't believe what I hear from the news media. On this blog i try to stay away from direct criticism of particular people on either the left or the right, but this week I make an exception. Glenn Beck of Fox News has told people who watch his program to run away from any Church that speaks of social justice. I say, Run away from Glenn Beck." Preaching social justice and taking action to correct injustice is anb obligation for those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. Back in the 1970's a Vatican synod described working for justice as a "constitutive dimension of preaching the Gospel."

While the Church should generally stay away from partisan politics, saying that the Democrats, the Republicans or anyone else has the whole answer she can and must and usually has spoken out against slavery,racism violation of human rights, the environment, lack of access to health care, abortion and other life issues Why? Because Jesus did, not necessarily on the above mentioned issues, but on the abuses of His own day. Since Leo XIII in the late 1800's every Catholic Pope has made statements and issued encyclicals on issues of social justice.

There are always those who want preachers to stay in their pulpit and tell people just to say their prayers. Pray we must, but we must also work to overcome the injustices that separate people form each other and from God, injustices that lead to war and violence.

No one would deny that preachers must denounce sin. The self-righteous smile smugly when a preacher rails against the excesses of lust, greed and other personal sins. Just one question, "Is injustice a sin, especially systemic social injustice?" Well, "Dah, ought the preacher address this issue?"

By the way I understand that Mr. Beck's remarks were in response to a Catholic nun who labored courageously for women's rights in Syria and who was given an award. Should she have told the women there to be quiet, get beaten and say their prayers? Apparently Mr. Beck thinks so.

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