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January 25, 2018
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From the Social Justice Desk

Never think that you have nothing to offer, or that nobody needs you. Many people need you. Think about it! Each of you, think in your heart: many people need me.
Pope Francis: Meeting with Young People, Maipu Shrine, 17 January 2018

God is not afraid! He is fearless! He is always greater than our plans and schemes. Unafraid of the fringes, he himself became a fringe. So if we dare to go to the fringes, we will find him there; indeed, he is already there. Jesus is already there, in the hearts of our brothers and sisters, in their wounded flesh, in their troubles and in their profound desolation. He is already there.
Pope Francis: Gaudete et Exsultate #135

In the Eucharist the Lord makes us walk on his road, that of service, of sharing, of giving; and if it is shared, that little we have, that little we are, becomes riches, for the power of God — which is the power of love — comes down into our poverty to transform it.  So let us ask ourselves, in adoring Christ who is really present in the Eucharist: do I let myself be transformed by him? Do I let the Lord who gives himself to me, guide me to going out ever more from my little enclosure, in order to give, to share, to love him and others?
Pope Francis: Homily on the Feast of Corpus Christi 2013

Christ’s resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force. Often it seems that God does not exist: all around us we see persistent injustice, evil, indifference and cruelty. But it is also true that in the midst of darkness something new always springs to life and sooner or later produces fruit… However dark things are, goodness always re-emerges and spreads. 
Pope Francis: Evangelii Gaudium #278

Almsgiving sets us free from greed and helps us to regard our neighbour as a brother or sister.  What I possess is never mine alone?When we give alms, we share in God?s providential care for each of his children.  If through me God helps someone today, will he not tomorrow provide for my needs? For no one is more generous than God.
Pope Francis: Message for Lent 2018

When people work together looking for each other?s good, the world reveals itself in all its beauty.
Pope Francis, 22 October 2017

Blessed are the open hands that embrace the poor and help them: they are hands that bring hope. Blessed are the hands that reach beyond every barrier of culture, religion and nationality, and pour the balm of consolation over the wounds of humanity. Blessed are the open hands that ask nothing in exchange, with no ?ifs? or ?buts? or ?maybes?: they are hands that call down God?s blessing upon their brothers and sisters.
Pope Francis, Message for the First World Day of the Poor, 2017

Faith has a vital role in the public forum. Stand up, uphold the common good, choose wisely, and your vote will be a blessing for our nation. New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference: Step out and vote, 2017

We wish to offer thanks to the loving Creator for the noble gift of creation and to pledge commitment to its care and preservation for the sake of future generations? An objective of our prayer is to change the way we perceive the world in order to change the way we relate to the world. The goal of our promise is to be courageous in embracing greater simplicity and solidarity in our lives.
Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: Message on the World Day of Prayer for Creation, September 2017

Faith shapes our world view. Faith guides our political choices. Faith demands that we take the duty to vote very seriously.  Your vote is not just a vote for you. Your vote is a vote for New Zealand.
New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference: Step out and vote, 2017

Lord, help me to remember the ?least? among us, and help me to ponder in my heart, how to cast my vote for the good of all. Fr James Martin, SJ

Let us promote with courage all necessary means to protect the lives of our children. Pope Francis

Do not tire of courageously living the Gospel, which calls you to recognize and welcome the Lord Jesus among the smallest and most vulnerable. Pope Francis,  Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2017

But to whom should the church go first? Not so much to our friends and wealthy neighbours, but above all to the poor and the sick ?those who cannot repay you? Lk 14:14.  Evangelii Gaudium #48. Pope Francis 2013

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. Mother Teresa.

Solidarity means fighting against the structural causes of poverty and inequality; of the lack of work, land and housing; and of the denial of social and labour rights.   Pope Francis.

Above all ? trust in the slow work of God.? Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in a prayer in ?Hearts on Fire ? praying with Jesuits?.

We cannot live in a world where we reject each other, we must build bridges?. Rabbi Abraham Skorka, on his friendship with Pope Francis.

Serving is the way that mission is carried out, the only way to be a disciple of Jesus. Pope Francis

Let us walk together taking care of each other and of creation, our common home. Pope Francis.

The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.
Gaudium et Spes, The Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Vatican Council II.

To the extent that our societies experience divisions, whether ethnic, religious or economic, all men and women of good will are called to work for reconciliation and peace, forgiveness and healing. (Pope Francis 27 Nov)

Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth. (Laudato Si #161)

The church feels called to take her stand beside the poor, to discern the justice of their requests and to help satisfy them. (Pope John Paul II)

As we reflect on the feast of Christ the King it is clear we are called to care and compassion for the poor and the marginalized, the sick and the suffering. In what practical ways do I reach out to those who are hungry and thirsty, naked, in prison, refugees and asylum seekers, unwelcome in any way?

In teaching us charity, the gospel instructs us in the preferential respect due to the poor and the special situation they have in society: the more fortunate should renounce some of their rights so as to place their goods more generously at the service of others. (Pope Paul VI)

Let each one examine his conscience, a conscience that conveys a message for our times. Is he prepared to support out of his own pocket works and undertakings organized in favour of the most destitute? (Pope Paul VI)

The twin pillars of our faith are: love of God and love of neighbour; and the four pillars of Social Justice are: see, think, judge, act. Our love for God is expressed in the way we love our neighbour. Today’s liturgy challenges us to a serious examination of our charity or love for one another. We are called to see issues – racism, poverty etc.; think – strategies that will be effective; judge – i.e. pray for guidance; act – personal or group actions to get involved, changed attitudes and so on. Where do I stand in the light of the these principles?

From Pope Paul VI: The superfluous wealth of rich countries should be placed at the service of poor nations. The rule which up to now held good for the benefit of those nearest to us, must today be applied to all the needy of this world. Besides, the rich will be the first to benefit as a result. Otherwise their continued greed will certainly call down upon them the judgment of God and the wrath of the poor, with consequences no one can foretell.

Therefore everyone has the right to possess a sufficient amount of the earth’s goods for themselves and their family. People are bound to come to the aid of the poor and to do so not merely out of their superfluous goods. Persons in extreme necessity are entitled to take what they need from the riches of others. (From the Church in the Modern World).

“How do we live our being Church? Are we living stones or are we, as it were, stones that are weary, bored or indifferent? A Christian like that is all wrong. The Christian must be alive, rejoicing in being Christian.” Pope Francis

The first of Pope Francis’ “10 Tips for Bringing Joy” is: Live and let live. This is a wonderful one-liner covering the qualities of tolerance, accepting diversity, forgiveness, non-judgementalism, compassion. As we head towards the elections, we would do well this week to do a rain check on our personal behaviour regarding each of these qualities. They are not optional in daily life; they are commandments from our God whose name is Love.

The guarantee of one’s prayer is not in saying a lot of words. The guarantee of one’s petition is very easy to know: How do I treat the poor? Because that is where God is. The degree to which you approach them, and the love with which you approach them or the scorn with which you approach them, that is how you approach your God. What you do to them, you do to God. The way you look at them is the way you look at God. ~ Oscar Romero


Social Justice Week 14 – 20 September 2014
Catholic Social TeachingOur Tradition of justice

It all began when God created the world and made us in his image – giving each of us human dignity. At the heart of Catholic social teaching is Christ’s command for us to love God and love our neighbour.

In 1891, at the height of the industrial revolution in Europe, there was a great and growing gap between rich and poor. At this time Pope Leo XIII wrote a letter Rerum Novarum – On the condition of workers on labour conditions and just wages. he emphasised the importance of working for the common good and the role of the state to ensure the wellbeing of all, especially of all, especially the poorest.

Since that time, Church leaders including Popes and Bishops have written encyclicals (letters) and messages to the Church and wider community. They have addressed different social challenges that face our communities, including
– Human life, rights and responsibilities
– Poverty
– Refugees, asylum seekers and migrants
– Environmental justice
– Indigenous peoples
– International development and peace

This formal body of writing forms the basis of Catholic social teaching. It draws on the Scriptural traditions of the prophets who spoke out against injustice, the teachings and example of Christ, and the tradition of the early Church fathers and saints. It provides us with key ethical principles and a lens through which we can interpret social issues around us and take action to seek justice.

– Human Dignity – made in God’s image. Each of us is made in God’s image, which means every person has an innate human dignity – te mana i te tangata – no one can take away
– Preferential Option for the Poor and Vulnerable – protecting those in need. Having a preferential option for the poor – he whakaaro nui mo te hunga rawakore – compels us to think first of the needs of those who are most vulnerable
– Common Good – the good of each and all. Commitment to the common good means working for the good of all – he painga ma te katoa. This means respecting the rights and responsibilities of all people
– Subsidiarity – empowering communities. Taking account of subsidiarity – mana whakahaere – means ensuring decision making happens at the most appropriate level, so all those affected can contribute
– Stewardship – being responsible guardians. We are kaitaki – guardians of the earth. Exercising stewardship is caring for the gifts God has given us, including the environment, our own personal talents and other resources
– Participation – everyone with a part to play. Promotion participation – nau te rourou, naku te rourou – mwans recognising we each have something unique and important to contribute to society. We are called to be active members of our local and global communities

‘A little mercy makes the world less cold and more just’ said Pope Francis. His choice of words captures the call to mercy in today’s Gospel. No mercy is given to thousands of innocent people caught in the conflicts of Gaza, Iraq or the Ukraine. What about here at home. Today, let’s take stock of our sense of mercy.

Nga mihi nui

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