Skip to comments.March participants say Occupy movementís concerns aligned with Catholic social teaching
Posted on 12/14/2011 7:42:33 AM PST by Alex Murphy
Wearing the garments of their respective faiths, a rabbi, two Protestant ministers and a Franciscan friar set aside theological differences on a December afternoon to lead a march sponsored by a broad coalition of community and labor groups down Market Street in San Francisco to the Occupy San Francisco encampment at Justin Herman Plaza.
They were united in support of the Occupy Wall Street movements main rallying cry against inequality, recession, high unemployment and unaffordable health care.
These conditions and the economic system behind them, they say, are in opposition to the Gospel and Catholic social teaching.
If you look at the life and teachings of Jesus and how the early Christian community was laid out, said Franciscan Father Louis Vitale, you see that they lived so that nobody was in need and nobody had an abundance. It was all done in community.
Joined by Rabbi Jane Litman, Rev. Carol Been and Rev. Israel Alvaran, Father Vitale marched along Market Street holding a banner that read, People of faith for a moral economy. They followed four marchers bearing a litter carrying the statue of a golden calf. A sign attached to the litter read, Stop worshipping money.
When Moses went up to the mountain, said Rabbi Litman, the people were building a golden calf. God told Moses to hurry down and stop them from worshipping gold. Thats what were doing here.
Father Vitale has been studying and participating in social movements since the 60s. Like the civil rights and antiwar movements of that era, he said, the Occupy movement is rooted in the principles of Catholic social teaching: the dignity of the human person, the common good, a preferential option for the poor, global solidarity, stewardship of Gods creation and economic justice.
All those resonate clearly with the Occupy movement, said James Salt, executive director of Washington, D.C.-based Catholics United.
Pope Leo XIII is credited with beginning the modern era of Catholic social teaching with his 1891 encyclical criticizing a savage capitalism that exploited workers. When the trickle-down economic theory was in vogue during the Reagan presidency, Pope John Paul II warned of an idolatry of the market. In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, saw a scandal of glaring inequalities in the U.S. economy.
In October, the Vaticans Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, in the document Toward Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority, proposed the idea of independent oversight of the world banking system. Setting up such a body would be a complex and delicate process and would require realistic goals and gradual change, the council said.
Those at the rally marched to protest these inequities and praised the Occupy movement for bringing them to light.
I think Occupy is laying bare the basic problems and injustices in our society, said Rev. Glenda Hope. Its prophetic witness.
As the founder of Safe Haven, a sanctuary in San Francisco for women seeking to leave prostitution, the 75-year-old Presbyterian minister said the signs of a disintegrating economy are everywhere.
I see more women in the streets than I ever have before, she said. Our nation is losing its soul we cant just sit by.
There is a broad coalition of folks here who are concerned about the morality of our budget, and what were doing with our money, said Rev. Been, an organizer with Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. And I dont think people are happy with either the Democrats or the Republicans as having a handle on what needs to be done.
Clergy at the rally said they were encouraged by all the young people across the nation who have taken part in a movement calling for social change.
Theyre leading the way, said Rev. Hope.
For some, the message of the Occupy movement has been difficult to discern and obscured by media images of scruffy, arrogant youths thumbing their noses at authority by camping illegally in public places.
I think for a lot of people the true message of the Occupy movement has been influenced by the camping and the behavior of some of them, said Karl Robillard, senior manager of communications and outreach at the St. Anthony Foundation. Unfortunately, for Occupy, their message is being lost.
George Wesolek, director of the Office of Public Policy and Social Concerns at the Archdiocese of San Francisco, agreed.
I have had difficulty understanding what the focus of their agenda is, he said. It seems ambiguous. What I do relate to is how bad things are right now the huge disparity between the rich and the poor.
That disparity is growing. A recent study revealed that the 400 Americans at the top of the income scale possessed more wealth than the 150 million at the bottom.
Barry Stenger, director of development and communications the St. Anthony Foundation, said those in the Occupy movement are asking for a realignment so that our economic and political systems are put at the service of the people. Thats fundamental to Catholic social justice teaching.
Unfortunately, said Stenger, many Catholics are not familiar with those teachings. Its always been called the best-kept secret in our church. And I think thats true.
The average Catholic, said Jeff Bialik, executive director of Catholic Charities CYO in the archdiocese, is generous when it comes to putting money in the collection plate.
But I think were not always cognizant that we are challenged to be a moral voice in the community, that we need to advocate about injustice in society, said Bialik. Thats an area in which we sometimes have trouble connecting the dots.
Were not saying you have to be socialist, he said, just that you have to look out for your neighbor. We are, in fact, our brothers keeper. I think we know that. We just need to be reminded of that.
Lorraine Moriarty, executive director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of San Mateo County, hopes that the Occupy movement may turn out to be the leaven in the dough that motivates more people to work toward the creation of a better world.
....Pope Leo XIII is credited with beginning the modern era of Catholic social teaching with his 1891 encyclical criticizing a savage capitalism that exploited workers. When the trickle-down economic theory was in vogue during the Reagan presidency, Pope John Paul II warned of an idolatry of the market. In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, saw a scandal of glaring inequalities in the U.S. economy....
....Barry Stenger, director of development and communications the St. Anthony Foundation, said those in the Occupy movement are asking for a realignment so that our economic and political systems are put at the service of the people. Thats fundamental to Catholic social justice teaching. Unfortunately, said Stenger, many Catholics are not familiar with those teachings. Its always been called the best-kept secret in our church. And I think thats true.
Judas was all about Social Justice too.
42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
I never knew the Bible says that we should demand that Caesar take more in taxes to spread the wealth more fairly nor did I realize that feeding the hungry, clothing the poor and caring for the sick could not be done as an individual but ONLY as a collective.
The majority of Catholic social justice commandos are either very ignorant
folk who don’t realize that they have been infiltrated by communists, or they
Marxists themselves who want to destroy the church and replace it with a
“social gospel” like the majority of mainline Protestant churches have done.
Besides, these lefty religionists are so dumb that they don’t realize that if the occupy anarchists ever took over they would be the first ones facing the
Firing line wall
Some of the Catholic Church’s social teaching comes from false teacher Jim Wallis (One of Obama’s spiritual advisors). We had some of these advocates visit our church one day and they were pushing books written by Jim Wallis.
Please correct my ignorance, but I don’t remember the passages in the scriptures where Jesus instructed his followers to wallow in their own urine and feces, create communicable diseases, deprive people of work by violently sutting down legitimate commerce, trespass on and detroy public and private proeprty, and shit (deliberate profanity; nothing else fits the OWS subhumans) on police cars.
you said it all better than I did.
What a bunch of liars. This article takes each statement out of context.
I’m not going to go into all, but the Leo one, I am most familiar with, and have a handy link.
Leo’s main focus was against socialism. The term “savage capitalism” is not in his encyclical. The 1891 encyclical is called rerum novarum if you prefer to google it.
Below is a link to the actual encyclical. A good read for conservatives not clear on how “social justice” is actually unjust.
And here’s a sample:
“To remedy these wrongs the socialists, working on the poor man’s envy of the rich, are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies. They hold that by thus transferring property from private individuals to the community, the present mischievous state of things will be set to rights, inasmuch as each citizen will then get his fair share of whatever there is to enjoy. But their contentions are so clearly powerless to end the controversy that were they carried into effect the working man himself would be among the first to suffer. They are, moreover, emphatically unjust, for they would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the State, and create utter confusion in the community.”
Envy, jealousy, coveting other people’s wealth, bitterness and hatred. I’m not quite a cardinal or a theologian-Catholic or otherwise-but I’m pretty sure this is not what Jesus was about or any church should pursue.
Right your are Darth! Wallis and his buddy from JustFaith, Jack Jezreel, have attempted to hijack Catholic social teaching and head it towards socialism. True Catholic social teaching does not embrace socialism or liberation theology.
The cause of demonstrators involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement would have been supported by John Calvin, the 16th century church reformer who helped shape modern-day Protestantism, says the general secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC)
I am sure he would have been in the streets of New York or London with a placard, says WCRCs Setri Nyomi of the French lawyer and theologian who wrote extensively about social and economic justice.
...Calvin expressed opposition to all forms of social oppression resulting from money, Nyomi says. Today, it is the global economic systems and practices that have more sophisticated forms of effects.
...The WCRC endorses economic justice as an expression of Christian faith. The Accra Confession, a foundational document for the organization, declares: We believe the economy exists to serve the dignity and well-being of people Therefore we reject the unregulated accumulation of wealth and limitless growth that has already cost the lives of millions and destroyed much of Gods creation.
Exactly -- and the pope agrees with you: Vatican to America: Social Justice is About Relationships, Not Socialism
Peter Cardinal Turkson, President of the Vaticans Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has a message for Catholics in America, particularly those involved in social justice ministry, that could put a damper on the political machinations of the Shadow Party.
The message? Social justice is about relationships, not socialism. This clarification may very well be the catalyst to set the Catholic Church in America back on course with authentic Catholic teaching on hot-button issues involving massive government entitlement programs and other forms of overreach. If nothing else, it will almost certainly jump-start the social justice debate among Catholics. Cardinal Turkson, you see, is scheduled to deliver the plenary address at the 2011 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in February.It would be useful if we just observed our sense of justice as our ability to fulfill the demands of the relationships in which we stand.
This is in contrast to socialism, he explained, which is an ideology in which private property and private interests are totally placed in the service of government policies. What the Pope proposes in Caritas in Veritate, said Cardinal Turkson, is achieving the common good without sacrificing personal, private interests, aspirations and desires.
Cardinal Turkson said the Council was also surprised that the Popes concept of the gift, was perceived in some circles as encouraging government welfare handouts. In Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict described the concept of gift as a way to understand Gods love for men and women in his gift of life and his gift of JesusWhether he intended to or not, Cardinal Turkson has now echoed what many conservative Catholics in America have been calling for repeatedly subsidiarity in economic policy. More importantly, the Cardinal observes the heart of the matter in noting that a handout and a gift are not at all the same, with the latter being more in keeping with the Gospel message.One of the key principles of Catholic social thought is known as the principle of subsidiarity. This tenet holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization. In other words, any activity which can be performed by a more decentralized entity should be. This principle is a bulwark of limited government and personal freedom. It conflicts with the passion for centralization and bureaucracy characteristic of the Welfare State.You may remember that Pope John Paul II worked closely with President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to bring down communism in the Soviet Union and Marxist governments in Latin America. With the worldwide Left now in such kinship with Islam, and with no modern-day Reagan or Thatcher in sight, Pope Benedict XVI certainly has his work cut out for him. If they recognize that America has become polarized, perhaps Americas Catholic bishops will bite the bullet and commit themselves to following in the footsteps of the just-beatified Pope John Paul II to morally undermine the Left as he morally undermined the Soviet Union
I'm sure any theological differences between this bunch is for show only. Behind close doors I'm sure they all pick and choose the same passages to obey and ignore in their respective holy books.
Now, it is possible that the teaching of the Church has changed since I was in Catholic school, but back then the message was "Even if someone is richer than you are, stealing from him is still stealing, and is still a sin."
I just sent an email to them on this ridiculous article. My wife is a member of this church. Curious to hear her take on this.