Love faces a vast field of work and the Church is eager to make her contribution with her social doctrine, which concerns the whole person and is addressed to all people. So many needy brothers and sisters are waiting for help, so many who are oppressed are waiting for justice, so many who are unemployed are waiting for a job, so many peoples are waiting for respect. “How can it be that even today there are still people dying of hunger? Condemned to illiteracy? Lacking the most basic medical care? Without a roof over their head? The scenario of poverty can extend indefinitely, if in addition to its traditional forms we think of its newer patterns. These latter often affect financially affluent sectors and groups which are nevertheless threatened by despair at the lack of meaning in their lives, by drug addiction, by fear of abandonment in old age or sickness, by marginalisation or social discrimination . . . And how can we remain indifferent to the prospect of an ecological crisis which is making vast areas of our planet uninhabitable and hostile to humanity? Or by the problems of peace, so often threatened by the spectre of catastrophic wars? Or by contempt for the fundamental human rights of so many people, especially children?”(Social Teaching of the Catholic Church)
Pope Francis has spoken of the need to have an “option for the poor” – how do we help our fellow parishioners to make some small concrete conscious choices that show our solidarity with the poor.
If our commitment to Justice and Peace is to be small and local how can we begin?
As a parish we have visits from the Patriarchs of Jerusalem and Antioch and have links both in the parish and school with the Holy Land: can we consider supporting Christians there?
ST. BRIDE’S BOTHWELL JUSTICE & PEACE Lenten Newsletter
Please click on the following links to download minutes of the group’s meetings.
St. Brides Parish Food Bank
St. Bride’s Parish collect items for the Hamilton District Food Bank organised by the Trussell Trust on a Monthly Basis. The generosity of our parishioners is very much appreciated by the Justice and Peace group as well as the Trussell Trust.
Advent Thoughts of the Week
4TH WEEK – PEACE FLOWS FROM JUSTICE
The Second Vatican Council takes up this Advent theme of the close and unbreakable link between justice and peace and the practicality of living it out in this important passage.
Peace is not the mere absence of war or the simple maintenance of a balance of power between forces, nor can it be imposed at the dictate of absolute power. It is called, rightly and properly, a work of justice. It is the product of order, the order implanted in human society by its divine founder, to be realised in practice as men hunger and thirst for ever more perfect justice.
The common good of the human race is subject to the eternal law as its primary principle, but its requirements in practice keep changing with the passage of time. The result is that peace is never established finally and forever; the building up of peace has to go on all the time. Again, the human will is weak and wounded by sin; the search for peace therefore demands from each individual constant control of the passions, and from legitimate authority untiring vigilance.
Even this is not enough. Peace here on earth cannot be maintained unless the good of the human person is safeguarded, and men are willing to trust each other and share their riches of spirit and talent. If peace is to be established it is absolutely necessary to have a firm determination to respect other persons and peoples and their dignity, and to be zealous in the practice of brotherhood. Peace is therefore the fruit also of love; love goes beyond what justice can achieve. Peace on earth, born of love for one’s neighbour, is the sign and the effect of the peace of Christ that flows from God the Father. In his own person the incarnate Son, the Prince of Peace, reconciled all men to God through his death on the cross. In his human nature he destroyed hatred and restored unity to all mankind in one people and one body. Raised on high by the resurrection, he sent the Spirit of love into the hearts of men.
All Christians are thus urgently summoned to live the truth in love, and to join all true peacemakers in prayer and work for peace. Moved by the same spirit, we cannot but praise those who renounce violence in defence of rights, and have recourse to means of defence otherwise available to the less powerful as well, provided that this can be done without injury to the rights and obligations of others or of the community.
(This excerpt from the Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 78).
3RD WEEK – TRAIDCRAFT JUSTICE CAMPAIGN
Excerpt from Traidcraft Justice Campaign Policy Briefing:
“The UK is the fifth biggest overseas investor in the world. Our companies are increasingly
global, with a growing presence in developing countries. This gives them enormous power and
Many companies behave responsibly, but some take decisions which result in mistreatment or
even abuse of people overseas. These companies need to be held to account. And the people
who have been harmed need justice. Justice may involve financial compensation, but also
means putting things right and changing business practices to prevent future wrongs.
The next Government should remove the barriers that currently prevent victims of corporate
abuse overseas receiving justice and take decisive measures to ensure companies who do
violate human rights are held to account in the UK.”
Find out more about how you can help make a difference at www.traidcraft.co.uk/justicecampaign
—Pope John Paul II Papal Mass, St. Louis, Missouri, January 27, 1999
Twenty-five years ago, our Conference of bishops first called for an end to the death penalty. We renew this call to seize a new moment and new momentum. This is a time to teach clearly, encourage reflection, and call for common action in the Catholic community to bring about an end to the use of the death penalty in our land.
—U.S.Bishops’ Conference , A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death
1ST WEEK – NUCLEAR WEAPONS
In 1982, at the height of the Cold War, the Scottish Bishops’ Conference made a clear and bold statement about the immorality of nuclear weapons. It is a statement that remains relevant today though the political circumstances of the world are very different. The policy of MAD (Mutually Assure Destruction), which underpinned the British nuclear arsenal, contended that we could not unilaterally give up our weapons for fear of the Soviet Union. Despite the fall of USSR, we still retain weapons of mass destruction under the pretext of deterrence and the commitment never to use them. Laying aside for a moment the moral abhorrence of these weapons, the crippling financial strain they place on the economy remind us that the NHS, education and social welfare come a poor second best to weapons we could never use.
Returning to the 1982 Bishops’ Conference statement it bears repeating, reflection and prayer: you “We are convinced, however, that if it is immoral to use these weapons it is also immoral to threaten their use. Some argue that the threat can be justified as the lesser of two evils. The crux of the problem is whether in any foreseeable circumstances a policy of self-defence based on the use or even the threat of use of these weapons of terrible destructiveness can ever be morally justified.” You will find the full text on the Justice & Peace Scotland website
The Bishops’ Conference has issued a statement on the 11 April 2006 on the replacement of Trident Nuclear Weapons.
The Bishops of Scotland welcome the Prime Minister’s recent comment that there should be the “fullest possible” public debate on the Trident nuclear missile system. The Catholic Church has clear and consistent teaching on nuclear weapons. The use of weapons of mass destruction would be a crime against God and against humanity it must never happen. The Church teaches that it is immoral to use weapons of mass destruction in an act of war: “Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities or extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation.” Equally, storing and accumulating such weapons gives rise to strong moral reservations. “The arms race does not ensure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them.
Find out more at www.justiceandpeacescotland.org.uk
Thought of the week
“Prisoner’s week invites us all to see one another for who we are. As we find the courage to simply be ourselves may we journey towards more fulfilled lives and safer communities.”
“Behind the Mask
‘WYSIWYG – What you see is what you get.’ ‘It does what it says on the tin.’ These kind of phrases place a value on transparency.
Which is to say we human beings recognise that we prepare “a face to meet the faces” and we offer a certain ‘presentation of ourselves in everyday life’.*
As trust grows between persons, we feel able to reveal what was previously masked and slowly we can be ourselves with each other. ‘Behind the Mask’ was chosen as this year’s Prisoners Week theme because it recognises that as we wonder what it’s like to be where another person is in life, we catch a glimpse of the person behind the mask. It allows us all to think again, and to find our way to a fresh start that gives us the chance to see others differently, and perhaps also ourselves. In such soil the seeds of change grow well.
“You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask… God is our witness.” 1 Thessalonians 2:5
“Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them.” Hebrews 13:3″
Find out more at www.prisonersweek.org.uk
Catholic Social Teaching (CST) encompasses a wide range of issues, many of which are covered by more specialised organisations. We offer below some links where more in-depth information and resources may be found. Most are Catholic or otherwise Christian sites, but some have been included as recognised lead organisations in their field.
All are independent sites, and St Brides Bothwell is not responsible for their content.
National Justice & Peace Network
Caritas Social Action Network
Catholic Social Teaching Website from LiveSimply
Some Source Documents for CST
Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church
Overseas Poverty & Development
CAFOD – CAFOD Westminster
Progressio (formerly CIIR – Catholic Institute for International Relations)
World Development Movement
Fair Trade Foundation
Trade Justice Movement
Jubilee Debt Campaign
Domestic Poverty & Homelessness
Church Action on Poverty
Housing Justice (incorporating former CHAS – Catholic Housing Aid Society)
St. Vincent DePaul Society (SVP)
Vincentians in Partnership
Zacchaeus 2000 Trust
Passage Day Centre
Cardinal Hume Centre
Peace, Security, Disarmament
Pax Christi: Israel/Palestine
Fellowship of Reconciliation
CND Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament – Christian CND
CAAT Campaign Against Arms Trade – CAAT Christian Network
Movement for Abolition of War
World Disarmament Campaign
Caritas Internationalis Peace building toolkit
Human Rights, Equality, Refugees & Asylum
Action by Christians Against Torture
British Refugee Council
Jesuit Refugee Service
Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture
Catholic Association for Racial Justice
See also the Department for Marriage, Family and Life page Dignity of the Person