The Teaching of Charitable Works & Social Justice
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)
Charity: In practical terms, how do you love yourself?
When you are hungry, you ____;
When you are thirsty, you ____;
When you are ___, you___.
Justice: Why are there so many hungry? What are the real root causes of this?We are all each other’s keeper, because God entrusts us to one another. Solidarity is our responsibility and commitment to the common good of all and each individual. We stand with and for each other in pursuit of justice and peace.
Charitable works and social justice stand on the two feet of Catholic social teaching. You are called to share treasure to help the poor and vulnerable (charity). But you also are called to use your time, talents, and treasure to help change root cause conditions that oppress human dignity and cause poverty (justice).
Justice: Justice asks the question after charity -- why are there so many homeless? What are the real root causes of this? We are all each other’s keeper, because God entrusts us to one another. Solidarity is our responsibility and commitment to the common good of all and each individual. We stand with and for each other in pursuit of justice and peace.
Contrasting Charity and Justice. Charity is like first aid – take care of the initial need. Justice is providing long term care until healing is achieved. And like the Good Samaritan, God calls on us to be merciful and generous to those in need.
The Practice of Charity and Justice – An Example. In spite of all that we are doing, there are around 2,000 homeless in Tarrant County. Some 93% of them are vulnerable
- Children 29%
- Women 24% (domestic violence)
- Mentally ill 19%
- Chronic homeless 11% (disabled, etc.)
- Veterans 10% (PTS, etc.)
How can you help assure charity, justice and dignity of life for the poor and the vulnerable? Here are some options. What others do you have?
- Charity. Donate additional funds to Catholic Charities Fort Worth (CCFW) homeless programs. $33 shelters a homeless person for a day at CCFW. Send a Check to CCFW and write “Bridge to Housing” in the memo line.
- Dignity. Volunteer your time and talent directly to Catholic Charities Fort Worth (CCFW) homeless programs as a mentor to help a homeless family transition from crisis to stability to thriving with dignity.
- Justice. Support the Social Justice Ministry’s Shelter 1 Project, which advocates obtaining additional funds for CCFW to shelter one (1) Tarrant County homeless person/family.
- CCFW can shelter a homeless person/family for one year for $12,000. That’s 365 of us giving an extra $33 to CCFW.
- During that time, CCFW case workers and mentors guide a homeless person/family from crisis to stability to thriving in jobs with living wages, savings, and appropriate debt.
- Tell your family and friends about the Shelter 1 Project and become an advocate for their participation.
- Justice. Value workers by providing and/or advocating for a living wage (http://livingwage.mit.edu/counties/48439) for all workers ($22 an hour in Tarrant County for 1 adult and 1 child). This applies to those who you employ or use in any capacity, including lawn care workers, housekeepers, restaurant workers, car wash workers, etc.
- Justice. When you purchase food, goods, and services, ensure that providers and workers are slave free.
Reflect on Pope Francis’ thoughts:
- “But to all of you, especially those who can do more and give more, I ask: Please, do more! Please, give more!
- When you give of your time, your talents and your resources to the many people who struggle and who live on the margins, you make a difference.
- It is a difference that is so desperately needed, and one for which you will be richly rewarded by the Lord.”
- Pray for healing, compassion, justice, and peace.
- If you are charitable, work for justice.
- Volunteer for outreach opportunities at GSCC
- Join the Social Justice Ministry
- Join our bishops in advocating for justice and human dignity (www.usccb.org).