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    Tuesday, September 04, 2007

    Basic Necessities of Life: the list grows longer


    For the love of our Hero, charity will overflow to our neighbor. There will be nothing to stop us caring for the people we meet as we journey to our quickly approaching goal.
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    Our hearts will pull us to join together like the company of angels we hear about at Mass in their hymn of praise Holy, Holy, Holy; Lord God Almighty.
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    The converted hearts of the throng of God's children changes the earth like a mighty flood.
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    Until our hearts are set on fire, we will be satisfied to form committees that will bore us right out of our shoes. That unfortunately is where we most often find ourselves.
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    Perhaps this article has misquoted the Bishop. If he truly is teaching that education and health care and economic security are "fundamental principles " of a public justice, I would be interested to know what developed doctrine of proper government he might be referring to.
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    If instead, he is meaning that we might squeeze injustice right out of existence through dedicated lives of service, I can see his point. Yet, I see no reference to Jesus, only government, and what government should be doing for us. Perhaps the fact that he is a Bishop is the reference to Jesus. OK then, I'm with him 100%. But still, I wish he would speak more clearly.
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    The religious communities used to give us a lived witness to these very things. Priests and Sisters and Brothers offering their whole lives to service. And the service was in caring for the children, caring for the sick, and prayer. In other words, Faith and Charity.
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    But the 20th Century shriveled their numbers and presence. Likewise the lay people shrivel for lack of love's example. And so now it seems we are left to work with government as the moving force. An environment where Jesus can not be mentioned. His surrogate of "justice" is expected to suffice.
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    Is it just me, or are we hearing more and more how rational explanations in the public square will be needed to convince people to act in loving ways? Good luck to us with that approach. Faith and Reason can work together, but it is Faith that is the strength. In fact, it is better than Faith, it is Charity. And it is Charity that is lacking.
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    We really do need to put first things first, and justice is not the cause, it is the effect. Committees will concentrate on justice, converted hearts will concentrate on love. Bishops need to teach the whole thing, or end up sounding like socialist government agents inventing rights based on justice based on nothing.
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    Citing an earlier statement by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, A Catholic Framework for Economic Life, Bishop DiMarzio suggests 4 fundamental principles for economic justice:

    The economy exists for the person, not the person for the economy.
    A fundamental moral measure of any economy is how the poor and vulnerable are faring.
    All people have a right to life and to secure the basic necessities of life (e.g. food, clothing, shelter, education, health care, safe environment, economic security).
    All people have the right to economic initiative, to productive work, to just wages and benefit, to decent working conditions, as well as to organize and join union or other associations.
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    The number of rights seem to be growing. Especially odd I think are:
    education,
    health care,
    economic security.
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    I somehow can not image Jesus addressing the United Nations like that. If permitted to guess, I would say He would say something regarding loving your neighbor as yourself for the sake of God.
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    Education can be given through love, but is hardly a right, and certainly not requried for salvation.
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    Health care is one thing if the empathies are on the side of care vs. health. In fact, making little of doctors is right there in the gospel regarding; "She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse." Spending all our money seems to be the same theme today as 2,000 years ago.
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    Economic security is the real new right that is fearful. Beyond food, shelter, and clothing we get into some real committee areas very fast. And I might add Bishops quickly going to areas in which they have no obvious competence.
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    It still seems to me that converted hearts are the answer and all the rest is noise. Bishops.. get on with it.

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