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Social Justice Issues

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The following are resources and links on international and national social justice issues for Catholic educators.

Abortion

"Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.”  *Catechism of the Catholic Church #2270

USCCB Pro-Life Activities  The Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, under the guidance and direction of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, works to teach respect for all human life from conception to natural death, and organize for its protection.

Project Rachel - National  Project Rachel, a ministry of healing and reconciliation, seeks to serve any one who suffers psychologically and spiritually from an abortion. Through the training of clerics, mental health professionals, and interested community members, Project Rachel seeks to form a network of compassionate helpers who work effectively with post-abortive women and men. Further, Project Rachel fosters awareness of the spiritual and psychological aftermath of abortion. 

Assisted Suicide

"Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible. Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the life of handicapped, sick or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.” *Catechism of the Catholic Church #2276

Pro Life Activities USCCB - Offers a full rage of medical and support services for people with life-limiting illnesses and their families.

Hospice of Michigan

Hospice Web Frequently asked questions, hotlinks and more.

Capital Punishment

Quoting the Bishop’s 1998 document, Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics, it states: Our witness to respect for life shines most brightly when we demand respect for each and every human life, including the lives of those who fail to show that respect for others. Thus, we are called to extend God’s love.

USCCB - Capital Punishment

Domestic Violence

"As pastors of the Catholic Church in the U.S., we state as clearly and strongly as we can that violence against women, inside or outside the home, is never justified. Violence in any form - physical, sexual, psychological or verbal - is sinful; often it is a crime as well.”    A Pastoral Message of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1994.

Michigan Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

River House Shelter - A safe place for victims of domestic violence in Grayling, Michigan

Safe Horizon - Domestic Violence Shelter Tour

Fair Trade

Fair Trade creates relationships between producers, traders and consumers that ensure that producers work in safe conditions, are paid fair wages and are mindful of the environment.

The mission of Global Marketplace is to help craft producers in developing nations sell their crafts to consumers around the world and in doing so to increase their standard of living above the poverty line.

Equal Exchange was founded in 1986 to create a new approach to trade, one that includes informed consumers, honest and fair trade relationships and cooperative principles. Offers a line of fairly traded gourmet & organic coffees from small scale farmers in Latin America & Africa.

No Sweat - 100% union-made apparel from around the world

Farming

"At its core the environment crisis is a moral challenge. It calls us to examine how we use and share the good of the earth, what we pass on to future generations and how we live in harmony with God’s creation.” (U.S. Bishops, Renewing the Earth, 1991)

MI Catholic Rural Life Coalition serves the Catholic Dioceses of Michigan in the primary focus areas of agricultural/farmer support, land use/urban sprawl, and environmental issues.

National Catholic Rural Life Conference Catholic Rural Life applies the teachings of Jesus Christ for the betterment of rural America and care of God's creation.

Health Care

"Concern for the health of its citizens requires that society help in the attainment of living-conditions that allow them to grow and reach maturity; food and clothing, housing, health care, basic education, employment and social assistance. Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good.” *Catechism of the Catholic Church #2288

USCCB Health Care Reform  In our Catholic tradition, health care is a basic human right. Access to health care should not depend on where a person works, how much a family earns, or where a person lives. Instead, every person, created in the image and likeness of God, has a right to life and to those things necessary to sustain life, including affordable, quality health care. This teaching is rooted in the biblical call to heal the sick and to serve "the least of these," our concern for human life and dignity, and the principle of the common good. Unfortunately, tens of millions of Americans do not have health insurance. According to the Catholic bishops of the United States, the current health care system is in need of fundamental reform.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center considers authentic Catholic education to be at the very heart of its mission. Speakers from the center are available on a variety of today’s major medical and ethical issues to both parish and professional groups.

The Catholic Health Association of the United States strengthens the Church’s healing ministry in the U.S. by advocating for a just health care system, convening leaders to share ideas and foster collaboration, and uniting the ministry voice on critical issues.

National Health Care for the Homeless Council and the National Coalition for the Homeless have jointly adopted Policy Statements to address several public policy issues that are viewed as critical to the resolution of homelessness.

Housing

"Any person or family that, without any direct fault on his or her part, does not have suitable housing is the victim of an injustice.”   Pontifical Commission Justice & Peace: The Church and Homelessness, III, 2.

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit ecumenical Christian housing ministry. Our foundation is set in Jesus Christ whose church is our cornerstone. Over and over persons discover that Habitat affiliates with the strongest church ties have the most successful projects.

National Coalition for the Homeless whose mission is to end homelessness. They focus their work on housing justice, economic justice, health care justice, and civil rights.

Hunger/Poverty

In a world characterized by growing prosperity for some and pervasive poverty for others, Catholic teaching proclaims that a basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring. The Church appeals to everyone to recognize a special obligation to the poor and vulnerable, to defend and to promote their dignity and to ensure that they can participate fully in society.

USCCB - Global Poverty  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) call on one million Catholics in the United States to confront global poverty. Advocate with us to end hunger, disease, conflict, and other issues that affect the lives of our brothers and sisters worldwide.

Catholic Campaign for Human Developement - Poverty  It’s time to end poverty in America once and for all. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) invests in community-based solutions — that know no racial or religious boundaries. We support self-sufficiency and self-determination as the best strategies for change.We support projects that break the cycle of poverty for good.

America’s Second Harvest - Ending Hunger is the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization with a network of more than 200 food banks and food-rescue programs.

Bread for the World is a nationwide Christian citizens movement seeking justice for the world’s hungry people by lobbying our nation’s decision makers.

Campaign for Human Development breaking the cycle of poverty for a lifetime!

Catholic Relief Services implements programs in dioceses, parishes, schools and homes to educate people in the U.S. about CRS’ work and to foster solidarity with our brothers and sisters in need around the world.

Food For The Poor (FFP) ministers to spiritually renew impoverished people throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Their goal is to improve the health, economic, social and spiritual conditions of the men, women and children we serve.

Immigration

Since its founding, the United States has received immigrants from around the world who have found opportunity and safe haven in a new land. The labor, values, and beliefs of immigrants from throughout the world have transformed the United States from a loose group of colonies into one of the leading democracies in the world today. From its founding to the present, the United States remains a nation of immigrants grounded in the firm belief that newcomers offer new energy, hope and cultural diversity.

Our common faith in Jesus Christ moves us to search for ways that favor a spirit of solidarity. It is a faith that transcends borders and bids us to overcome all forms of discrimination and violence so that we may build relationships that are just and loving

For more information visit the USCCB website  Justice for Immigrants

Just Wage

A just wage is the legitimate fruit of work. To refuse or withhold it can be a grave injustice. Remuneration for work should guarantee man the opportunity to provide a dignified livelihood for himself and his family.
*Catechism of the Catholic Church #2434

The National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice calls upon our religious values in order to educate, organize and mobilize the religious community in the U.S. on issues and campaigns that will improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for workers, especially low-wage workers.

The Living Wage Campaign believes that an honest day’s work should be rewarded with an honest day’s pay. They are not satisfied with an economy that’s moving towards low-paying, insecure jobs with no benefits.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers  The CIW is a community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida.

Land Mines

With Pope John Paul II and the Church around the world, the USCCB strongly supports efforts to secure a U. S. commitment to sign the Mine Ban Treaty, which would eliminate the scourge of these morally unacceptable weapons that do not distinguish between soldiers and civilians or between times of war and times of peace. U. S. leadership is essential for the success of the treaty.

For more information go to United States Catholic Conference and search for Land Mines.

Pax Christi USA strives to create a world that reflects the Peace of Christ by exploring, articulating, and witnessing to the call of Christian nonviolence. This work begins in personal life and extends to communities of reflection and action to transform structures of society. Pax Christi USA rejects war, preparations for war, and every form of violence and domination. It advocates primacy of conscience, economic and social justice, and respect for creation.

Nuclear Arms

The end of the Cold War has led to some progress in reducing nuclear weapons, but these efforts have not been commensurate with the dramatic changes in world politics. The U.S., and other nuclear powers must move away from reliance on nuclear weapons for their security. A global ban is more than a moral ideal; it should be a policy goal.

For more information go the United States Catholic Conference web-site and search for Nuclear Arms.

Pax Christi USA strives to create a world that reflects the Peace of Christ by exploring, articulating, and witnessing to the call of Christian nonviolence. This work begins in personal life and extends to communities of reflection and action to transform structures of society. Pax Christi USA rejects war, preparations for war, and every form of violence and domination. It advocates primacy of conscience, economic and social justice, and respect for creation.

Peace

Blessed are the Peacemakers. Those who renounce violence and bloodshed and, in order to safeguard human rights, make use of those means of defense available to the weakest, bear witness to evangelical charity, provided they do so without harming the rights and obligations of other men and societies.

USCCB - Stop Torture  This four-chapter discussion guide on torture was developed in early 2008, as a collaboration between the Catholic members of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and the Office of International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The chapters are designed for use by discussion groups and classes in Catholic settings, as well as by individuals, families, and others. The intent of this material is to prompt thinking and reflection on torture as a moral issue.

USCCB - War and Peace

Peaceful Tomorrows is an advocacy organization founded by family members of September Eleventh victims. Its mission is to seek effective nonviolent responses to terrorism.

The Peace Pulpit - Homilies by Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton (for the National Catholic Register)

Pax Christi USA is the national Catholic Peace Movement. They work for the transformation of society through nonviolence and advocate peace making as a priority in the Catholic Church in the U.S.

The Michigan Peace Team empowers people to engage in active nonviolent peacemaking. It offers nonviolence training workshops and provides opportunities to join peace teams.


Sacredness of the Environment

USCCB - Caring for God Creation  The Environmental Justice Program (EJP) calls Catholics to a deeper respect for God’s creation and engages parishes in activities that deal with environmental problems, particularly as they affect the poor.

USCCB - Environmental Justice Backgrounder of Public Policy

Global Food Crisis

USCCB - Global Poverty  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) call on one million Catholics in the United States to confront global poverty. Advocate with us to end hunger, disease, conflict, and other issues that affect the lives of our brothers and sisters worldwide.

Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. We alleviate suffering and provide assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality.