“1914 Participation is achieved first of all by taking charge of the areas for which one assumes personal responsibility: by the care taken for the education of his family, by conscientious work, and so forth, man participates in the good of others and of society.” Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The Sun Beam Times has been very critical of what is a false Social Justice mission trumpeted by groups like FAST and others advocating big government programs as a means to promote the common good. This most recent series has focused on the true meaning of “Social Justice” and how it can only be achieved when it respects the basic elements of “the common good” (individual dignity of man, the social development of the group, peace) and the principle of subsidiarity which requires limited government. The proper role and exercise of authority has been described all within the context of a greater Catholic Catechism which is the location of the definition of Social Justice as first developed in the Catholic Church in the 19th century. While there are many examples in society of groups acting in negative ways with regards to Social Justice, the Sun Beam Times would like to deliver the good news about Social Justice. The Good news is that true, real, actual Social Justice activists are alive and well in our community. They are working tirelessly everyday to help their fellow man and are the true standard bearers for Social Justice.”
TRUE Examples of Social Justice in Action! These groups actually help their fellow man in direct, intimate and real ways. They do the heavy lifting that “Social Justice” Progressive activist groups like FAST refuse to do.
Before mentioning only a few that the Sun Beam Times is aware of, a final concept in the Social Justice teachings from the catechism should be discussed. The Catechism closes its section on “Participation in Social Life” (which contains the expositions on “The Common Good” and “Authority”) with conclusions on “Respsonsibility and Participation”. Achieving the Common Good requires that individuals engage, in a “voluntary and generous”, way in society. For those of us blessed with Faith, it is a clear requriement from God. For those still on their faith journey, this requirement is impicit in building a society that promotes the best future for all. It builds the individual dignity of man to help their fellow man and is a requirement expected of all who can participate. Those Catholics who would spend energy begging the government for funds, through groups like FAST, may better meet this obligation by actually engaging in direct charitable work in the community with their fellow man.
There are many in St. Petersburg who truly live the Social Justice requirement to participate in social interchange in a voluntary and generous way. They perform their good work with the assumption that those being helped also must live up to the first responsibility to “participate” in social interchange: the personal responsibility of every able person to provide for themselves and their family to the greatest extent possible (as stated in paragraph 1914 above). Perhaps they realize that when the government steps in too much to provide for a person, it can rob that person of the “individual dignity” and motivation they need to be as successful as possible. They are examples that when people are expected to be personally responsible, they then can develop more fully as a person and help achieve the larger “Common Good” goal of development of the group.
The Resurrection House is a charity that provides transition housing and a new way of life for those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. Applicants who are willing to learn self-sufficiency, develop more fully as a person and train for work are provided a beautiful 2-3 bedroom apartment (they must pay part of the cost at some point). They must agree to participate in the program and be prepared to “graduate” to a life of self sufficiency. The Resurrection House has helped 500 families. The Resurrection House takes no government money. They rely on community partners who have are truly charitable and share the vision of helping people achieve individual dignity through personal development and responsibility. For instance, the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership St. Petersburg Class recently raised money and personally installed $25,000 worth of renovations and donated $10,000 in cash to Resurrection House. More Social Justice in action.
Faith House is a similar program that helps men who are chemically addicted and in early stages of recovery overcome their addiction and develop self-sufficiency and life skills. Faith House provides safe, comfortable housing and asks their residents to pay a large part of the price after they are established and secure. The grounds features a community garden and a tropical bird aviary. Faith House relies almost entirely on private funds and is officially known as “the Christian Recovery Centers, Inc.”.
Daystar Life Center has grown from a small parish ministry and provides emergency assistance to individuals and families who largely live below the federal poverty level. They offer food, clothing, personal hygiene items and money for rent, utilities and transportation primarily from direct donation by individuals in the community. A small portion of their revenue comes from government. Lower taxes in our community undoubtedly would free up more funds for Daystar and groups like it, alleviating the need for government money.
1913 “Participation” is the voluntary and generous engagement of a person in social interchange. It is necessary that all participate, each according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This obligation is inherent in the dignity of the human person.
1914 Participation is achieved first of all by taking charge of the areas for which one assumes personal responsibility: by the care taken for the education of his family, by conscientious work, and so forth, man participates in the good of others and of society.31
1915 As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life. The manner of this participation may vary from one country or culture to another. “One must pay tribute to those nations whose systems permit the largest possible number of the citizens to take part in public life in a climate of genuine freedom.”32
1916 As with any ethical obligation, the participation of all in realizing the common good calls for a continually renewed conversion of the social partners. Fraud and other subterfuges, by which some people evade the constraints of the law and the prescriptions of societal obligation, must be firmly condemned because they are incompatible with the requirements of justice. Much care should be taken to promote institutions that improve the conditions of human life.33
1917 It is incumbent on those who exercise authority to strengthen the values that inspire the confidence of the members of the group and encourage them to put themselves at the service of others. Participation begins with education and culture. “One is entitled to think that the future of humanity is in the hands of those who are capable of providing the generations to come with reasons for life and optimism.”34