In his recent complaint (“Church must preach truth, leaving left-wing politics behind,” Opinion, Dec. 24), Mr. Paul Rosenthal objects to the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, asserting that Catholic bishops have neglected their real obligation to evangelize and have engaged, rather, in, “excessive meddling in politics, which is beyond their legitimate vocation and competence.”
He quotes only part of section number 69 from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, leaving out the following: “This mission (helping man on the path of salvation) serves to give an overall shape to the Church’s right and at the same time her duty to develop a social doctrine of her own, and to influence society and societal structures with it by means of the responsibility and tasks to which it gives rise.”
The Church’s social doctrine is firmly rooted in both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and that doctrine flows from the mission of the Church. When the Church teaches about the dignity of human work and the rights of workers to receive a fair wage, or when the Church teaches about banning of weapons that inflict excessively traumatic injury or that strike indiscriminately, or when the Church teaches about the right of children to live in a united family, the Church is expressing the practical ramifications of the belief we have about the dignity of humans made in the image and likeness of God.
In teaching the demands of justice and peace that are in conformity with Divine wisdom, the Church’s Social Doctrine fulfills our mission of proclaiming the Gospel and bearing witness to the dignity of all humans, and to the call to holiness that should mark every aspect of our lives.
From the time of conception to the time of natural death, every human being is owed – as a matter of justice – respect, compassion and love. Proclaiming this is the mission of the Church.
Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh