8 thoughts on “ECONOMIC JUSTICE: Occupy Wall Street and Catholic Social Teaching

  1. Here in Canada, thousands of ordinary citizens have been speaking out locally in our major Canadian cities and acting in solidarity with this “now global movement” as you refer to it, since the “Occupy Wall Street” phenomenon and the “Stop the Machine and Create a New World” event in Washington. October 2011 represents an awakening of the human spirit. These are stirring echoes of the opening lines of “Gaudium et Spes” from the documents of Vatican II.

    This spontaneous yet concerted grassroots public action, as well as the media coverage, has helped many of us to realize that although our national economic banking system has not been so tragically decimated as the American Wall Street model, nevertheless it is now more evident than ever before that much of Canada’s political and economic system is corrupt and unjust. We suffer from the same basic evils and social sin.

    Systemic economic reform throughout the Americas is clearly and urgently needed right now. And yet for the most part, Catholics here are also silent. Your point is a brilliant insight into one of our common ecclesial struggles today.

    Silence. Apathy. Unemployment. Fear abounds unchecked and escalates daily. Our shopping malls & commercial as well as industrial sectors are faltering and becoming shuttered or gated with new security fences and public/private police forces being deployed everywhere.

    Furthermore, this unravelling of our society reveals a universal flaw here in the Catholic community of the Americas today: Silence always supports the rich and powerful, never the poor and weak!

    Saint Oscar Romero of the Americas once publicly and prophetically diagnosed our fundamental social problem when he declared that: “La causa de todo nuestra malestar es la oligarquia”. Twenty five years ago, our Canadian Catholic bishops issued a pastoral statement called Ethical Reflections on the Current Economic Crisis.

    We understand that Pope Benedict is expected to issue a letter or statement about this. But let’s be clear about this. Our Catholic social teaching calls all of us to speak up for the poor and weak. Subsidiarity and collegiality are central to our self-understanding as Catholics in a global community.

    So let us not only raise our voices but also put our bodies (and invite our bishops) out on the streets together with our courageous brothers and sisters of the Occupy movement.

    Thank you for helping to move this dialogue into our communities. You are an inspiration for many.

    Larry Carriere
    Pax Christi Toronto

  2. AS Catholics we must remember – to keep our Faith alive both personally and socially is our predominant Social Responsibility 1 Whether we live and work under a capitalist or a socialist government should make little difference to us ! If the capitalists shoulder their fair share of social responsibilities or the socialists do not destroy human freedom – then we can live and work with either group ! Of course communists or nazis who wage warfare against class or race are anathema to Catholic Social Teaching – which emphasizes the Brotherhood of All Men (and women – of course ) and thus forbid separating men on these grounds ! Also – Fascism with its belief of the State as the highest Authority is verboten – too 1 Only GOD rules the Catholic ! So go out and make the rich pay – for the labor they daily exploit ! For the roads they and their employees drive to work on ! For all the government services they access for free ! For the pure joy of living in and for being AMERICAN ! Frank – PAX FRATER !

  3. We must remember not to engage in demonization and wealth envy. I recently read some research that showed that “percentage-wise”, a disproportionate number of saints came from privileged circumstances.
    St. Francis and Louis IX, for one but there are many others. Have you seen a picture of the house that St. Therese(the Little Flower) grew up in? By some standards her family would be considered wealthy.
    Let’s also be thankful for what we do have. Back in the Great Depression, there was no Social security, no food stamps, no unemployment insurance, no Medicaid and no mortgage insurance. Wehave all that today
    Going back to St. Francis, he did not seek to reform the economic system of his day (which was not just), but rather himself and then the Church.

    Going back to St. Francis, he did not seek to reform the economic system of his day (which was not just), but rather himself and then the Church.

  4. St. Francis new( and God acting through him) that if you could reform the Church, and increase the spirituality of its members, then it would have a ripple
    effect in society at large. I believe a Distributist system (advocated by GK Chesterton) would be the better way to go, but we have what we have now.
    I think we should meditate on the fact that there are so many who are willing too enter this country with it’s “Evil” capitalism and that most of these
    people are coming here from the Catholic country of Mexico and those
    of Central America.
    Furthermore, the Occupy movement has shone itself to be one of destruction,
    mayhem,drug use, sexual assault, and sexual promiscuity-this is not good.

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