Social Justice Groups
Social Justice Ministry
Social Justice Ministry is the main Social Justice group at Saint Sebastian Parish.
Visit the El Salvador Mission page to learn more.
Visit the Respect Life page to learn more.
Saint Vincent de Paul Society
Visit the Saint Vincent de Paul Society page to learn more.
Knights of Columbus Council 14255
Visit the Knights of Columbus page to learn more.
In a world warped by materialism and declining respect for human life, the Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred, and that the dignity of the person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. Our belief in the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching.
Today, this value is threatened by abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, the death penalty, and the many ways in which people are treated with disregard for their human dignity.
Each human is the clearest reflection of God's presence in the world; all of the Church's work in pursuit of both justice and peace is designed to protect and promote the dignity of every person. For each person not only reflects God, but is the expression of God's creative work and the meaning of Christ's redemptive ministry. From The Challenge of Peace, U.S. Bishops, 1983.
Call to Family, Community and Participation
The human person is both sacred and social. We realize our dignity and rights in relationship with others, in community. Human beings grow and achieve fulfillment in community. Human dignity can only be realized and protected in the context of relationships with the wider society.
How we organize our society — in economics and politics, in law and policy — directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. The obligation to "love our neighbor" has an individual dimension, but it also requires a broader commitment. Everyone has a responsibility to contribute to the good of the whole society, to the common good.
Rights and Responsibilities
People have a fundamental right to life and to those things necessary for human decency, such as food, shelter, health care, education and employment. People have a right to participate in decisions that affect their lives.
Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities — to one another, to our families and to the larger society. When people lack the basic necessities to live a life of dignity, their fundamental rights are being denied.
In the world where some speak mostly of "rights" and others mostly of "responsibilities," Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met.
The Poor and the Vulnerable
Catholic teaching proclaims that the moral test of society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. This calls on us to look at public policy decisions as they relate to the poor. The "option for the poor" is not an adversarial slogan that pits one group or class against another. Rather it states that the deprivation and powerlessness of the poor wound the whole community. Today in our society, only 20 percent of the people control more than 80 percent of the resources, leaving few resources to be shared by a majority of the people.
In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgment (Mt. 25: 31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.
The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
In a marketplace where too often the quarterly bottom line takes precedence over the rights of workers, we believe that the economy must serve people, not the other way around. From 1988 to 1998, the salaries of corporate executives grew 15 times faster than the salaries of low level workers, not enough to even meet the increased cost of living.
If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected – the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to organize and to join unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.
Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of ongoing participation in God's creation.
Catholic social teaching proclaims that we are sisters' and brothers' keepers, wherever they live. We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. Solidarity means that "loving our neighbor" has global dimensions in an interdependent world.
Care for God's Creation
All of creation is a gift from God and should be respected as such. We show our respect by the way we care for the earth as stewards of all that has been entrusted in us. We need to examine how our excessive consumerism and poor environmental practices are exploiting the earth. Finally, we must take measures to correct our destructive patterns.
Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan. It is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all God's creation.
Promotion of Peace
Catholic teaching promotes peace as a positive, action-oriented concept. In the words of Pope John Paul II, "Peace is not just the absence of war. It involves mutual respect and confidence between peoples and nations. It involves collaboration and binding agreements."
There is a close relationship in Catholic teaching between peace and justice. Peace is the fruit of justice and is dependent on right order among human beings.
We beseech You, Lord, to be our helper and protector.
Almighty God, who has created us in Your own image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of Thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Catholic Social Teaching
Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Office for Social Justice
Social Teaching Documents
First Friday Club
Nov 5, 2010 presentation on "Reflections on Modern Catholic Social Teaching" is available through their web site:
Books on Catholic Social Teaching
Social Development and World Peace
Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions
Reflections of the U.S. Catholic Bishops
Social Justice and Peace
Resouces for Catholic Educators
A Basic Introduction to Catholic Social Justice
Social Justice Teaching and Documents
Organizations Working for Social Justice
Diocese of Cleveland Social Action Office
Catholic Commission of Summit County
Network – A Catholic Social Justice Lobby