The ripple effect of what we do is most of the time unknown to us. As Catholics many of our actions seem to be quite harmless and what we say of no real consequence, but if we took time to study in depth what has transpired, we may hesitate in coming to such a decision. Cause and effect are not that easily determined but there is no question that certain causes do bring about certain effects.
This Sunday in Korea is Human Rights Sunday. Human Rights are a topic of great interest in Korea for many of the Bishops and leaders in the Church feel we have not done a good job in making this part of our Gospel message. Many years ago there was much talk on whether is was an essential, fundamental, indispensable or integral part of the message. When politics get involved we have difficulty keeping the needs of our brothers and sisters in focus and are side-tracked by words.
The Catholic Times' editorial on the the 31st Human Rights Sunday, the second Sunday of Advent, brings the issue back to our attention. The bishops have not only made it a one day concern but have declared it a Human Rights Week. The reason for the emphasis is that seeing and hearing what many say and do within the Church makes many doubt whether the Christian message is sufficiently understood: the dignity and value of all life becomes narrowed done to our personal and family needs.
The editorial acknowledges that we have made strides from where we were. We do not have the number of savage violations of the rights of others that we saw in the past. But we do still have violation of the freedom and rights of citizens.
The Church's stand on the issue rests on the respect for human dignity that comes from the creation of humanity in the image of God. Which does not allow for the use of humans as means no matter how worthy. In Korea we continue to have the capital punishment, and abortion problem and the problems with poverty and the treatment of the handicapped. This concern for the rights of our brothers and sisters is a fundamental mission of the Church.
The bishop chairman of the bishops' Justice and Peace Committee in his message to the Catholics on Human Rights Sunday asks that the Christians become familiar with the Social Gospel of the Church and use the teaching as a tool to create a human society that respects the dignity of all, and the importance of the human community in the pursuit of the values of truth, justice, freedom and love.