Saturday, August 30, 2014
Neutrality not a Possilbility
Question number three: When you have a difference of opinion on social issues, and a portion of the citizens criticizes the Church for being followers of the North and leftist, is it not better to be neutral?
The professor says the word neutral has a naturally good meaning. However, it is not a word we use when we are concerned with right and wrong. When we are neutral in the face of good and evil, we are saying evil is OK. When it is a question of justice and injustice neutrality is tolerating injustice. We are not living according to the Gospel.
There is a need for all of us to be acquainted with the Social Gospel of the Church to deal with the problems that we have in society. The Social Gospel is concerned with politics, economics, human rights, labor, peace, environment, human life issues as seen in the light of the Gospel. This is not something we can believe or not believe; it is not a matter of choice but an obligation. "In so far as it is part of the Church's moral teaching, the Church's social doctrine has the same dignity and authority as her moral teaching. It is authentic magisterium, which obligates the faithful to adhere to it" (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church #80).
Pope Francis mentions in the Joy of the Gospel the importance of the Social Message. "This Exhortation is not a social document and for reflection on those different themes we have a most suitable tool in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, whose use and study I heartily recommend " Joy of the Gospel # 184). The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church was published in 2004 and is composed of teachings from the encyclical and Church Documents from the time of Leo XIII.
Pope John Paul II gave the work of compiling the Compendium to the Vietnamese Cardinal Nguyễn Văn Thuận who spent 13 years in prison under the Communists. He died in 2002 and will be beatified shortly. His successor was Cardinal Renato Martino, who finished the Compendium.
The current state of affairs and the way the Church views them and the actions taken are based on the teachings found in the Compendium. Many Catholics are not familiar with the teachings of the Church on these issues, and label those who are following the teachings as pro-North and leftist. If they are going to use these labels, they will have to include the popes and the whole of Catholicism.