Sunday, December 7, 2014

Human Rights Sunday

Today is  Human Rights Sunday and we have a week in which to become familiar with the Social Gospel of the Church. All those who are interested only need to put:  'Compendium of the  Social Doctrine of the Church' in your search engine and click. We have at our finger tips a good preparation for Christmas.

In Korea, the  second Sunday of Advent, is Human Rights Day, and the bishops want each parish to devote a whole week to bringing our Christians to a better understanding of the Social Gospel.  Articles and the editorials in the Catholic Times and Peace Weekly discussed the Social Gospel and its role in the life of the Church. Many of our Catholics have a personal appreciation of their call as disciples, however, forgetting its social dimensions, they are separating their faith life from their daily life.

Many are the  ways we can summarize the principles of the Social Gospel and the following would be some you would see: human dignity, made for community,  participating in building society, option for the poor, solidarity, stewardship, subsidiarity, human equality, working for the common good.

The bishop head of the Justice and Peace Committee of the Korean bishops wants the Christians to be protectors of human rights of all the citizens. The Korean Catholics have with other groups been working to abolish the death penalty in Korea. One of the articles mentions the campaign that was launched by the bishops to gather signatures and sadly reports not a few of the parishes threw the petitions in the waste basket. Many still do not see any connection with  concern for the weakest members in society and our faith life.

Jesus asks us to love our neighbor as ourselves which means our neighbor's human rights are as important as our own. One lawyer is quoted: "To work for the common good is of the essence of our faith life and our duty. This is not only true of those who are working within the movement; human rights is just another word used for loving our neighbor and our faith life. Human Rights is an universal value for all Christians, and one with which we need to be involved. We should not politicize it with terms like liberal and conservative. " 

Words are merely words and we need them to express what we need to say; human rights is  another way of saying we need to love our neighbor, and especially those who are the weakest in society. They are the ones who need our help the most, for they have no one to speak for them.

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