Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Concern for Human Rights Within Religion-- Peripheral or Essential?

Dec. 4th was Human Rights Sunday in the Korean Catholic Church and begins the Social Doctrine Week. The bishop's message for the day  reminds the Christians of tension experienced by the military build up, approval of the terror law, the death of a farmer in a peaceful demonstration, the plight of workers and the unemployed, voice of the 'comfort women' and the unsettled problems with the Sewol Ferry tragedy. These and many other issues need to be solved.

Both the Catholic Times and Catholic Peace Weekly have editorials and articles for Human Rights Sunday.  The Church realizes that it may not have done a good job in catechizing the parishioners on the horizontal dimension of our faith life, concentrating for  many years on the vertical: God and ourselves.

Many Christians want the Church to keep quiet on politics, security, science, economics, in these areas, they say, the Church has no authority. "The Holy Spirit is not involved and each one is free to follow their own conscience: a matter of choice." Christians need to keep their eyes closed, ears blocked and remain satisfied with personal salvation. Sad, but also a reminder that a poor job was done in the teaching of Christians.

Human Rights are concerned with the dignity of the human person who was made in the image of God. Consequently, unreasonably to restrain a person's inalienable rights and freedom is wrong. Government concern for family needs to be highlighted. Labor should always be considered more important than capital and skill.

The world of finance also has to be governed by virtue. The increase in wealth needs to be related to the human family community: selecting the poor as a concern for society and industry. The common good has to be always present in our thinking. Peace between nations is always the goal  of our government  taking all the necessary means. We  need to stop the competition with armaments and gradually to reduce  what we have.

We as Christians need to respect the personal rights of others. To make a just and a peaceful society we need to be willing to give up part of what we possess for the good of the greater community. What we have we need to possess wisely and share what we can with those who are in need. We need to be conscious of the solidarity with all our brothers and sisters.

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