Friday, December 15, 2017

Human Rights and Mission

The Korean Catholic Church from 1982 has selected the second Sunday of Advent as Human Rights Sunday and the second week as Social Doctrine Week. This year is the 50th anniversary of the publication of the encyclical of Pope Paul VI on the Development of Peoples.
The message for the week is social renewal, peace, and interest in the socially disadvantaged. One  continually emphasized by the church. With these words, the editorial of the Catholic Times reminds the readers of the interest necessary to seek change in society.

With the help of many citizens, we have seen the beginning of a new government but the evils that have been accumalated will not be easily dislodged in a short period of time. But this is the time to begin. 

Renewal is the word most appropriate for what is necessary for society at present. Christians should be "people hungry and thirsting for what is right" (Matt. 5:6). With prayer and solidarity with others we work for the building up of God's kingdom here on earth.

The teaching on Peace by the Church is very clear. In a talk given at the Blue House in 2014, Pope Francis said we are faced with the: "perennial challenge of breaking down the walls of distrust and hatred by promoting a culture of reconciliation and solidarity."  Military competition, rivalry, criticism and military parades are useless in bringing about peace was the message. We must think deeply about what will bring peace to the peninsula.

The Justice and Peace Committee  stressed the need to be concerned with the care of the weak in society. A  first interest of the Church is to be with those who can't defend themselves: farmers, fishing populations, migrants, workers, against the abrogation of the law against abortions, and against the death penalty.  Christians have this mission of building a culture of life and working for the protection of these values.

This week is one in which parishioners should become familiar with the church's teaching on human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was approved by 48 votes, none opposed and eight abstaining. It was a big step that was made for the first time accepting fundamental human rights to be universally protected. The Church has made the declaration something that should be followed and made known.

Pope John 23rd in his Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris commends the  Universal Declaration of Human Rights not withstanding certain defects: "Nevertheless, we think the document should be considered a step in the right direction, an approach toward the establishment of a juridical and political ordering of the world community. It is a solemn recognition of the personal dignity of every human being; an assertion of everyone's right to be free to seek out the truth, to follow moral principles, to discharge the duties imposed by justice and to lead a fully human life. It also recognized other rights connected with these."

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