Expand CBCP committee on stewardship

BREAKTHROUGH - Elfren S. Cruz - The Philippine Star

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines recently announced the creation of a committee on stewardship. This will be headed concurrently by the CBCP president Bishop Pablo Virgilio David. This is a laudable project because stewardship is one of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. I would strongly urge, however, to expand their committee to include the advocacy of all Catholic social teachings among the clergy and the laity.

For those who are still unaware, here is a brief introduction to the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. This body of social principles and moral teachings is articulated in papal encyclicals dealing with economic, social and political order. The following are a few examples with brief descriptions:

• Rerum Novarrum (On the Condition of Labor) – Pope Leo XIII, 1891

This encyclical began the modern Catholic social teaching. This seminal work on modern Catholic social thought addresses the plight of the industrial workers in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. It calls for the protection of the weak and the poor through the pursuit of justice while excluding socialism and class struggle as legitimate principles of change. It affirms the dignity of work, the right to private property and the right to join professional associations, i.e., labor unions.

• Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth) – Pope John XXIII, 1963

Converting the entire spectrum of relations between individuals, between the individual and the community and between nations, John XXIII affirms the inviolability of human rights. Peace based on mutual trust can be well founded only if undergirded by a unity of right order in human affairs arising from a genuine respect for and adherence to the law of God.

• Populorum Progressio (On the Development of Peoples) Pope Paul VI, 1967

Calling attention to the worsening marginalization of the poor, Paul VI presents the various dimensions of an integral human development and the necessary conditions for growth in the solidarity of peoples. Only with an accompanying theological reflection on liberation from justice and on genuine human values can there be true development towards a more human condition.

• Octogesima Adviens (A Call to Action) Pope Paul VI, 1971

Realizing the need for a genuine renewal in domestic and international societal structure, Paul VI calls on Christians to live up to the duty of participation in social and political reform as a way of discovering the truth and living out the Gospel. Christians are not just encouraged, but are told it is their duty to join the struggle for social and political reform.

• Justicia in Mundo – Synod of Bishops, 1971

Calling attention to the structural roots of injustice afflicting human relations, the bishops declare that “action in the pursuit of justice and participation in the transformation of the world” are constitutive elements in the Church mission of preaching the Gospel.

• Laborem Exercens (On Human Work) Pope John Paul II, 1981

Exhorting Christians everywhere to be involved in the transformation of existing socio-economic systems, John Paul II presents work as a fundamental dimension of human existence through which the “social question” must be viewed. The meaning of work can only be properly understood when the dignity of labor is taken as an underlying presence.

• Centesimus Annus (The Hundredth Year) Pope John Paul II, 1987

This social encyclical was issued by John Paul II as a landmark event in contemporary religious thought about human freedom and its embodiment in culture, economics and politics. It talks about the role of profits and the need for a living wage in Chapter 4, paragraphs 30 to 43 entitled “Private Property and the Universal Declaration of Material Goods.”

• Evangeli Gauduiim (The Joy of the Gospel) – Pope Francis, 2013

“Trickle down “is the basic tenet for distribution of wealth by capitalism. It says that as the rich get richer, some of their wealth will “trickle down” to the rest so that eventually even the poor will become prosperous. Here is what Francis wrote.

“Some people continue to defend trickle down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed.

“While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few.”

• Laudato Si (Praise Be To You) Pope Francis, 2015

Pope Francis critiques consumerism and irresponsible development, laments environmental degradation and global warming and calls all people of the world to take “swift and unified global action.”

He laments pollution, climate change, lack of clean water, loss of biodiversity and an overall decline in human life and breakdown of society. “Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years... Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and the distribution of goods.” He says there has been “... a relentless exploitation because of apathy, the reckless pursuit of profits, excessive faith in technology and political shortsightedness.”

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Writefest2021, our annual 6-session workshop is ongoing with 24 students. Young Writers’ Hangout on July 24 with award winning author Weng Cahiles, 2-3 p.m. Contact writethingsph@gmail.com. 0945.2273216

Email: elfrencruz@gmail.com

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