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Saturday, April 04, 2009

An important distinction often missed

"Charity will never be true charity unless it takes justice into account ... Let no one attempt with small gifts of charity to exempt themselves from the great duties imposed by justice."

Pope Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris , #49
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The distinction is important.

Unfortunately, the difference between works of charity and struggles for justice is usually lost on people, especially people of faith.

There is a fundamental difference that must be understood and embraced if we are to make any sustainable progress.

For a clear delineation of this important distinction in very clear terms, take a look here.

Reactions, as always, welcome.
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“Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31:9


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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Larry, this strikes a chord with me!Your comment "Unfortunately, the difference between works of charity and struggles for justice is usually lost on people, especially people of faith."

I believe that we both agree that most of the country's woes are cause by people f faith.

Chris said...

Social justice is just another name for redistribution of income more than any individual impulse. Listen to the words of Barack Obama.

" There's nothing wrong with making money but there is something wrong when we allow the playing field to be tilted so far in the favor of so few---it's a legacy of irresponsibility, and IT'S OUR DUTY TO CHANGE IT."

When the top 25% of wage earners pay 86% of the taxes to fund entitlement programs, he might be more careful in what he says.

How is this for an idea of social justice--since one must usually take a drug test to get a job in order to create wealth, why shouldn't one be required to take a drug test in order to receive benefits? Sounds just to me.

Larry James said...

Anon 7:38, thanks for taking the time to post here. I must disagree with your analysis that most of our problems are caused by people of faith. Things aren't that simple or clear. I know some people of faith who understand, who are committed to working to benefit the poor and to make the system more responsive and more just to all. I work with a whole team of folks like this, almost all are people of faith, including me! Frankly, I think most people of faith just need to be challenged and enlightened. I'm not sure faith leaders are doing all they can to see that happen.

Sarah said...

I absolutely agree. And interesting to consider that neither charity nor justice can be effectively achieved without the other.

Anonymous said...

Chris:

As usual, you change the subject at whim. But, I must ask, exactly what part of the quote is erroneous:

1) There's nothing wrong with making money (I'm assuming you agree with this)
2)there is something wrong when we allow the playing field to be tilted so far in the favor of so few (I think recent events have borne out that this has in fact happened - e.g. execs who took their companies down the tubes getting huge bonuses anyway)
3)it's a legacy of irresponsibility (if it's so, isn't it irresponsible to allow it to continue?)
4)IT'S OUR DUTY TO CHANGE IT (this follows naturally from 2 and 3).

So where's the problem? You state it like it's self-evident this statement is problematic. It's not.