Tag Archives: solidarity

Work, culture and education according to Benedict

Last week Benedict XVI spoke to people who belong to various movements in the Church that make contributions to work, culture and education. Why is my posting this important? Because I believe what the Pope has to say is crucial in following his lead in the life I lead, and I believe it is helpful for others who desire to live similarly. I am confronted –in a good way– with questions about the value of work, culture and education and the place of the Church in these sectors. As Father Giussani told us, the Church is not here to fix our problems but to offer us a lens by which we can judge the reality in front of us so that we can fix a problem. Pay close attention to what Benedict has to say:

Work is not only an instrument of individual profit, but it is a moment in which to express ones’ own skills with a spirit of service in a professional activity, be it factory work, agricultural, scientific or otherwise,” 

“Culture, voluntary service and work constitute the indivisible trinomial of the Catholic laity’s daily life, which makes belonging to Christ and the Church more real, in the private as much as in the public spheres of society.” 

The lay faithful put themselves in the game when they touch one or more of these contexts and, in the cultural service, by showing solidarity with those in need and on the job, they strive to promote human dignity.”

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We have a common, irreducible destiny…in God: let’s live like it

New Year greetings are exchanged between the Holy
Father and the authorities of the City of Rome, the Region of Lazio, and the
Province of Rome. On one level this meeting is a formality, because it is. But
there is a deeper issue at hand: collaborate with others to build up the
Kingdom even when your partner is perhaps secular. As Saint John Bosco did, as
well as countless other good educators, if you want to influence others, then
get to know the other person. Rome’s ecclesial leaders aren’t always on the
same page as the civil leaders, but absenting oneself from the other is no way
to advance the good life. And the Pope realizes this fact. 

He said on January

“The challenges we are currently facing are numerous and complex, and can
be overcome only if we reinforce our awareness that the destiny of each of us
is linked to that of everyone else. For this reason … acceptance, solidarity
and legality are fundamental values. The present crisis can, then, be an
opportunity for the entire community to verify whether the values upon which
social life is founded have generated a society that is just, fair and united,
or whether it is necessary to undertake a profound rethink in order to
rediscover values which … not only favor economic recovery, but which are
also attentive to promoting the integral good of human beings.”

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Benedict XVI reviews 2011: our encounter with Jesus Christ, inflaming our love for God and for others

The review of the proclamation of the Gospel in 2011 by the Pope is a stunning reminder that not all is complete if not rooted and grounded in Christ. His questions are good points for self-examination. Be careful to read the emphasis added to the text.

Benedict with Roman Curia Christmas 2011.jpg

The occasion that brings us together today is always particularly moving. The holy feast of Christmas is almost upon us and it prompts the great family of the Roman Curia to come together for a gracious exchange of greetings, as we wish one another a joyful and spiritually fruitful celebration of this feast of the God who became flesh and established his dwelling in our midst (cf. Jn 1:14). For me, this is an occasion not only to offer you my personal good wishes, but also to express my gratitude and that of the Church to each one of you for your generous service; I ask you to convey this to all the co-workers of our extended family. I offer particular thanks to the Dean of the College, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who has given voice to the sentiments of all present and of all who work in the various offices of the Curia and the Governorate, including those whose apostolate is carried out in the Pontifical Representations throughout the world. All of us are committed to spreading throughout the world the resounding message that the angels proclaimed that night in Bethlehem, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of good will” (Lk 2:14), so as to bring joy and hope to our world.

As this year draws to a close, Europe is undergoing an economic and financial crisis, which is ultimately based on the ethical crisis looming over the Old Continent. Even if such values as solidarity, commitment to one’s neighbour and responsibility towards the poor and suffering are largely uncontroversial, still the motivation is often lacking for individuals and large sectors of society to practise renunciation and make sacrifices. Perception and will do not necessarily go hand in hand. In defending personal interests, the will obscures perception, and perception thus weakened is unable to stiffen the will. In this sense, some quite fundamental questions emerge from this crisis: where is the light that is capable of illuminating our perception not merely with general ideas, but with concrete imperatives? Where is the force that draws the will upwards? These are questions that must be answered by our proclamation of the Gospel, by the new evangelization, so that message may become event, so that proclamation may lead to life.

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Poverty Eradication and Intergenerational Justice: Stewardship, Solidarity and Subsidiarity

This coming year Pope Benedict is going to spend time teaching matters of Justice. In fact, he’s called for a new emphasis on Justice several times in the past year. St John’s University is a college operated by the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians), the religious order founded by the great Saint Vincent de Paul who had a special love for the poor and marginalized but also taught that one can’t effectively serve the poor without an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. For Saint Vincent de Paul, in order to walk with the poor one had to first first walk with the Lord. To that end, the Vincentian Fathers, Brothers and laity organized the Vincentian Center for Church and Society.

Next week, there is the 7th Biennial Vincentian Chair of Social Justice at St. John’s University (Queens, NY Campus) on “Poverty Eradication and Intergenerational Justice: Stewardship, Solidarity and Subsidiarity” to take place on October 22, 2011. 

More information can be found here: Poverty Eradication and Intergenerational Justice.pdf

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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