Sunday, February 22, 2015

Susan Rakoczy — The best kept secret of the Catholic Church—its social teachings


Papal encyclicals and letters on social justice and social teaching began with Rerum Novarum (1891). The Latin term rerum novarum, literally new things, signifies revolution. It was the Church's answer to revolutionary Marxism. 

This teaching was continued and expanded in Quadragesimo Anno, Pacem in Terris, Mater et Magister, Populorum Progressio, Mulieres Dignitatem, Laborem Excercens, Centisimus Annus, Caritas in Veritate, and Evangelii Gaudium. Pope Francis is presently working on an encyclical on ecology.
The response from Catholics to these developments has been mixed. Surveys of young Catholics indicate that “many young adults are inspired by Catholic social teaching, affirming that this is the dimension of church doctrine with which they must clearly identify.” The adult education program “Just Faith” has helped Catholics to become familiar with new thinking, but conservatives often take exception to any criticism of capitalism and growing inequality. For them, the Church’s teachings on economic justice are not ‘good news.
Open Democracy
The best kept secret of the Catholic Church—its social teachings
Susan Rakoczy | Professor of Spirituality at St. Joseph’s Theological Institute and the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

It's not just the Church's social teaching that is its "best kept secret." This is also the case with its mystical tradition, and many of the greatest mystics such as Meister Eckhart and Madame Guyon, are still treated as heretics. This is quite different in the Orthodox tradition. For example, the tradition of the spiritual teacher is alive and well in Eastern Orthodoxy. In the Russian Orthodox Church, spiritual teachers are generally monks recognized as being of high spiritual caliber. The Russian word is staretz, similar to guru, lama and roshi in other Eastern traditions.

3 comments:

Matt Franko said...

It is already the case that at least US Presidential elections swing on the "socio-economic justice" issue...

If instead of "compassionate Conservative" GWB ran against "the 47%" like Romney, GWB would NEVER have won..

The Just Gatekeeper said...

I am beyond happy that our church is finally returning to its true social purpose and moving away from the sex policing issues which dominated the latter half of the 20th century.

Another secret about the church is the vast majority of Catholics never cared about the sexual issues, and certainly didn't practice them.

People are finally waking up to the fact that the sexual issues were fabricated by certain church officials over time and have nothing to do with Christ's gospel. Nothing but good can come from this...

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