Catholic Social Teaching is…
When you can’t say to someone, “I’m Catholic” or “I have faith in God”, how would the way you behave, what you say or how you treat others show other people you are a person of faith?
…. And they will know we are Christians by our Love (a line from “We are one in the Spirit” which we sing at church.)
Catholic Social Teaching is the reason you have chosen St Gregory’s for your child, and it is as relevant for the adults of our school community as it is for the children we are teaching. The most effective way of teaching our children is through modelling to them the behaviours we wish to see them grow up with.
Let’s take a look at: Human Dignity
There are so many times when Jesus teaches us about how we should live, how we should treat each other. Perhaps the most famous of his stories concerns the Good Samaritan.
We are all very familiar with the parable but it is worth noticing a few details:
- Jesus told us about the Good Samaritan in response to a question from a lawyer who asked what he should do to inherit eternal life. It might have been a trick question, a trap for Jesus to say something that could have been used against him.
- Jesus answered directly and told the man that he needed to love God and love his neighbour as himself. This prompted a second question: But who is my neighbour? This question and the answer Jesus gave have echoed down the centuries: Jesus told his audience then and tells us now about someone in need of help. The “good people” including a priest, ignored the cries for help and the only person who answered was someone from the ‘enemy camp’. The Jews hated the people from Samaria and Jesus knew that his story would annoy the listeners and ……. make them think. And it should make us think as well.
Everyone is our neighbour, everyone deserves our help. We are all made in God’s image and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. A simple message but a very powerful one!
Faith in Action
Things to think about and how you and your family can put this Catholic Social Teaching principle into action:
- What are a person’s basic needs? What makes me special? How should we treat each other? Do I treat absolutely everyone as though they are the image of God.
- Why is having a home so important? Should everyone have a home? How would it feel not to have a home? How would this impact on your mental and physical health?
- Justice/unfairness in the way that people are treated – Do I challenge others if I see them being unjust to anyone perhaps because they appear to be different to them (the way they look, their culture, faith, where they live, what they eat) - Do you join in, stay silent or walk away? Don’t stay silent – speak up! A non-confrontational way of doing this is to say: “I feel uncomfortable with what you just said.” This is a good place to start if you have never challenged anyone before. This will hopefully challenge them to think about what they have said.
- Notice differences and celebrate them.
- When you do help others, do you shout about it or so this confidentially so that the person receiving your help maintains their dignity?
- Could you make one change with your shopping and buy one Fairtrade item? By doing this, you are helping people to receive a fair price for their product, mainly in less economically developed countries.
If you have a minute, dig out the parable of the Good Samaritan. It’s in chapter 10 of St Luke’s Gospel or watch it HERE:
- See what you notice when you read/listen to it. Perhaps think about opportunities to help others: how have you responded in the past and how do you want to respond in the future?
We have a wonderful Catholic community here at St Gregory’s – the word ‘catholic’ means ‘all encompassing’ and ‘for everyone’ – I dearly hope that EVERY FAMILY in our school community feel safe and secure and know that this community is for them….and every other family. There are so many examples of people looking out for one another…..keep it up!