Catholics in the Public Square – Revised 4th Edition
FOREWORDby Jose H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles
Catholic social teaching gives us a vision of the world as it could be and as it should be. The world as God created it to be.The gospel of Jesus Christ is the most radical doctrine in the history of ideas. If the world believed what Jesus proclaimed — that God is our Father and we are all brothers and sisters created in His image with God-given dignity and a transcendent destiny — every society could be transformed overnight.
Of course, human sin and weakness always stand in the way of God’s beautiful plan for creation. Every structure of social injustice starts in the hearts of individuals. Societies do not sin, people do. So for Catholics, social reform means more than raising consciousness, expanding opportunities, and building new programs. Those things are necessary. But true justice and lasting peace require the conversion of hearts and the renewal of minds.
The Catholic vision is spiritual not political. Catholics belong first of all the “city of God.” But we have a duty to build up the “city of man,” to correct injustices and seek a world that reflects God’s desires for His children — what Jesus called the kingdom of God and the Apostles called the new heaven and new earth.
The Church articulates universal principles that are rooted in the laws of nature and that reflect the wisdom the universal Church has gained in more than two thousand years of serving people under many different nations, cultural realities, government systems, and economic orders.
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