If You Want Justice, Work for Morality
October 2002By Doug Tattershall
Doug Tattershall is the Media Relations Coordinator for the Lexington Public Library in Lexington, Kentucky.
I heard it from the pulpit one day at Mass, so it must be true. The division in the Catholic Church isnt a matter of dissent versus fidelity. Its not even a matter of liberal versus conservative. Its a matter of those who emphasize social justice versus those who emphasize personal morality, and we really need both to be fully Catholic. So let us stand and profess our faith .
Wait a second, Padre.
I know a lot of personal morality Catholics who think oppressing the poor and defrauding laborers of their wages are sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance. However, I see a lot of social justice Catholics advocating a justice that includes handing out condoms, legal abortion, easy divorce, and homosexual marriage. So much for the two sides complementing each other.
This social justice vs. personal morality divide has the convenience of presenting both sides as legitimately Catholic they both are faithful, they just emphasize different aspects of the faith, right? Its a pleasant thought, the idea that our division really isnt a division, and if by social justice Catholics we mean the Missionaries of Charity, it would be true. But nowadays so-called social justice Catholics tend to be rather ambivalent about the Missionaries of Charity and others like them. Theyll give the good nuns a pat on the head for their nice work with the poorest of the poor, but it really isnt social justice in their book. Mother Teresas missionaries arent nearly political enough and theyre far too faithful to the Churchs idea of personal morality.
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