Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bishops consult on Social Teaching document

Action: please respond to this consultation! The bishops want your views: give them. Their last document on the subject, 'The Common Good', was abysmal. One key problem is a complete failure to understand or address the negative effect of government policy on family life. Click on the 'Family Policy' tab above to see the most recent of the innumable stories on this blog on this subject, including reports on the stready torrent of studies which show that the tax and benefits system encourage not only divorce but even the separation of unmarried co-habiting parents of young children. This situation is diabolical: for the Catholic bishops to ignore it in a document about 'social justice' is scandalous. If they do it again, let it not be because we failed to mention it to them!

Comments and observations about the Social Teaching Document to be sent by post to:

Archbishop Peter Smith
Social teaching document consultation
39, Eccleston Square

By e-mail to CSTconsult@cbcew.org.uk

Press release: Bishops consult on Social Teaching Document

A consultation period has been launched today by the bishops' working group on a proposed new Social Teaching Document. Contributions are invited from the lay faithful, agencies and groups.

The new document will seek to present the essence and application of what has often been described as the Catholic Church's best kept secret; its social teaching, to some of the issues facing society today. It will be particularly pertinent at a time of great turbulence in the global economy and change in our society. It will seek to make clear that social teaching is an integral dimension of the Gospel message, always rooted and founded in a life of prayer.

The Archbishop of Cardiff, the Most Reverend Peter Smith, Chairman of the Social Teaching Document Working Group says: "I think the document which we are preparing will be an important one, not only in helping to set out in a creative and constructive way the Church's contribution to the debate about the sort of society we want to make, but also to give our own people confidence in their generous work for the common good which is part of the Kingdom of Christ."

The proposed framework for the document identifies four areas in particular: the current social and cultural context (with globalisation, the need for a moral ecology of the markets and the changing meaning of family life being, among others, areas for exploration); the theological context; possible topics and crowd of witnesses - a section which would look at contemporary examples of men and women, and organisations and communities whose life and work are inspired and sustained by the Gospel.

A great deal has changed in culture and society since the Common Good was written by the Bishops of England and Wales in 1996. Although much of this statement on Catholic social teaching is still relevant; the new social teaching document will not be a second edition of the Common Good.

A working group of seven bishops has been charged with taking the new document forward - Archbishop Peter Smith, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, and Bishops Chris Budd, David McGough, Declan Lang, Michael Campbell and Malcolm McMahon. The bishops hope to complete their work by the autumn of 2009.


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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen