Approx. read time: 2:20 min.
I recently taught an Intro to Catholic Theology class to first-year college students on Catholic Social Teaching. It was the crop-duster version, but at least an introduction.
These young people are also first-time voters. So I called my talk “Live, Work, Vote for the Land of the Rightside Up”—my term for the reign of God.
I focused on the seven themes of Catholic social teaching (CST) and why it matters.
It’s the “why it matters” part that makes CST not merely an optional add-on but the very foundation to how the Church understands its mission in the world.
So foundational, in fact, that everything I do—whether living, working, or voting—first has to pass through the CST filter.
The seven elements of Catholic social teaching are these:
- Life and the dignity of the human person
- Call to family, community, and participation in society
- Rights and responsibilities
- Preferential option for the poor and vulnerable
- The dignity of work and the rights of workers
- Human solidarity
- Care for God’s Creation
Which party, I ask you, which candidate, which ballot measure, meets the moral rigors of CST?
Hence you and I as people of conscience have work to do beyond casting a ballot.
In the past decade I have sent nearly 30 postcards—plus plenty of emails—to local, state, and national elected leaders on social stances and policies that work against the reign of God.
If they are of Christian faith, I write, “As a fellow Christian …” and if they are Catholic, I write, “As a fellow Catholic …”
These leaders need to hear from us! We need to hold them to account!
Locally I’m boots-on-the-ground engaged in work that speaks justice and relieves the suffering of those who lack resources, resilience, and voice.
Your boots-on-the-ground work for the reign of God may look different from mine. And that’s good, because the reign of God is … massive, and we each have a role.
For you and me it can never be enough to be “for” one candidate or another, whether local, state, or national. With all our heart and all our might we must be “for” the reign of God, here and now, in the world we are given.
I encourage you: Live, work, vote for the Land of the Rightside Up!
Coming soon, my ninth book, Living as Jesus Taught, is a collection of vignettes of what you just might look like when you are following the Master.
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Photo credit: video clip: Mary Sharon Moore, testifying at Eugene City Council on behalf of Opportunity Village housing for unhoused residents, July 3, 2013