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Catholics for the Common Good PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 22 September 2008 06:54
It's a 21st century thing: the 5:30 am airport blog. I started this post yesterday . . .

Catholics for the Common Good is a new west coast (California) initiative that looks very interesting in this election year.

They call themselves a "New Catholic Action". In 1927, Pope Pius XI defined Catholic Action as "the participation of the laity in the apostolate of the hierarchy". This understanding of Catholic Action broadened considerably as a result of the debates at the Second Vatican Council where it was debated whether the laity were apostles in their own right, by virtue of their baptism, rather than through the delegation of the hierarchy.

Today the term is seldom used in the US so it is interesting that Catholics for a Common Good have reclaimed it.

As their website puts it:

"We often hear Catholics criticize bishops and priests for not taking more active leadership roles on cultural and public policy issues that conflict with the most fundamental doctrines of the Church. Many are surprised to learn that it is an error to demand political leadership from bishops. That is not their job.

As the late Cardinal Jan Schotte, former Secretary-General of the Synod of Bishops, put it, a bishop is "neither a politician, a businessman nor an administrator, but rather has Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd as his model." As Jesus did, the bishops teach. And they have done that well, providing the Church with a body of social teachings faithfully based on Sacred Scripture and reason. These provide moral guidance for our time and culture, but they have not always been readily accessible and many Catholics are unaware of them.

While it is the role of the bishops to teach, the Church teaches it is the vocation of the laity to sanctify the world by their social and political participation. Therefore, it is actually our job or duty to provide leadership and engage our culture with faith and charity. In reality, a "cultural" effect can be accomplished through work done not so much by an individual alone but by an individual as "a social being," that is, as a member of a group, of a community, of an association or of a movement.

Such work is, then, the source and stimulus leading to the transformation of the surroundings and society as well as the fruit and sign of every other transformation in this regard.

As Catholic Christians, we are called to inform our consciences by our faith and to give witness to what is true for the benefit of society as a whole - the common good. This is a direct response to our baptismal promises, for which the sacrament of Confirmation has also prepared us. We must pray that the power of the Holy Spirit prepares our hearts to enable us to advocate with faith, reason, and charity."

CCG has an interesting board of ecclesial advisors, including Archbishop Niederauer of San Francisco, Bishop Vigeron of Oakland, Mark Brumley of Ignatius Press, Gil Bailie, William E. May, and my former Michael-in-crime, Fr. Michael Sweeney, OP, who is now President of the Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology in Berkley.

Anyway, they have a lot of good resources on Catholic social teaching and are information about some current California events.

Check thou it out.

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