Outline Four of the Main Principles of Catholic Social Teaching and Then Discuss at Greater Length Some of Their Possible Applications in a Curriculum Setting.
Religion Assignment 1 Outline four of the main principles of Catholic Social Teaching and then discuss at greater length some of their possible applications in a curriculum setting. The central message of Christianity and thus our main focus as educators is quite simple in that it is profoundly social. “We cannot be called truly “Catholic” unless we hear and heed the Church’s call to serve those in need and work for justice and peace. “ (Communities of Salt and Light, U. S. Bishops, 1993) “Catholic social teaching is a central and essential element of our faith.
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Its roots are in the Hebrew prophets who announced God’s special love for the poor and called God’s people to a covenant of love and justice. It is a teaching founded on the life and words of Jesus Christ, who came “to bring glad tidings to the poor . . . liberty to captives . . . recovery of sight to the blind”(Lk 4:18-19)” (Office of Social Development & World Peace United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) There are 10 principles involved in the concept of Catholic Social Teaching. According to William J.
Byron they are: Human Dignity; Community/Common Good; Rights and Duties of the Human person; Preferential option for the poor; Call to Participation; Economic Justice; Stewardship of Creation; Virtue of Solidarity; Subsidiarity – The responsibilities and limits of the government and the Promotion of Peace. In this essay I will focus four of the main principles: Human Dignity; Call to Participation; Rights and Duties of the Human person and Promotion of Peace in reference to the current Alive O religious education programme.
Human Dignity is at the core of all Christian teaching- according to the Vatican II Ecclesiology, “The Church is a sign and a safeguard of the dignity of the human person,” in that the human person is sacred, constructed in the image and likeness of God, thus to work for social justice and human dignity is a deeply religious act. “My dear people, we are already the children of God, but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed; all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is” (1 John 3:1-2)
The concept of us being children of God is rooted in the major themes of the Alive O Foundation Programme, for example- “We Belong to God: Lesson 12” In this lesson the teacher is aiming to, “Lead the children to an awareness of God as Creator and as the one who sustains all creation. ” (Alive O1:P86) This lesson is therefore, helping the children to understand the being that is God, to develop a relationship with God and to realise that they belong to God- all basic elements of the concept of Human Dignity.
We, as Catholic Social educators want to guide the children to the understanding that we all have an eternal destiny in God. This ultimately means that, “Every human being has equal dignity with every other, for each individual human life is directly related to God, as its source and cause, its end and destiny, regardless of the outward appearances of strength, beauty and intelligence. ” (www. secondspring. co. uk/course) In relation to the call to participation, it is important to remember that all people have a right to a minimum level of participation in the economic, political and cultural life of society.
Therefore it is morally wrong to withdraw this participation or exclude a person unfairly. “Basic justice demands the establishment of minimum levels of participation in the life of the human community for all persons. The ultimate injustice is for a person or group to be treated actively or abandoned passively as if they were nonmembers of the human race” This is a very prominent theme in the PDMU primary school programme when KS2 children examine conflict situations and how to manage conflict. It focuses on conflict locally and also on a global scale.
Teachers use support materials such as “BBC Primary Focus” or “Intercultural Insights by the Corrymeela community” to enable pupils to understand that we have the responsibility to maintain the human dignity of all people. This lends itself quite well discussion on the role of government in the preservation of human dignity and the call to participation. The government is the main instrument through which people cooperate to achieve the desired common good however, it is important to note that most representatives are not in government for the common good but for their own interests.
The common good which I am referring to could be put into a global context through international organizations such as the United Nations, Amnesty International or Trocaire. This would subsequently provide an excellent link for teachers between looking at the universal actions of Jesus in his life, ministry and works with the actions of these organizations in today’s society- the word of God in action, so to speak. The Alive 07 Programme is a prime example of how children are called to participate in society and as such become full members of the church, through the preparation for and receiving of the sacrament of Confirmation. Explore the children’s experience and understanding of “call” and deepen their sense of the call to prophecy in their own lives” (Alive O7:T1:L2) Children are encouraged to respond to God’s call and be a witness to the Gospel in their own lives. However, as suggested in the Alive O7 book, responding to the call of the Lord has implications for children at home, in school and in the wider community. “Selfishness, Bullying, excluding others and winning at all costs are not ways in which the call is answered” (Alive 07:T1:L2)
In essence one could suggest that this is in direct correspondence with the main themes of Catholic Social Teaching. The concept of the rights and duties of the human person is closely linked to the dignity of the human person. Human rights are bestowed by God upon his people and are grounded in the nature and dignity of the person are not afforded by government legislation and according to Catholic Social Teaching a right is a moral claim based on ones dignity and there are essentially two types.
Firstly, there are civil and political rights which consist of the right to vote and the right to free speech etc. Secondly, there are economic and social rights which consist of the right to food, shelter, work and education. “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, and housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. (http://www. un. org/en/documents/udhr/article25) However, alongside the rights that we have as human beings come responsibilities to ourselves, to our families and to wider society. This runs directly parallel with the aims of the New Revised Curriculum as we are aiming to develop children as individuals, as Contributors to Society and as contributors to the economy and the environment. The main theme in which this comes under in the Alive O Programme is through the teaching and learning of The 10 Commandments. Enable the children to situate the 10 commandments in a New Testament context, in the context of their present day world” (Alive O7:Lesson11:T1) The PDMU programme in Year 7 also indicates the importance of social responsibility through the examination of many social issues which our young people face in today’s society such as the Use of Alcohol, Drugs, Puberty and Adolescence, Smoking and the Wonder of New Life. Finally, Catholic Social teaching promotes peace as a positive, action-oriented concept, a perspective which is extremely relevant here in Ireland, due to our political and historical background Peace is not just the absence of war. It involves mutual respect and confidence between peoples and nations. It involves collaboration and binding agreements. ” (Pope John Paul II) There is a close relationship in Catholic social teaching between peace and justice. Peace is ultimately the fruit of justice and it is this concept that we must strive to put across to our pupils. Peace comes from the unity between humans and the Holy Father, not through political agenda or ideological program.
This is portrayed excellently by the Corrymeela Community in Ballycastle, with their publication of Intercultural Insights. This publication addresses the issue of conflict here in Ireland and tries to highlight that we are all God’s children and we all exist in equality in God’s eyes. This would prove rather useful to teachers who are trying to discuss conflict issues, help children realize that peace is not simply the absence of war, but the presence of justice. If you want peace, work for justice” (Pope Paul VI, World Day of Peace Message) Reference List: •Reilly, B. Maloney, C O’Connell, F, Alive O Series 1-7: (2003) VERITAS Publications: Dublin •Northern Ireland Curriculum: Personal Development and Mutual Understanding: Key Stage 2 •(Living, Learning, Together. ) •Boldt, S. Intercultural Insights: Corrymeela Community Resource Booklet (2008) All Ireland Churches’ Consultative Meeting on Racism/Irish inter Church Meeting