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Suggests more instruction on Catholic social teaching Print
Letters to the editor
Thursday, Jun. 23, 2011 -- 12:00 AM

To the editor:

After rereading Father Sirico’s column and all the letters published in your paper (Catholic Herald) concerning the growing financial and social gap in the United States, I have a suggestion. Please consider locating a writer who has in-depth knowledge of Catholic social teaching to develop a series on this topic that is currently so important in our diocese.

I have noticed short articles in the Catholic Herald over the past weeks on Archbishop Dolan’s comments on Rep. Ryan’s budget proposal, a conference on the currency of the encyclical Rerum Novarum, and a plea from two Catholic bishops to Congress and the White House to care for the “least of our brothers and sisters” in budget development. Perhaps someone from one of these sources such as Catholic University faculty could write such a column.

Centesimus Annus contained both the quotation on the welfare state used by Father Sirico and my quotation about just wages and unbridled capitalism. This encyclical speaks to many other areas of social justice as demonstrated by these two additional quotations:

“35. Here we find a wide range of opportunities for commitment and effort in the name of justice on the part of trade unions and other workers’ organizations. These defend workers’ rights and protect their interests as persons, while fulfilling a vital cultural role, so as to enable workers to participate more fully and honorably in the life of their nation and to assist them along the path of development.”

“Certainly the mechanisms of the market offer secure advantages: they help to utilize resources better; they promote the exchange of products; above all they give central place to the person’s desires and preferences, which, in a contract, meet the desires and preferences of another person. Nevertheless, these mechanisms carry the risk of an ‘idolatry’ of the market, an idolatry which ignores the existence of goods which by their nature are not and cannot be mere commodities.”

The complexity of even this one encyclical calls for instruction as to the basic theological principles behind Catholic social teaching and our application of this teaching to today’s life here in our diocese. I hope the Catholic Herald develops such a series of articles for our instruction and guidance.

Bill Dagnon, Baraboo