Grade 7 Unit 4

Grade 7, Following Jesus, Unit 4 Faith In Action
Additional Outreach Project Ideas

Prayer Service

Leader Guide

Catholic Social Teaching in This Unit: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

"Faithful citizenship calls Catholics to see civic and political responsibilities through the eyes of faith and to bring our moral convictions to public life. People of good will and sound faith can disagree about specific applications of Catholic principles. However, Catholics in public life have a particular responsibility to bring together consistently their faith, moral principles, and public responsibilities."

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility (2003)

Faithful Citizenship

There are a number of Web sites devoted to the Catholic Worker Movement that contain its history, educational documents, and links to organizations that work for peace and justice. Check outwww.catholicworker.org, a Web site compiled by people affiliated with the Catholic Worker Movement.

Subscribe to The Catholic Worker, the newspaper that was started by Dorothy Day in New York City in the 1930s. Subscription or copy requests must be sent by regular mail to The Catholic Worker, 36 East First Street, New York, NY 10003, United States.

Engaging in the Public Forum

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) publishes resources on faithful citizenship including implementation ideas for families, religious education directors, and teachers and principals. Visit their Web site at www.usccb.org/faithfulcitizenship.

Below are more excerpts from USCCB statements on other major public policy issues. They can be found at www.usccb.org.

Refugees and Immigration:

"Our nation is currently experiencing an immigration crisis. Since 1990, the number of undocumented persons in the country has almost tripled, from approximately 4 million to an estimated 11 million persons today. From 300,000 to 500,000 new arrivals enter each year and reside in the United States without documentation, a large majority of whom work in vital sectors of our nation's economy, such as agriculture, construction, and service. At the same time, the U.S. government has spent nearly 25 billion dollars since 1993 to secure the U.S.-Mexico border. During that period, the number of Border Patrol agents has tripled, and, tragically, more than 2700 migrants have died in the deserts of the American Southwest."

"In their 2003 pastoral letter, Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope, the U.S. Catholic bishops called for a series of reforms to the broken U.S. immigration system. These include (1) policies to address the root causes of migration, such as global poverty, (2) reform of our legal immigration system, including an earned legalization program, a temporary worker program with appropriate worker protections, and reductions in waiting times in family-based immigration categories, and (3) restoration of due process for immigrants."

USCCB Office of Migration & Refugee Policy, "Comprehensive Immigration Reform,"www.usccb.org/mrs/mrp.shtml.

Welfare:

"USCCB and [Catholic Charities USA] support welfare reform policies that: protect human life and dignity; strengthen family life; encourage and reward work; preserve a safety net for the vulnerable; build public/private partnerships to overcome poverty; and invest in human dignity."

Welfare Policy: TANF Reauthorization (June 2005), www.usccb.org/sdwp/national/tanf605.htm.

Housing:

"The Catholic bishops support a national housing policy that includes: preservation and production of quality housing for low income families, the elderly and other vulnerable people; as well as the participation and partnership of residents, nonprofit community groups, and churches to build and preserve affordable housing. Churches, community groups, the private sector, and state and local government must all do more to meet our common responsibility for housing. However, there is no substitute for an involved, competent, and committed federal government. (Homelessness and Housing, 1988)"

Housing and Community Development (February 2006),www.usccb.org/sdwp/national/housing206.htm.

Iraq:

"... our bishops' Conference repeatedly expressed grave moral concerns about the military intervention in Iraq and the unpredictable and uncontrollable negative consequences of an invasion and occupation. Similar concerns were articulated powerfully by Pope John Paul II and the Holy See. The events of the past three years, the absence of evidence of weapons of mass destructions and the continuing violence and unrest in Iraq have reinforced those ethical concerns. In light of the moral criteria of the just war tradition, our Conference remains highly skeptical of the concept of 'preventive war.'" ...

"At the same time our nation cannot just look back. We must now look around and look ahead. The intervention in Iraq has brought with it a new set of moral responsibilities to help Iraqis secure and rebuild their country and to address the consequences of the war for the region and the world. The central moral question is not just the timing of U.S. withdrawal, but rather the nature and extent of U.S. and international engagement that allows for a responsible transition to security and stability for the Iraqi people."

Toward a Responsible Transition in Iraq, a statement of Bishop Thomas G. Wenski (Bishop of Orlando and Chairman, USCCB Committee on International Policy) (January 12, 2006),www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/iraqstatement0106.htm.

Minimum Wage:

"Work has a special place in Catholic social thought: work is more than just a job; it is a reflection of our human dignity, and a way to contribute to the common good. Most importantly, it is the ordinary way people meet their material needs and community obligations. In Catholic teaching, the principle of a living wage is integral to our understanding of human work. Wages must be adequate for workers to provide for themselves and their families in dignity. Although the minimum wage is not a living wage, the Catholic bishops have supported increasing the minimum wage over the decades. The minimum wage needs to be raised to help restore its purchasing power, not just for the goods and services one can buy but for the self-esteem and self-worth it affords the worker. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops supports legislation that would increase the minimum wage and is urging Congress to raise the minimum wage in a timely and meaningful way."

Minimum Wage (February 2006), www.usccb.org/sdwp/national/minwage206.htm.


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