Action for Justice
The Christian vocation entails action for justice, peace and ecological stewardship. This is based on the dream of Jesus to establish the Kingdom of God. School communities act for justice when they demonstrate a commitment to the poor and marginalised, actively work for peace and practise stewardship of the earth.
A consistent theme of Catholic social teaching is the option or love of preference for the poor. Today, this preference has to be expressed in worldwide dimensions, embracing the immense numbers of the hungry, the needy, the homeless, those without medical care, and those without hope (On Social Concern, 1987, n. 42).
The school seeks to look beyond itself and engage with activities that promote consciousness of issues of poverty in the world. Poverty takes many forms and is not just restricted to the hungry and homeless. A Christian understanding of poverty encompasses a poverty of spirit as well as material poverty. Thus, the poor might include those who are marginalised by the dominant culture, those who lack emotional support or those who suffer discrimination because of their difference.
Within a Christian world view, peace in the world begins with a conversion of heart in the individual.
Respect for and development of human life requires peace. Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication among people, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity. Peace is “the tranquillity of order.” Peace is the work of justice and the effect of charity (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994, n.2304).
Catholic and ecumenical schools seek to structure their physical, emotional and relational environments in ways that promote peaceful relationships and support the development of peacemaking skills. The making and maintaining of peace in a school community is an ongoing challenge. However, in John’s Gospel, Jesus reminds his followers that peace will prevail in spite of difficulties.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
For Christians, stewardship is the conviction that every gift of nature and grace comes from God and that the human person is not the absolute owner of his or her gifts or possessions but rather the trustee or steward of them. These gifts are given in trust for the building of the Kingdom of God.
Christians are called to appreciate the spiritual and theological significance of all creation. In doing so, they exercise stewardship of the planet and its resources. Christians are called to care for all creation and to exercise sound moral judgements about the use of the world’s resources. There is a moral imperative to take into account the welfare of future generations as well as those deprived of a fair share of the world’s resources in these times. Catholic social teaching calls each individual and each community to show concern for the common good and to work for peace and justice in the world.
The most profound motive for our work is this knowing that we share in creation. Learning the meaning of creation in our daily lives will help us to live holier lives. It will fill the world with the spirit of Christ, the spirit of justice, charity, and peace (On Human Work, 1981, n.25).
Catholic and ecumenical schools are encouraged to incorporate service learning into their curriculum. Service learning involves deepening one’s understanding of the scriptural foundations and meaning of Christian service and how Christian service is exercised in a practical way as a response to identified social issues and areas of need. Christian service includes active engagement in outreach and immersion experiences that benefit both those engaging in Christian service and those receiving such service. Critical reflection on experiences of Christian service in the light of the gospel and the social teaching of the Church is an integral dimension of service learning in a Catholic Christian school.
Action for Justice Document Library