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Fr. Barron on Kerry Kennedy's "Being Catholic Now"

Fr. Barron on Kerry Kennedy's book:

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j. christian said...

Considering the place of social justice in Christian practice, the Holy Father tells us that it needs to be understood in the proper order. He compares two events with a bread motif: Satan tempting Jesus to turn the stone to bread, and the multiplication of the loaves. The former he refuses, the latter he wills. The difference is that the crowds "had left everything in order to come hear God's word. They are people who have opened their heart to God and to one another; they are therefore ready to receive the bread with the proper disposition... Jesus is not indifferent toward men's hunger, their bodily needs, but he places these things in the proper order."

Jesus rejects the temptations to power. God comes first; the bread follows. Unfortunately, many Catholics believe it is power alone that produces bread. Again, we'd be wise to recall the words of our Pope:

"The earthly kingdoms that Satan was able to put before the Lord at that time have all passed away. Their glory, their doxa, has proven to be a mere semblance. But the glory of Christ, the humble, self-sacrificing glory of his love, has not passed away, nor will it ever do so."

Arthur said...

Every time I hear a Catholic speak of social justice I groan. My wife and I volunteer as much as we can and we never see the "social justice" Catholics anywhere.
When I hear a Catholic politician talk about social justice, I grab my wallet.

Anonymous said...

Justice is giving each his due. God deserves worship, and humans deserve respect as members of the Mystical Body of Christ. The Catechism says that the virtue of justice is *acquired* in part through human efforts... but that because of the Fall it is very hard to live it well. So we need grace to do it, and therefore we need the sacraments to strengthen us with grace. The sacred liturgy and the promotion of social justice go hand in hand. Only when souls are transformed by grace can they go and transform the world.

Anonymous said...

Amen! We shouldn't let the Marxists masquerading as "social justice" advocates ruin the real, genuine Catholic concept.

Deusdonat said...

Arthur, I don't know if you were trying to come off as biggoted, but that's the way your post sounded. How do you know the other people around you are not interesed in social justice? And just what is a "social justice crowd"? Someone who is Catholic and believes in church teaching? As another poster noted, the social justice teaching in the church is not Marxist or revolutionary by any stretch. And you shouldn't errantly associate this concept with a certain "crowd" other than those faithful to the church.

LargeBill said...


When Arthur mentioned to the "social justice crowd" I believe he was referring to those who justify voting for abortion supporting politicians by claiming the pol would further social justice.

As far as the Marxism stuff, you're right that Catholic social justice teaching in the church is not Marxist. However, when politicians confuse government confiscation and redistribution with personal charity it we end up straying that direction.

Douglas said...


I won't presume to speak for Arthur. So, I'll just say what I would mean by social justice crowd. Populist Catholic politicians and politically liberal Catholics who are convinced that we should all fork over higher taxes so the government can fail even more spectacularly at serving the needs of the poor.

Think about it, Catholic politicians who want to cherry-pick only the Church's social justice teachings that that qualify as politically correct in order to construct a populist message that will appeal to their liberal base and endear them to Catholic voters. Oh, and endear them it does.

Together these populist Catholic politicians and their cafeteria Catholic supporters are making mincemeat of true social justice, picking and choosing which bits to take and which to criticize the Church over. Frankly, they deserve to be labeled as something - "crowd" is as good as anything - and avoided like the plague.

Anonymous said...

To return to Fr Barron's review: the social justice crowd are those contibutors to this one-sided Kennedy compilation and their ilk.
Day in and day out nominally Catholic politicians throughout the cultural West get up and leave the Church when the homily sets their skin to itching - and that's without ever having gone to Mass!

The only thing that qualifies them as "social justice Catholics" is that the only part of Church teaching they are willing not to disagree with is that nice, cozy social justice stuff - and this is where Father Barron observes that anyone - Budhists Jews and Atheists - can agree with THAT part of the church. It takes a Catholic to follow all of Her teachings.
A few names come to mind
Cantwell, Biden, Dodd, Durbin, Harkin, Kennedy, Kerry, Landrieu, Leahy, Mikulski, Murray, Reed, Kucinich, Dingell, Moran, Murtha, Rangel, and let us not forget our budding Curch historian and moral theologian Nancy Pelosi.

Concern for Social Justice then is necessary but insufficient to the Catholic life well lived.

Anonymous said...

There is a "social justice crowd," and, as I see it, many (not all) of them prefer using the poor for political demonization rather than getting their own hands dirty or emptying their own pockets to help them.

Deusdonat said...

Bill and Douglas, I understand your comments, but I don't agree with them. If what you say is true, then "Social justice crowd" is a misnomer. I believe in the church 100% and by the grace of God will die in that state. And one of the teachings is on Social justice. I do not extrapolate that or misinterpret that teaching to include Marxism, abortion, same-sex marriage etc, but I believe in it. I believe societies have a responsibility to look after the "least of our bretheren" and that we as Catholics continue (as well we should) to lead the way.

Phil said...

"Social Justice" is a term created by the left to justify a political agenda which involves larger government and higher taxes. The Church's teaching on "social justice" issues are encompassed in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The political left has renamed these teachings in an effort to advance a political agenda. I, like Arthur, bristle at the use of term "social justice" for its political implications and the political left's attempt to co-opt the concept for political gain. Our Church and its members are much more effective than any government at performing these works of mercy. Call it what it is, corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

Deusdonat said...

Phil, I can't speak or argue who created the phrase or to what end. I simply equate it to what was laid out in Rarum Novarum and the previous and subsequent statements on the subject, culminating in the formation of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. First and foremost is the church's stance on human dignity and the sanctity of life. I don't think any rational thinking person believes this means everyone gets to drive a Mercedes. So, there are always going to be people who will try to distort these teachings to suit their own agendas. So, I am unwilling to relegate anyone who is interested in social justice to the left corner of any faction with the womynpriests, pro-abortionists et al.

There are severe dangers and evils in Capitalism, just as there are in Communism, totalitarianism etc. These are man-made constructs against which the church has spoken out on several occasions. This is why every society and form of government needs to have the church at the very least as a beacon (or watch dog) on issues of social justice (justitia et pax).

Phil said...


Go back and watch the video. Fr. Barron speaks clearly about use of "social justice" as a wedge issue by the left (which is the genesis of this thread). If you want to pretend that the left has not used the buzzword of "social justice" to advance its agenda, fine. The sentiment expressed in these comments by more than one poster seem to refute that belief. So to avoid negative connotations to the phrase "social justice," let's call it what the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls it, works of mercy (CC Section 2447).

I did not advocate for Capitalism over Communism, which you feel compelled to argue for some reason. My point was that government, whether capitalist or communist, is far less effective than the Church at performing works of mercy.

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