Catholic Social Teaching: Just Wage

Written on: April 27, 2015

This month, both the House and the Senate have passed budgets that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, turn Medicaid into a block grant and cut billions of dollars from nutrition and education programs, while increasing spending on overseas wars and cutting taxes for the wealthiest. This, in a nutshell, is why the Federal budget is such a current “hot topic” for many Social Justice Organizations.

The Catholic Church has a long history of involvement in economic justice. Most recently the 1986 pastoral letter of the U.S. Bishops, Economic Justice for All which proclaimed that one of the main proving grounds of our faith, our love of neighbor and where we “fulfill God’s creative design,” is in our economic life.

Since then, Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI continued proclaiming that principle in their encyclicals. And Pope Francis stated that “Poverty in the world is a scandal. In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many hungry children, that there are so many children without an education, so many poor persons.”

Simply put economic justice looks at how the inherent dignity of all human beings is being met and honored. Are the physical, intellectual and spiritual needs of the 100% seen as necessary for the common good?

As Americans we cherish our three basic rights: “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”; as Christians we must even more, protect those rights for everyone. A good way to start is to reflect on several questions that NETWORK has provided: 1. Does our economic system place more emphasis on maximizing profits than on meeting human needs and fostering human dignity? 2. Does it promote excessive materialism and individualism to the detriment of justice for all and the common good? 3. Does it adequately protect the environment and the nation’s natural resources? 4. Does it do all it can to alleviate poverty?

One of NETWORK’s efforts to find budget solutions is the Faithful Budget (click to learn more).

Attached is a Reflection from the Center of Concern by Fred Kammer, SJ., director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute Loyola University, Louisiana.  Following his written reflection are Questions for discussion, resources and a prayer. We thank the Education for Justice project of the Center of Concern for permission to offer this resource to you for your further enlightenment and reflection.

Catholic Social Thought and Wages

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