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70. Reading The Signs of the Times

 70. Reading The Signs of the Times: A basic introduction to Catholic social teaching (John Ferguson, Helen Kearins RSM and David Brennan)
It is hoped that this resource will make some basic aspects of Catholic social teaching accessible to ordinary Catholics.

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The year 2011 marked the 50th anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s encyclical Mater et Magistra. To mark this occasion, the ACSJC has issued a collection of short discussion guides on Mater et Magistra and a number of other important social justice encyclicals: Rerum Novarum (Pope Leo XIII, 1891), Quadragesimo Anno (Pope Pius XI, 1931), Octogesima Adveniens (Pope Paul VI, 1971), Laborem Exercens (Pope John Paul II, 1981) and Centesimus Annus (Pope John Paul II, 1991).

In addition to these discussion guides, there is an outline of the well-known see, judge, act method (sometimes known as the ‘pastoral cycle’) that was devised by Cardinal Joseph Cardijn, and a discussion of some of the basic principles of Catholic social teaching.

55. A Love that does Justice

55. A Love that does Justice (Fr Neil Brown)
This paper discusses the fundamental issues of charity, morality, love and justice, and considers their interconnections in a Christian life.

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Fr Brown examines the different faces of love and sums it up as “following Christ's way of looking at and responding to the world around us”. Justice he names as “the reality check of love”. This link of justice with Christ's love enables us to discern our path when we are presented with valid, but competing claims of justice. Charity, “the gift of Christ's own Spirit to us, is” our feeble human love, challenged and enabled to become adequate to express God's own love in the world.

52. The Beatitudes and Justice

52. The Beatitudes and Justice (Fr Gerard Moore SM)
Gerard Moore enunciates the characteristics of the Beatitudes and then asks the crucial question: What does it mean for us to live out today the beatitudes of Jesus?

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He answers by exploring the kind of “heart” they require of us in thorough, deep and thoughtful consideration of each beatitude in turn, drawing on examples from our daily lives and the sad, at times violent and terrifying, world we live in.

This paper would be particularly valuable as a resource for small group discussion and for personal reflection.

49. From Ethics to Spirituality

49. From Ethics to Spirituality (Gerald Gleeson)
The author demonstrates through close analysis of the familiar exhortation of the prophet Micah: we are 'to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with our God'.

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Distilling some of the key philosophical and theological insights of the Catholic moral tradition into clear, simple, observations, he concludes that 'the bigger story is the story of salvation in Christ, of the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, which alone make ethical life possible, and of the virtue of humility, which is the practical foundation of our Christian lives in which we aspire to the heights to which God is calling us'. This paper shows us the path towards development of an interior disposition that confidently reflects the mind of Christ. Our responses must be embedded in prayer, enriched through Scripture, and nurtured in the Sacraments by means of a life in communion together.

48. The Lord Hears the Cry of the Poor

48. The Lord Hears the Cry of the Poor: The Magnificat Revisited (Sr Marie Farrell rsm)
Linking the Old Testament tradition of the anawin, the poor of Yahweh who wait for justice in the coming of the Messiah, with fulfilment in the person of Jesus as the Christ.

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Sr Marie Farrell shows how this prayer of Mary gives perfect expression to the cry of the poor. Through reflection on the Magnificat as the “great canticle of discipleship” we are reminded of our own responsibility to hear the cry of justice for the poor, the oppressed, the marginalised and those seeking a safe haven in our land.

43. A Spirituality for Justice

43. A Spirituality for Justice (Fr Gerard Moore SM)
This paper examines various perspectives that lead us to justice: in education, a spirituality for justice will not only contain a hunger for knowledge, we need also to be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

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A sense of wonder, of humility, of hope; all these are part of our ongoing conversion. The inspiration of a vision will balance the helplessness that can overwhelm us when we hear only of instances and practices of injustice. Our impetus for this conversion requires understanding and exploring a cluster of attitudes in the light of fundamental questions such as neighbour, creation, symbol, worship, the Word, and sin. Finally, the question of a specific Christian politics is explored, knowing that the naming and renaming of Christ as the centre of our lives leads ineluctably to a politics of the good.

34. The Holy Spirit of Social Justice

34. The Holy Spirit of Social Justice (Fr Gerard Moore SM)
In The Holy Spirit of Social Justice, author Fr Gerard Moore puts the spotlight on the Gospel to illuminate its relevance to social justice.

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Selecting key texts from the New Testament and from the Hebrew Scriptures, Fr Moore interprets the ancient stories which tell of the presence of God's Spirit in our world. He poses questions relating the Biblical texts to actions and philosophies we can follow today in our pursuit of social justice for all.

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