To Be Catholic Is To Be Liberal (or is it vice versa?)

StFrancisXavierCatholicChurch_1906atlas_292x400Having the luxury of a Catholic education – complete with nuns in complete habits and the privilege of cleaning the blackboard at the end of the day, it strikes me now how liberal the Catholic Church’s teaching is on many social issues.  (It’s the personal stuff that skews conservative.)

First and foremost is care of the poor in all ways and means and in all shapes and forms.  Nothing is more important than a constant awareness of those who have less than ourselves and our duty in not only providing assistance but helping to solve how life’s ladder for them stopped at that particular rung.  Buying African “pagan babies,” for .25 each, as a young person, led to a grateful consciousness for Catholic Social Services and the St. Vincent de Paul Society as an adult.

The dignity of work is second only to the sanctity of life is in every Catholic social teaching.  Its definition hasn’t changed over the centuries:  a fair wage, a competitive opportunity for everyone and a balanced balance between employer and employee.  The creation of unions ensured a dignified opportunity for every employee and its Catholic grounding is as equal as ham is to cheese.

The family as that beginning stone which becomes the rock of your life is indisputable.  Ensuring its stability strengthens both the family as a child and society as an adult.

The value of education would make any Catholic’s top ten list.  Its concentration on discipline, routine and memorization may be mocked today but its seeds have taken root in this person’s small mind.  Although begun as a protection of its beliefs as a minority religion, Catholic education is still the “foot to the pedal” for future success and satisfaction.

The Church’s welcoming stance toward all people of all countries still stands tall with its “Sanctuary” protection practice that is still upheld in courts.

Peace must always be sought, even at the cost of impulsive anger or trigger-happy retaliation.  I smiled to myself when I read that every “war” since World War II has been a “president’s war.”  We may wish that life was like our quickening technology but the solidly peaceful road is always methodical and slow in coming.

At the top of each homework assignment three letters needed to be assigned.  “JMJ.”  The nun would not accept the work unless those letters were clearly printed.  “Jesus, Mary and Joseph.”  These three people were to influence our lives, direct our deliberations and be our guide like their exodus to Egypt.  Although it’s fanciful whether they ever made that journey or not, the idea remained in young, formative minds and told us that important stuff lies before us even before we graduated from eighth grade.

Liberal?  By today’s standards perhaps but always the SOP of the Catholic Church.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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