Alienation

Consumerism

Human Environment

Physical Environment

Secularism

Church Identified 4 Pathologies

What are the pathologies destroying our culture and how do we fix them? Catholic social teaching identified four for our attention, specific to the developed world. They are Consumerism, Human Ecology, Alienation, and Radical Secularism. “The decisive issue is the overall moral tenor of society.” (Synod of Bishops, XIII Ordinary General Assembly)

Alienation

The loss of the “authentic meaning of life” (Pope St. John Paul II) and distinguished by personal and societal. “A man is alienated if he refuses to transcend himself and to live the experience of self giving” (Pope St. John Paul II) and “when he stops thinking and believing in a foundation.” (Pope Benedict XVI). We are children of God and belong to Him. “A society is alienated if its forms of social organization, production and consumption make it more difficult to offer this gift of self and to establish this solidarity between people.” (Pope St. John Paul II)

Consumerism

A style of life directed towards “having” rather than “being”. It is a “web of false and superficial gratifications.” Pope St. John Paul II declares that “a given culture reveals its overall understanding of life through the choices it makes in production and consumption.” He goes on to criticize how “economic life is absolutized… when man is seen more as a producer or consumer of goods than as a subject who produces and consumes in order to live”. We are made for so much more than what we buy and sell. Catholic social teaching calls for educating consumers in responsible choices; formation of a strong sense of responsibility among producers, especially among the mass media; the “necessary” intervention by public authorities regards drug use, pornography, and “other forms of consumerism which exploit the frailty of the weak.”

Radical Secularism

Skeptical relativism basically holds that there is no such thing as an objective truth. There’s just what I believe, you believe, a group, a nation believes, nothing is objectively true. Catholic social teaching forcefully challenges this. Pope Benedict XVI made combatting relativism a theme of his pontificate: “The greatest challenge of our time is secularization”​ and it takes courage to face the clamor of truth is decided by the majority or is completely dependent on the individual or circumstance. “Without truth, without trust and love for what is true, there is no social conscience and responsibility, and social action ends up serving private interests and the logic of power…” (Pope Benedict XVI).

Ecological Issues

The Ecological question looks at the natural world around us, our physical environment; and the social structures in which we grow, live, and work, our human environment. “In his desire to have and to enjoy rather than to be and to grow, man consumes the resources of the earth and his own life in an excessive and disordered way…” Pope Francis echoes St. John Paul II’s words, “so often we are driven by greed and by the arrogance of dominion, possession, manipulation and exploitation; we do not preserve nature.” Pope Francis calls our planet “our common home” and continues the call for an “authentic human ecology” where “duties towards the environment are linked to our duties towards the human person” (Synod of Bishops, XIII Ordinary General Assembly). The stewardship of this Earth is linked and rooted in the stewardship of our brothers and sisters. “We are called not only to respect the natural environment, but also to show respect for, and solidarity with, all the members of our human family. These two dimensions are closely related”. (Pope Francis)

Two happy parents laugh along with their child as they gather around a meal table, symbolizing that the human family must be the answer to the 4 pathologies

The Family is the Answer

The only answer to these pathologies, to fixing this “more serious destruction” of our human environment, is – what Pope St. John Paul II calls “the first and fundamental structure for human ecology that we must concern ourselves with” – the family “​founded on marriage​ in which the mutual gift of self by husband and wife”. The family is God’s gift and reflects His Trinitarian nature. “It is necessary to go back to seeing the family as the sanctuary of life.” (Pope St. John Paul II) Pope Francis affirms “the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another.” We must also see humanity as a family in order to bring about the needed radical solidarity.

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ABORTION

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IMMIGRATION

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TAX POLICY

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UNIONS

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RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

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CENTRALITY OF MARRIAGE

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THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

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HEALTHCARE

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DRUG ABUSE

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JUST WAGE

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PORNOGRAPHY/TRAFFICKING

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FREEDOM OF PRESS

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PROPER EDUCATION

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WELFARE (GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE)

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