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Theme: Life and Dignity of the Human Person


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Title: Theme: Life and Dignity of the Human Person

Theme Life and Dignity of the Human Person
Life and Dignity of the Human Person
  • The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is
    sacred and that the dignity of the human person
    is the foundation of a moral vision for society.
  • This belief is the foundation of all the
    principles of our social teaching. In our
    society, human life is under direct attack from
    abortion and euthanasia.
  • The value of human life is being threatened by
    cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and the
    use of the death penalty. Catholic teaching also
    calls on us to work to avoid war.
  • Nations must protect the right to life by finding
    increasingly effective ways to prevent conflicts
    and resolve them by peaceful means.
  • We believe that every person is precious, that
    people are more important than things, and that
    the measure of every institution is whether it
    threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the
    human person.

Take out a piece of paper
  • Stay completely silent throughout the entire
  • Write down as many positive/good qualities about
    each person presented.
  • Completely describe what you see.

Use your imaginations to name a positive or good
characteristic about each person.
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What does this lesson present?
We need to See and Respond
  • D Dignity...of the Human Person
  • C Callto family, community, participate
  • R Rights and responsibilities
  • O Option for the poor/vulnerable
  • W WorkDignity and Rights of Workers
  • S Solidarity being one family (love)
  • C Care for Gods Creation

Building the Foundation CST
  • The foundation of the house is our fundamental
    belief in the dignity of the human person. This
    is so important that we need to dwell on it. It's
    not just an idea that emerged in the 19th or 20th
    century. We can trace it all the way back to the
    Book of Genesis. We are made in the image and
    likeness of God. Vatican II said that the role of
    the Church in the modem world is to be the sign
    and safeguard of the dignity of the human person.
    So this is the cornerstone-the reason why we have
    a social teaching. Everything flows from this.

  • Now I have a friend who has a priceless
    collection of Sports memorabilia. You can't just
    put these objects in a closet. He had a custom
    cabinet designed to hold and display them. Then
    he had the house alarmed as a protection. The
    point is, when you have something precious, you
    have to design structures to protect it. The
    walls and roof of our house are human rights,
    which protect human dignity. Human rights are
    civil and political as well as economic, social,
    and cultural. They spell out what we're entitled
    to just by being human. In many countries, the
    Church is the lone voice speaking out for human
    rights. We do so because they affect human

Family Room
  • In the family room of our house we are reminded
    that we are called to community and to active
    participation in society. We are not isolated
    individuals but we are linked to others in our
    family, workplace, neighborhood, and community.
    This is how we work out our salvation, not alone,
    but with and through others. We are not observers
    on the sidelines we contribute to society
    according to our talents.

Dining Room
  • In society, we come in contact with the poor and
    recognize that we are called to have a preference
    for them. So, in our dining room, there are
    places reserved for the poor. They have a
    standing invitation to be there, together with
    us. Because they are voiceless and powerless, we
    are ready to stand up for them, to have a special
    love for them. Again, this is not something new.
    The prophets in the Old Testament told us that
    how we treat those on the margins--the widows,
    the orphans, and the aliens could judge the
    quality of our faith. Without concern for them,
    our faith is shallow, hollow.

The Office
  • There are rooms in our house where different
    forms of work go on. There's the kitchen where
    meals are prepared, the study where tax returns
    are worked on, the internet where the teens have
    learned to surf, etc. Our social teaching tells
    us that those workers have a dignity and certain
    rights precisely as workers, that work has a
    dignity. This teaching came as a response to the
    industrial revolution in the late 19th century
    when workers were exploited, mistreated, and
    discounted. The Church was there to say clearly
    that workers have the right to organize, the
    right to collective bargaining, the right to a
    just wage, and the right to a safe work

  • But our house is not a self-contained universe
    it has windows on the world. We are called to be
    in solidarity with the rest of the world. Pope
    John Paul II describes solidarity as a "firm and
    persevering determination to commit oneself to
    the common good that is to say the good of all
    and of each individual because we are all really
    responsible for all." Now that statement could
    overwhelm us--being told that we are responsible
    for all, but it's understood that we can only do
    what one human being can do. The important thing
    is the orientation, the attitude, and the lens
    through which we look at the rest of the world.
    We can't pull down the shades of our windows on
    the world because, in fact, the whole world is
    our home.  

Outside Landscape
  • Finally, the lawn in front of the house reminds
    us of our duty to care for God's creation. This
    goes far beyond recycling, but it can begin
    there. We have over-consumed and damaged much of
    our environment. We need to repair and care for
    the earth as stewards of creation.

Life and Dignity of the Human Person
  • Respect for all life
  • All stages of life
  • Primacy of humanity

Current issues
  • Abortion
  • Euthanasia
  • Capital Punishment
  • War

2 Call to Family and Community
  • Fulfillment in families and communities
  • Government rightly ordered when the family is
    safe guarded
  • Community open to all
  • Everyone has an obligation to contribute to the
    good of the community as a whole.

2 Issues
  • Breakdown of the family
  • Isolation of the elderly
  • Policies or social trends that deemphasize the
    focus on the family as the essential unit
  • Lack of open avenues for participation in
    political life

3 Rights and Responsibilities
  • Human dignity achieved only if certain rights are
  • Right to life, food, clothing, shelter, health
    care, and education.
  • Rights require duty to self, others, and society.

3 Issues
  • Rights for all?
  • Health care
  • Education
  • Food, Shelter, Clothing
  • Employment

4 Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
  • Basic test of any society how do we treat the
    poor among us?
  • In serving the poor we see our dependence on God
    mirrored in the poors dependence on others. The
    Church says this is one of the four avenues we
    use to know God.
  • Special attention because we are called to love
    others as we love ourselves.

4 Issues
  • Understanding poverty
  • Not because people are poor and lazy
  • Understanding generational poverty
  • Understanding poverty at a global level

5 Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers
  • Just living wage.
  • Rights to certain benefits and humane working
  • Private property and economic initiative.
  • No right to accumulate mass amounts of wealth
    while others go without.

5 Issues
  • Working conditions for all?
  • Just and living wages?
  • Economy to serve people.

6 Solidarity
  • Global solidarity.
  • Our humanity unites us together in a common bond.
  • Need for unity of all peoples.
  • Fair Trade.

6 issues
  • Fair Trade
  • Corporate rights over those of people
  • Globalization and the race to the bottom
  • Rights of immigrants and migrants
  • Racism
  • Fear
  • War
  • Bobby Kennedys Speech Mindless Menace of

7 Care for Gods Creation
  • Stewards of the Earth
  • Care for sustainability
  • Appropriate view of our responsibility to those
    who come after us.

7 Issues
  • Environment
  • Pollution
  • Consumption
  • Need to sustain other avenues of energy

New Evangelization
  • Attractiveness of activism
  • Energy of youth channeled through proper
    understanding leads to a relevant moment of the
    Gospel being preached.
  • Avoids danger of dualism.
  • Risk - can seem overly political.

What can we do?
  • Personally
  • Family
  • Community of Friends
  • Parish
  • Diocese
  • Church

Future of Social Justice
  • Address the morality of globalization
  • Power of the Corporation
  • Role of Government
  • New Technologies
  • Fair and Free Trade
  • By end of the year Pope Benedict to promulgate
    new encyclical on the 40th anniversary of
    Popularum Progressio -- topics globalization.

Test Your Social Justice IQ
  • 1. Which is the most socially just a Chiquita, a
    Dole or a Del Monte banana?

  • Sometimes a banana is just a banana, but
    sometimes it's a symbol of the downside of
    globalization. A growing proportion of bananas
    are produced by workers who lack health care or
    wages high enough to feed their families, and who
    are exposed to pesticides, says Stephen Coates,
    executive director of the US/Labor Education in
    the Americas Project ( June,
    Chiquita, the largest producer of bananas in the
    world, signed a contract with its unions to
    respect workers' rights. "Neither Dole nor Del
    Monte has discussed these issues with Colsiba,"
    the Latin American Coordinating Committee of
    Banana Workers' Unions, says Coates. The contract
    was the result of a two-year campaign and was a
    "very significant breakthrough," he
    adds.According to "Bananas An American
    History" by Virginia Scott Jenkins (Smithsonian
    Institution Press, 2000), we eat 75 bananas per
    person each year, more than any other fruit. The
    major U.S. banana-importing companies were among
    the first multinational corporations.

Test Your Social Justice IQ
  • A "slave-free" label has been proposed in
    Congress for which of the following?
  • The Big Mac
  • Chocolate
  • Cotton

  • A two-month investigation by Knight Ridder
    reporters earlier this year found children as
    young as 11, sold or tricked into slavery,
    laboring on cocoa farms in Africa's Ivory Coast,
    which supplies 43 percent of the world's cocoa.
    The beans harvested by youngsters are made into
    chocolate products that appear in groceries
    everywhere."The big chocolate companies --
    Archer Daniels Midland, MM Mars, Hershey, Nestle
    -- all use cocoa from the Ivory Coast," says
    Debora James, fair-trade director for the human
    rights group Global Exchange.The United
    Nation's International Labor Organization in June
    reported that tens of thousands of children are
    being exploited. In August, the U.S. State
    Department said there are as many as 15,000 child
    slaves in Ivory Coast.A documentary, in part
    financed by HBO and based on "Disposable People,"
    a book by Kevin Bales (University of California
    Press, 2000) was shown in the United States, but
    the part about child slavery on cocoa farms in
    West Africa was cut out, says James.According
    to Bales' book, the new slavery is linked to
    several factors an enormous population explosion
    over the past three decades poor farmers
    dispossessed by economic globalization and
    modernized agriculture, and corruption and
    violence associated with rapid economic changes
    in developing countries.

Test Your Social Justice IQ
  • What is the "race to the bottom?"
  • A new Olympic swimming event.
  • A new reality-based TV show about competitive
    socially incorrect behavior.
  • The tendency of corporations to seek out the
    countries with the cheapest labor and fewest
    safety and environmental regulations to produce
    their products.

  • In "The Race to the Bottom Why a Worldwide
    Worker Surplus and Uncontrolled Free Trade are
    Sinking American Living Standards" (Westview
    Press, 2000), Alan Tonelson explains how
    countries with the weakest workplace safety laws,
    the lowest taxes, and the toughest unionization
    laws win investment from American and European
    countries. Tonelson, an economist active in
    national trade politics, argues that this "race
    to the bottom" lowers American living standards
    and causes even bigger problems for the world

Test Your Social Justice IQ
  • When Harvard students staged a sit-in at the
    university president's office early in 2001, they
    were protesting
  • The university's endowment fund's investments in
    stocks and bonds towards the school.
  • The university's janitor wages.
  • The firing of a professor who took students on a
    field trip to a crack house.

  • In 1998, Cambridge City Council instituted a
    living wage ordinance for all city employees.
    Harvard University, the largest employer in
    Cambridge, continued to pay 1,000 custodial and
    dining-hall workers as low as 6.50 per hour
    without benefits.After an unsuccessful two-year
    campaign to convince the university to pay its
    workers a living wage, 30 students in the
    school's Progressive Student Labor Movement moved
    into the president's office building in protest.
    One month later, the university agreed to raise
    the pay of the workers to 10.25 per hour.The
    concept behind the living wage is that people who
    work in a community should be paid enough for
    them to live there decently. According to the
    Living Wage Resource Center (www.livingwagecampaig, many campaigns have defined it as
    equivalent to the poverty line for a family of
    four (currently 8.20). Standards vary by region,
    but they are all considerably higher than the
    federal minimum wage, which puts a parent with
    one child below the federal poverty line.

Test Your Social Justice IQ
  • What's a fair price for a pound of coffee?
  • 6.95
  • 3.45
  • 1.26

  • A fair price for coffee isn't what you pay in the
    grocery store, it's what the coffee farmer is
    paid. Available in Europe for more than a decade
    and recently in the United States, "fair-trade"
    coffee has been purchased directly from coffee
    farmers for 1.26 per pound, instead of less than
    50 cents.According to Transfair USA
    (, an agency that certifies
    fair-trade practices, coffee is the second
    largest trade commodity in the world, next to
    oil. An estimated 80 percent of Americans drink
    coffee.Ten years ago, the world coffee economy
    was worth 30 billion, of which producers
    received 12 billion. Today, it is worth 50
    billion, with producers receiving just 8
    billion, according to the Fair Trade Coffee
    Campaign of Global Exchange.Last year,
    Starbucks became the first U.S. company to agree
    to a "code of conduct," promising it would tell
    its suppliers that in order to sell to Starbucks,
    they must pay workers a decent wage and respect
    their rights. Many gourmet coffee companies now
    offer fair-trade products, too, says Deborah
    James, fair trade director for Global Exchange,
    including the Bucks County Coffee Co. in
    Langhorne (800-523-6163). More are listed on the
    Global Exchange Web site (
  • Fair-trade coffee is more "bird-friendly," too.
    According to Transfair, fair trade-certified
    coffee is more likely to be grown on small,
    family farms under trees that provide habitat for
    songbirds. These farmers also tend to avoid

Test Your Social Justice IQ
  • Agree or disagree?
  • Congress should make it easier for corporations
    to relocate to areas where the average wage is
    less than 4 per day.
  • Governments should be required to pay damages if
    environmental laws cut into a corporation's
    potential profit.
  • Governments should be forced to end public
    subsidies for public education and health care
    because they unfairly compete with for-profit
    schools and hospitals.

  • Too late The North American Free Trade Agreement
    already allows the first two conditions. "They
    allow corporations to do end runs around labor
    and environmental laws that we have in this
    country," says Mike Prokosch, global economy
    coordinator for United for a Fair Economy
    (, a grassroots campaign that
    concentrates on public education about the
    economy.As for the third condition, it also
    will become a reality if NAFTA becomes the Free
    Trade Area of the Americas by expanding to all of
    the other 31 countries in the Western Hemisphere
    (excluding Cuba, of course).From a social
    justice position, trade agreements like these
    start the "race to the bottom," which makes
    working people compete against working people to
    see who is going to work for the least money,
    says Prokosch. "The global economy isn't making
    countries richer, because they are giving up
    taxes for the new plants, they are letting
    corporations pollute, and all they are getting is
    low wages."

Test Your Social Justice IQ
  • Which of the following labels can you buy to
    avoid clothing made in a sweatshop?
  • Gap
  • Banana Republic
  • Abercrombie Fitch.

  • Trick question. All of the above have been
    challenged for controversial production
    practices. "Unless it has a union label, you are
    hard-pressed to find a piece of clothing that is
    not made under horrible conditions," says Joan
    Axthelm of the U.S. Labor Education in the
    Americas Project ( The Department
    of Labor recently said that half of all clothing
    made in the United States is made under sweatshop
    conditions, she adds.The apparel, textile and
    footwear industries employ the largest work force
    of any manufacturing industry in the world, with
    more than 29 million people in more than 150
    countries. Many of these garment workers get less
    than 1 an hour, and work 12 or more hours per
    day, according to the Union of Needletrades,
    Industrial and Textile Employees

Test Your Social Justice IQ
  • What did The New York Times call "the biggest
    surge in campus activism in nearly two
  • The student anti-sweatshop movement.
  • Campus-based groups lobbying for an Equal Rights
  • An electronic forum that promotes freedom of
    speech on the Internet.

  • Students on more than 200 campuses in the United
    States and Canada are asking "Was our college
    sweatshirt made in a sweatshop?" They have staged
    sweatshop fashion shows, sweat-ins, knit-ins and
    other creative protests to demand that their
    schools take responsibility for the conditions
    under which their licensed apparel is made.The
    Web site of the Worker Rights Consortium, the
    sweatshop watchdog group, has a database that
    tells students where their college clothes come
    from (

  • On October 5, 2007 Notre Dame- Cathedral Latin
    High School proudly wore NDCL Day T-Shirts made
    from Fair Trade.
  • We are the first High School in the United States
    to invest the time towards making a change.
  • What are you willing to change?