It was my fifteenth wedding anniversary but I didn’t want to miss Deacon Mike Bickerstaff’s talk on Catholic Social Teaching.  With the election only three weeks away, it was important to me to hear the truth about what Catholic Social Teaching is—and is NOT.  Paul Ryan as the VP candidate has caused the media to thrust this subject into politics (where is certainly does not belong); and I’d read varying accounts from several Catholic writers trying to define it.

So after a fabulous anniversary lunch with Rob at Mizu (sushi!) I was excited to head on over to listen to Deacon Mike at St Peter Chanel parish.

Deacon Mike started with a Prayer of Saint Ignatius Loyoa who was the founder of the Jesuits.

Teach us, good Lord, to serve Thee as Thou deservest; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to labor and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do Thy will. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Some of the good deacon’s preliminary observations included the following:

  • Catholic Social teaching is central and essential and not optional.
  • Living in community, in society demands of us justice and peace.
  • In the beginnning, God created the world declaring it “very good.”
  • Original Sin entered in along with temptation and the loss of grace.
  • We have been redeemed by Christ.
  • Catholic Moral Teaching is a necessary foundation of Catholic Social Teaching, of living full lives as Jesus calls us to conversion and universal repentance
  • The human conscience is more than a “feeling” or an “intuition;” it is a reasoned and informed judgment, which must be put into practice in society through moral actions
  • We MUST integrate Catholic “social” teaching and Catholic “moral” teaching. They are not mutually exclusive.

Deacon Mike went on to talk about the principal themes of CST namely the principal of the preferential protection of the poor and vulnerable, the principles of solidarity, of subsidiarity, of stewardship, of human equality, of the common good, of human dignity, of the right to life, of association and participation.  Again, none of these is mutually exclusive; and as Catholics, we are called to all.

It seems to me in this awful election year that everything — even our Catholic faith — is seen through the lens of, “how does this help or hurt my candidate?”  Hopefully after the election we can go back to viewing it through the eyes of Jesus.

The talk tonight had a lot of information to digest.  As a Catholic trying to integrate my personal and business life more authentically, I discovered I fall way short of this ideal.  Thank you to my Faith for providing the guideposts and goals