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Social justice teaching needs new vocabulary

by | Jan 14, 2011 | Church | 1 comment

Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson sees need to make some adjustments in the way he talks about the Church’s social teaching, writes the Catholic News Agency.

The Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice has been surprised to find that common terms were misunderstood or misinterpreted. He emphasized that the misunderstanding was not a general or widespread problem among American Catholics. But, he said, “in certain circles … there is a difficulty.”

For instance, the Pope’s teaching on themes of “social justice” have been mistakenly connected to “socialism” and “communism.” As a result, he indicated, the Pope is mistakenly seen as promoting socialist or big-government solutions to social problems.

The council has also learned that words like “social” and “solidarity” may have been dismissed by American readers for their perceived connection with communist regimes such as the Soviet Union, he said.

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1 Comment

  1. Aidan Rooney

    “Respecting, understanding and fulfilling those demands constitute our justice,” he said. “It would be useful if we just observed our sense of justice as our ability to fulfill the demands of the relationships in which we stand.”

    This is in contrast to socialism, he explained, which is an ideology in which private property and private interests are totally placed in the service of government policies. (from the article). It seems His Eminence needs to nuance some of his own thinking. “Socialism” is hardly a monolithic concept….

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