US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Principles of Catholic social teaching

U.S. Catholic | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

All people are sacred, made in the image and likeness of God. People do not lose dignity because of disability, poverty, age, lack of success, or race. The emphasis is on people over things, being over having.

Secret disservice

By Robert Kaiser | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

One of the most important decisions the bishops at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) made was their refusal to go along with the secrecy that Vatican officials tried to impose upon them. The Vatican bureaucrats of the Roman Curia had long been used to the notion that they knew what was best for the pope's "subjects." The subjects needed only to pray, pay, and obey.

Social justice for dummies

By Joe Sullivan | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Includes bonus information on:

  • The easy way to know the difference between justice and charity
  • The pitfalls that lead to "fringe-ism"
  • What's in it for you

"He's on the Social-Justice Committee," she said, a sound of fear, wariness, even a little contempt in her voice. Here, in the middle of a parish potluck dinner, that phrase came up again. Social justice.

Why we can't afford to close Catholic schools

By Kevin Clarke | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

It's pretty subdued day at Our Lady of Mercy School on Chicago's Northwest Side. Most of the kids are in class, huddled over Terra Nova achievement tests; George and Julio are "timing out" on a bench just outside the lunchroom but still smiling mischievously at each passerby; a Commonwealth Edison crew is cleaning up the mess after somebody crashed into a light pole beside the side entrance the night before; and principal Debbie Sullivan is in her office by an ancient Rich public address machine worrying over how the school is going to make ends meet.

Not-so-special delivery

By Kevin Clarke | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Sometimes the toxic waste is not just in babies' diapers.

The samples reviewed by the researchers at the Washington based Environmental Working Group contained on average more than 200 contaminants. Among them mercury, gasoline, waste by-products from coal and garbage burning, toxic traces of eight petroleum-based chemicals, carcinogenic residue from dozens of widely used flame retardants, pesticides, and much more.

There is a balm in Tapologo: AIDS in South Africa

By Tara K. Dix | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Ravaged by HIV/AIDS, women and children from a South African squatter camp find hope at a volunteer-run clinic.


Two years ago Selinah was lying on a mat at the altar of the Catholic mission in Phokeng, South Africa. Weighing only 86 pounds, she shivered with fever as the AIDS virus took over her body. Surrounded by other patients of the Tapologo AIDS Hospice, run by the Catholic Diocese of Rustenburg, she prayed for her life as the community anointed her.

They can do it

By Kevin Clarke | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Third World women could be the new recruits in the global war on poverty.


Since commodities first changed hands for cash, the women among us have worked hard for the money-often, as they still do today in the developing world, putting in a full day of labor in the field before heading back for a second job keeping the homestead humming. Heck, most of the time they've worked hard for no money at all, since the work that women have done as mothers, caregivers, agriculturalists, and household CEOs frequently went uncompensated.

Dispatches from Decatur

By Kevin Clarke | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Community is the first casualty in America's labor wars

It's been one roller-coaster ride to hell, and it's still going down.-a Staley worker

The union guys are gone from the gates, their run-down folding chairs with them. The long days spent bearing witness to their grievances in a slow monotonous circle are finished. The days spent trying to keep warm around smoky oil drums in the winter or sweating through their T-shirts in the summer are ended. 

Troubled waters

By Kevin Clarke | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Billions of the world's poorest are being denied even the most basic natural resource.


Most of us in the west have grown used to thinking about scarcity and conservation when we switch on the heat in our homes or turn the key in our car ignitions. But in the developing world it's not filling up the Humvee that keeps parents up at night; it's finding enough clean water to get through the next day.

Be our guest?

By Kevin Clarke | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
The U.S. should be a good host and protect the migrant workers who knock on our door.


In the colonial period the destitute and desperate escaping the poverty of European backwaters made their way to America as indentured servants, signing away the only commodity they had to offer: themselves. Frequently used up to the end of human endurance by their "employers," these earliest members of America's working class experienced a dehumanization that was only exceeded by the treatment of Africans brought over as slaves.