Daily Series on the Catechism

PART  III:  LIFE IN CHRIST

Section Two:  The Ten Commandments

Chapter 2:  “You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”

Article 7,  The Seventh Commandment

III.  The Social Doctrine of the Church (cont’d)

§ 2425  The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modern times with “communism” or “socialism.” She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of “capitalism,” individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor (cf. CA 10; 13; 44).

Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for “there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market” (CA 34).  Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended.

IV.  Economic Activity and Social Justice

§ 2426  The development of economic activity and growth in production are meant to provide for the needs of human beings. Economic life is not meant solely to multiply goods produced and increase profit or power; it is ordered first of all to the service of persons, of the whole man, and of the entire human community. Economic activity, conducted according to its own proper methods, is to be exercised within the limits of the moral order, in keeping with social justice so as to correspond to God’s plan for man (cf. GS 64).

§ 2427  Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the Image of God and called to prolong the work of creation by subduing the Earth, both with and for one another (cf. Genesis 1:28; GS 34; CA 31). Hence, work is a duty: “If anyone will not work, let him not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10; cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:11). Work honors the Creator’s gifts and the talents received from Him. It can also be redemptive.

By enduring the hardship of work (cf. Gen 3:14-19) in union with Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth and the One crucified on Calvary, man collaborates in a certain fashion with the Son of God in His redemptive work. He shows himself to be a disciple of Christ by carrying the cross daily in the work he is called to accomplish (cf. LE 27). Work can be a means of sanctification and a way of animating earthly realities with the Spirit of Christ.

§ 2428  In work, the person exercises and fulfills in part the potential inscribed in his nature. The primordial value of labor stems from man himself, its author and its beneficiary. Work is for man, not man for work (cf. LE 6).

Everyone should be able to draw from work the means of providing for his life and that of his family, and of serving the human community.

Tomorrow – Economic Activity and Social Justice (to be continued)

(Part III, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 7 – to be continued)

[Editor’s Note:  The abbreviations in today’s posting are noted below.]

  • “CA” – Pope St. John Paul II (May 1991), “Centesimus Annus [Hundredth Year Anniversary of ‘Rerum Novarum’ (Of Revolutionary Change)]”
  • “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”
  • “GS” – “Gaudium et Spes [Joy and Hope]”, Vatican Council II
  • “LE” – Pope St. John Paul II (Sept 1981), “Laborem Exercens [The Exercise of Work]”
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A Sunday Blessing

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

May the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.

May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. †

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