Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bishop Hubbard on political engagement

Today’s Times Union carries an abridged version of the homily that Bishop Howard J. Hubbard delivered on Tuesday at a Mass coinciding with the Public Policy Day for New York Catholics, organized by the New York State Catholic Conference. Here is an excerpt:
However, when entering the public debate people of faith cannot claim moral superiority for our position simply because we quote from the Scriptures or church teaching. We owe the public a careful accounting of how we have come to our moral conclusions, and we must translate our faith-based positions into language that can serve as a basis for civil discourse in a religiously pluralistic society.

The inclusion of explicitly religious moral values in the public debate requires us to keep the moral factors central to it and to set an example of how this can be done with sensitivity and rationality. We must demonstrate that we can keep our deepest convictions and still maintain civil courtesy. We must show that we can test others' arguments but not question their motives and that we can presume good will even when we disagree strongly.

There is an equally important battle to be won within our church itself, namely, that of the legitimacy of Catholic social justice advocacy, which is as much a part of our tradition as the proclamation of the word and the celebration of the sacraments.

Many Catholics are unaware of the church's social teaching, and Catholics are also the least likely of the faith groups to participate in civic engagement. We are more comfortable in running food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters for the homeless than in advocating with our elected representatives for public policies that will address the root causes of poverty and injustice.

Many, especially some in the media, portray the Catholic community as being concerned only about abortion or issues of human sexuality. We are proudly concerned about these issues because they deal with the sanctity of life. Indeed, we have addressed this explicitly in our opposition to the radical reproductive health care act. Yet we are also gravely concerned about the education of the young, service to the poor through food programs, affordable housing and employment, creating a viable path to citizenship for newly arrived immigrants and assisting to inmates in their reintegration in the community,

You can read more here.

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