Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Just Social Order

The Lancet published a series of articles in 2005 regarding the religions of the world and how their philosophies relate to health.

Hazel Markwell wrote about the “Catholic View” in the September 24, 2005 issue.

Below are some salient features from Markwell’s article:

1. The Catholic understanding of sickness, suffering, and death is grounded in a belief in Jesus Christ who, as the incarnation of God, suffered, died, and resurrected.

2. In light of this faith and hope for an afterlife, Catholics accept that although an effort must be made to eliminate sickness, suffering, and death, these things can also have a positive meaning.

2. In Catholic bioethics, two basic human values ground all others: human dignity, and the interconnectedness of every individual. The value of dignity of the individual arises from the belief that life has intrinsic worth because people are created in the image and likeness of God. Respect for human life results from this principle.

3. Catholics believe that people are stewards, rather than owners of their own bodies, and are accountable to God for the life that has been given to them, and for this reason life is said to be sacred.

4. Gaudium et Spes, one of the documents of Vatican II, makes the point that the dignity of the human person lies above all in the fact that he or she is called into a relationship with God. As social beings who are connected to each other in society, we also share a responsibility for one another.

5. Belief in the value of the common good calls us to promote a just social order. This just order demands that we remain true to the value of charity or solidarity, in which we have a responsibility to respond to others in need, in particular the poor.

6. This responsibility requires a commitment not only to the poor in our midst but also to those throughout the world.

7. However, the huge gap between the rich and the poor of the world is widening, in large part due to the debt owed by developing countries.

8. The impetus and foundation for this commitment to the poor lies in a notion of justice that is grounded in love and an adherence to the message in the Gospel of Matthew (25:40): “…in so far as you did this to one of th4 least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me”.

Father Gerard Jean-Juste practiced and believes in the common good in Haiti. Hopefully, he will be back in Haiti soon practicing his Catholic beliefs which promote the common good.

OSF in Peoria needs to lift their embargo on Haitian Hearts patients and follow the Catholic philosophy as outlined in the Lancet. Three more young Haitian women will die soon unless OSF sees the light.

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