From Cardinal Seán’s blog

Social Justice Committee

I met (July 27) with a group of members of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council (APC) who had recently approached me about the possibility of creating a social justice committee.

I was very enthused about the idea because we really need to address so many different issues in our state, and we have a very great need of promoting knowledge of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church which is so powerful, so consistent and which flows from the Gospel teachings.

We see that very often Catholics are unaware of our rich tradition of social justice. We have been trying through the Massachusetts Catholic Conference (MCC) to look at ways to involve our people more in the social issues that affect the Church. So I am anxious for the APC to work with the MCC and the other dioceses in the state.

Ideally, I would like to see every parish council have a social concerns committee that then would be able to promote the education and faith formation of adults. It could also help to galvanize attention around social justice issues that the Church faces in our relationship with the larger community.

Most Catholics are very quick to recognize the need that we have to provide direct service to the sick, the hungry and the homeless. Yet, the social justice agenda of the Church goes beyond that, trying to create a society that is more just, in which the structures favor human dignity. Social justice includes a wide variety of topics such as life issues, racism, economic justice, the morality of war, casino gambling and the housing crisis.

What we would like the MCC and the APC to do is to help us prioritize what the most pressing issues currently are. Obviously the Church cannot deal extensively with every issue, but there are some issues that are so important to the community that we should try to lift them up for consideration, prayer and action within the Catholic community.

Meeting with a local Mormon leader

On (July 31), I met with Dr. Clayton Christensen, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is a member of the Area Authority Seventy, who each have a responsibility for a large area of the Mormon community. He is also the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School.

This was the second time that I met with him in trying to have a greater understanding of Mormonism. As part of our outreach to other religious denominations, we spoke about the Mormon community and some possible points of collaboration. We have been very impressed with their desire to have more communications. Dr. Christensen thanked us for our efforts on behalf of marriage. He said that was very much appreciated by the Mormon community.

Dr. Christensen brought me my genealogy. It went back to my great-great grandparents. Apart from one mistake in it that I could find, there were many things in it that I did not know, like that the maiden name of my great-great grandmother was Gallagher. The other great-great grandmother was Nagel. They were from Ireland. I never knew them and had never even heard their names before. It was interesting.

Catholic Relief Service

Catholic Relief Service recently opened a regional office in Philadelphia, dealing with the Northeastern United States. (Aug. 2), Father J. Bryan Hehir and myself met with Maureen McCullough, CRS regional director, and Joan Neal, CRS vice-president of U.S. operations.

They were coming to us about promoting the works of CRS and also the general education of Catholics on social teachings. So much of the work of CRS is to raise people’s consciences of the Church’s commitment on social justice at the international level.

They have a number of wonderful programs. We spoke particularly about the participation of the archdiocese in the rice bowl that CRS sponsors every Lenten season.

I encouraged them to be in touch with our campus ministry people as well as Catholic Television and The Pilot so we could help Catholics in Boston get to know the programs they have.

Also in this week’s blog:

> Greeting Msgr. Francis Kelly

> St. John Vianney cookout