Catholic social teaching believes that human beings, created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27), have by their very existence an inherent value, worth, and distinction. This means that God is present in every person, regardless of his or her race, nation, sex, origin, orientation, culture, or economic standing. Catholic social teaching asserts that all human beings must see within every person both a reflection of God and a mirror of themselves, and must honor and respect this dignity as a divine gift.

Daniel Groody – “Globalization, Spirituality and Justice”

Introduction:

Further explanation:

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REFLECTION:

1. Anyway – By Mother Teresa

If you give the world the best you have, you may get kicked in the teeth but give the world the best you have anyway. Mother Teresa highlights the importance of striving to do good despite not always seeing direct results…….

2. Look up, blame down

Blame and scapegoating of society’s problems are often placed on the working class, with the middle class ’looking up and blaming down’ . Church Action on Poverty provide this reflection which initiates a deeper thinking about reversing this process………..

3. Go and do likewise

We have failed to love if we have caused human suffering or if we have been indifferent to human suffering. Reflecting on the Gospel of Luke Chapter 10 – to love ones neighbour whoever they might be, this reflection calls us to serve and practise this……..

4. Human rights, democracy and freedom

In 2008, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the Dalai Lama talked about the constant need to make efforts to sustain caring, and nuturing qualities, to show loving kindness for those who are denied freedom………

http://www.catholicsocialteaching.org.uk/themes/human-dignity/reflection/

STORIES:

1. Catholic Hospital serving the Common Good

Katoucha is a Fulani grandmother, her daughter was diagnosed with HIV while pregnant. Learn how the Catholic hospital they came to attend works to serve the Common Good in their communities. The care bestowed upon them has given them hope and the capability to cope with their illness. St. Martin de Porres in Njinikom is a specialist AIDS best practice hospital in North West Cameroon, it serves people of faith and none……

2. One Woman’s Story

The vital work of the Medaille Trust in helping trafficked women in the UK is clearly exemplified by this account from a victim of this awful practice. She explains how she was helped by the organisation after the ordeal she was put through and she outlines how far she has come in getting over the experiences…….

3. The need to respond to dementia

As we have come to make developments and discover more about mental illness in the UK we must strive harder to support sufferers immediately from first diagnosis, understanding the seriousness of dementia and its implications. Paul Donovan explains how his father’s mental illness progressed and the treatment he received. He explains the impact this had on his family…….

4. Welcoming Asylum Seekers

All too often we see the negative image and treatment of Asylum Seekers in the UK. The Drop In Centre at Asylum Link Merseyside, and others like this are essential for those facing hostile attitude in the UK, providing a place of refuge and support. We are reminded of the importance of acceptance as outlined by Father Michael Cunningham in this short story……

5. The Cardinal Hume Centre

The Cardinal Hume Centre in Westminster gives homeless and vulnerable people a helping hand in reintegrating back into society. This has extended to include refugees, asylum seekers and migrants break out of the cycle of poverty and break back into reemployability……

6. Human Dignity and Charity

The Churches in Reading Drop in Centre for the Homeless and the Needy fulfils Christ’s call to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless. The Drop in Centre allows clients to feel welcome, supported and dignified with its ultimate aim of promoting the values of each individual in the eyes of God…….

7. Preaching hope in a time of AIDS

Progressio have worked in a number of communities in Yemen to lessen discrimination often felt by those with HIV. This moving extract tells of Sheik Abdulla El Qadesi’s transformed attitude towards sufferers of the illness after learning more about HIV. After taking this journey, he is encouraged to work towards combating the prejudices he had previously held…….

8. In Sickness and in Health

Neil Brown talks of his journey with Multiple Sclerosis from first symptoms to diagnosis. He explains his experience of religion and how this has guided and helped him through this time. The care of his wife clearly demonstrates her commitment through the vows made in marriage: to love, for better for worse…in sickness and in health……..

9. Audrey and John Marshall, a partnership for justice and peace

Husband and wife John and Audrey Marshall work as a team to pursue justice and peace issues close to their hearts. Initially, this began when they started an inner-city parish youth club and eventually expanded to increase the number of asylum drop in centres in Newcastle……..

10. Haiti – Dominican Republic: Rosa’s Border Song

Since the earthquake in Haiti, the Dominican Republic have instituted a new constitution that has left a large number of those of Haitian descent stateless and which discriminates against those with slighly darker skin colour. Rosa has a dream to become a lawyer to help those being abused by this system. With the help of the Jesuit and Migrant Service – supported by Progressio – Rosa has support to make sure her voice is heard…….

11. Catholics at the forefront of opposing detention without trial

Journalist Paul Donovan explains the work of a Catholic organisation who have helped those detained without trial. This story specifically looks at Mustafa Taleb an Algerian man arrested in 2003 with very little evidence to back his arrest…….

Role Models for the theme of Human dignity:

12. Sister Helen Prejean

As Christians, we are all called to recognise the inherent dignity present in each individual from the time of conception to the time of death, and to mirror God’s love and forgiveness. A woman who has made this calling her life’s ministry is Sr Helen Prejean……

13. The life and work of Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier lived most of his life with adults suffering developmental disabilities. Born in 1928, as an adult he joined the Navy, then left to study theology and philosophy, before answering Father Thomas Philippe’s call to join him living and working with adults who had disabilities…….

14. Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King had a remarkable impact on the civil rights movement in the US. He mobilised thousands of black Americans to fight for their rights….

http://www.catholicsocialteaching.org.uk/themes/human-dignity/stories/

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