Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Characteristics of Prophets

Prophets:
  1. Experience God and speak on His behalf
  2. Take action against suffering and injustice by speaking out and presenting a new way
  3. Always defend the poor and voiceless, as they are most vulnerable 
  4. Are not influenced by power, money, or glory. Interested only in God's will being carried out
  5. Have enormous courage and conviction. This is evidenced by his/her speaking out against oppressive situations in their world, which always involve those with great power and influence
  6. Are visionaries sent by God to guide the community (traditionally the conscience of the King) 
  7. Are always persecuted and mocked for being out of touch with reality and end up suffering the same fate as those they defend. 
-Mr. H.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Major Themes of Catholic Social Teaching

1) Dignity of the human person
ALL people are sacred and maintain dignity (their worth is not diminished) regardless of all circumstances including poverty, disability, race, or sex.  Human life is sacred from conception until natural death and must be protected and valued infinitely above material possessions.

2) Common good and community
Humans are social beings with a right and duty to participate in society to seek the common good and well-being of ALL.  Family is fundamental to this process.

3) Rights and responsibilities
ALL people have survival (basic needs) and thrival (opportunity to meet their potential) rights such as life, food, shelter, health care, education, and employment.  ALL persons have a responsibility to not only respect the rights of others, but to also participate in social and political activities and institutions that promote the common good.  

4) Option for the poor
The moral test of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable members.  Society has a responsibility to examine the impact public policy decisions have on the poor.

5) Participation (Dignity of work and the rights of workers)
The economy (system for the distribution of goods and services) exists to meet the needs of the people.  This relationship is very different from people existing to meet the needs of the economy.  People come first. Workers have a right to:
  • productive work
  • fair wages
  • a safe work environment
  • participate in decisions that affect them in the workplace
  • security in the case of sickness, disability, unemployment or old age
  • form unions which are considered "indispensable" in the search for social justice
6) Economic Justice (Free markets, economic initiative, and private property)
The free market system (capitalism) is not necessarily just.  It is the responsibility of the state and ALL of society to intervene when the needs of the people are not being adequately met by the free market.  No one should be allowed to amass excessive wealth while others lack the basic necessities of life.

7) Stewardship of God's creation
The goods of creation are to be enjoyed by ALL and benefit EVERYONE.  We are not to exploit the earth's resources for personal or commercial gain, but protect, care for, and responsibly use the goods of creation.

8) Solidarity (Global solidarity and development)
Global development must respect the moral, cultural, and spiritual dimensions of the human person.  Our responsibility to work for justice crosses national, racial, economic, and ideological differences because we are a global community; one human family.
9) Role of Government (and subsidiarity)
Government must promote human dignity, protect human rights, and build the common good.  This requires the participation of ALL people. When people`s basic needs cannot be met the government has a moral obligation to provide assistance. Support should be as small as possible, and as big as necessary.

10) Promotion of peace
Peace requires action and effort, and thus involves doing.  Peace is the fruit of justice and therefore requires mutual respect and collaboration between peoples and nations.

                                              "If you want peace, work for justice." 
                       - Pope Paul VI (1972)

Monday, April 7, 2014

James Fowler's Six Stages of Faith Development

1) Imaginative faith (birth - 7 years)
- Positive images are healthy
- Negative or fearful images unhealthy

2) Literal faith (7 years - early teens)
- faith story believed as literally or historically true
- God viewed as rewarding and punishing behaviour
- Bargaining stage (e.g. I will pray seven Hail Marys if you let me pass this exam)

3) Group faith (late teens - early 20's)
- Group exerts strong influence
- Conformity to values and expectations of the group
- Limited questioning of group views
- Can discourage personal responsibility

4) Personal faith (mid 20's and older)
- Personal responsibility accepted for beliefs
- Likely a time of tension with friends, family and Church leaders while searching for truth
- Answers not always clear-cut (lots of gray areas)

5) Mystical faith (age no longer a factor)
- Communion with God
- Awareness of God's inner presence
- Recognition of community of all people
- Challenge and improve structure
- Belief that "God is with me at all times therefore life is intrinsically holy by nature"

6) Sacrificial faith 
- Identification with truth and justice
- Radical commitment with no regard for personal status or security
- Jesus, Gandhi, Mother Teresa
- Not many reached this stage but there may be traces of it in us, i.e. parental attitudes

-Mr. H.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development

Moral reasoning is the process of discerning right from wrong. Lawrence Kohlberg believed the mental capacity necessary for discerning right from wrong to be present around the age of thirteen, and that enviromental factors, such as parents, teachers, and peers played an important role in an individual's moral development.

Level one: Preconventional morality (focus on the self)
  • Stage 1: Punishment and obedience orientation
    • Rules are fixed and absolute. Obeying the rules is important to avoid punishment.
  • Stage 2: Personal usefulness or reward orientation
    • Good is determined by how one's own interests are met. This stage is marked by a "What's in it for me?" or "I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine" mentality.
Level two: Conventional morality (focus on group norms and rules)
  • Stage 3: Social conformity or pleasing others orientation 
    • Good is what gains the approval of others.
  • Stage 4: Law and order orientation
    • The rules and laws of wider society are necessary for social order.
Level three: Post conventional morality (focus on what is right for everyone)
  • Stage 5: Social contract or civil disobedience
    • Awareness that the laws of society may occasionally be unjust for some individuals, and therefore require change. 
  • Stage 6: Principled conscience
    •  Individuals at this stage have developed their own set of moral guidelines which apply to everyone, everywhere, at all times. Their principles are based upon the equality and worth of all human beings, and are therefore considered universal despite what the law may say.
-Mr. H.