Trending at today’s Aleteia, Michael Matheson Miller discusses Pope Francis and his call to social justice. Miller asks the question, “Do orthodoxy and social justice have to be mutually exclusive?” Miller says there is a “pervasive, false dichotomy between theological doctrine and social justice that has dominated much of Catholic thought and preaching since the 1960s.”
Intrigued by the precedent that Pope Francis is setting in this area, Miller says,
From his first moments as pope, Francis has urged Christians to come out of ourselves and engage the poor. “The place for Christ is in the streets,” he said. He warned against the indifference of the rich man to the suffering of Lazarus. As he writes in Evangelii Gaudium,
“Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.” (54)
With the same passion, he speaks openly about sin and the devil, is vehemently pro-life and has been a consistent defender of marriage. He speaks about the need for deep prayer life and the importance of the sacraments and human formation in the virtues. At the center of his message is the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, who cares about each of us as a unique and unrepeatable person with an eternal destiny.
The pope appears to be reaffirming the heart of Catholic Social Teaching, yet not straying from orthodox Catholic belief. Focusing on Christ, Miller says, bridges any divide between our work in the world and our faith.