Social Doctrine of the Church Notes,

Copyright 2014, Albert Schorsch, III, All Rights Reserved

2/11/14 – Human Person

Trick question

What did Moses say to Pharaoh after "Let my people go"?

"that they might worship me in the wilderness."

Religious freedom

Canticle of Zechariah

Free to worship Him without fear

freedom from slavery for a purpose

Key idea

Social justice springing out of our belief in God

Related to religious freedom

Catholic Social Doctrine and its approach to Social Justice involves simultaneously loving God and loving our neighbor completely

Completely love God

Completely love our neighbor

Shema Yisrael

Command: Hear O Israel.  Shut up and listen!

A lifetime effort to listen to the Word, to hear what God is teaching us.

The call of Samuel

Speak Lord, your servant is listening

The Lord is God alone

Deut 6:4-9

Deut 11:13-21

Num 15:37-41

Drill it into your children

The Greatest Commandment

Love God with whole heart, mind, and soul

Difficult to reconcile complex Scriptural language referring to heart, mind, and soul to one philosophical system, other than to refer to our whole self, our whole person

Love one's neighbor as oneself

The New Commandment

Love one another as I have loved you.

The Cross

The Cross reveals Christ to all

How all will know you are my disciples, if you love each other

Some learned the New Commandment as a child's song

in Spanish, Polish, and English

Short review (see notes for class 1)

Passage from Newman

God has created me to do him some definite service

A link in the chain, a bond in the connection between persons

A different way of looking at the world

Not just your politics, my politics

Not a list of bullet points about encyclicals

Not the third way between capitalism and communism/socialism/materialism

The relationship between mercy and justice

Closely connected

The Christian approach to justice is imbued with mercifulness

Connection with key thinkers from class 1

Connection with the creation

The connection between the Sabbath, mercifulness, and social justice

Eve created at the end of the 6th day, evening beginning the 7th

Associated with the gift of the Sabbath

Meaning of the word seven in Hebrew, with swearing an oath

The Sabbath being the end of time, beyond time, associated with mercifulness, e.g., Sabbatical year, Jubilee year.

The gravitational force, metaphorically, of God's gift of creation and the Sabbath

God's gratuitousness leads to our mercy for each other.

Trick question

Why not live in the Matrix?

Answer: No Freedom, free will in relationship to the true nature and activities of society

Despite their needs being met

Contrast with religious freedom

Contrast with naming of John the Baptist, Canticle of Zechariah

Free to worship Him without fear

Contrasting reference to end of Braveheart movie: freedom

In the creation story, God gave us a choice, and we let sin and death into the world

Trick question

Who helped Neo(in the Matrix) find the truth about love?


Fr. Robert Barron

Trinity combines / transcends the One and the Many

Si comprehendus, non est Deus

If I understand, then that's not God

How to I begin moving to a Christian life?

If you really want to learn this stuff, change your life

Change your life

Read the Scriptural readings from the daily Mass every day

Pope Francis on the Mass as the real theophany of Christ, the real event

"It is the Last Supper. It is living again the passion and redeeming death of the Lord. It is a theophany: the Lord is present on the altar to be offered to the Father for the salvation of the world."

When we enter into the presence of God, we enter the eternal moment

Connection with mercy, the Sabbath, the Jubilee

Inspires the transcendent love for each other

Mercy and Justice

Societies without forgiveness

A good society is a society with forgiveness

Contrast with human destructiveness

Erich Fromm on the Anatomy of Human Destructiveness

Nazis: a society without forgiveness

Forgiveness not like a video game, in which we get to get killed over and over and get to restart by clicking an icon

God's forgiveness recognizes that our life really never did end, He embraces us with His love, and lets us be one with him. But we have to be free to accept His love, we have to consent.




A fifty year lie

Oddly, a residue of Christian values may  have influenced Stalinism's practice of releasing some few prisoners from the Gulag, whereas Nazis exterminated.


Sophie Scholl


Repeat mention of St. HIldegard

Film: Vision: From the Life of Hildegard of Bingen

trailer, available via Netflix

Theory of complementarity of the sexes



a. In Jesus Christ the decisive event of the history of God with mankind is fulfilled


31. The Face of God, progressively revealed in the history of salvation, shines in its fullness in the Face of Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead. God is Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; truly distinct and truly one, because God is an infinite communion of love. God's gratuitous love for humanity is revealed, before anything else, as love springing from the Father, from whom everything draws its source; as the free communication that the Son makes of this love, giving himself anew to the Father and giving himself to mankind; as the ever new fruitfulness of divine love that the Holy Spirit pours forth into the hearts of men (cf. Rom 5:5).

By his words and deeds, and fully and definitively by his death and resurrection[30], Jesus reveals to humanity that God is Father and that we are all called by grace to become his children in the Spirit (cf. Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6), and therefore brothers and sisters among ourselves. It is for this reason that the Church firmly believes that “the key, the centre and the purpose of the whole of man's history is to be found in her Lord and Master”[31].

A. Schorsch comment: We are predestined to the love of God.  If we accept God's adoption, we also love one another.

b. The revelation of Trinitarian love


33. The commandment of mutual love, which represents the law of life for God's people[32], must inspire, purify and elevate all human relationships in society and in politics. “To be human means to be called to interpersonal communion”[33], because the image and the likeness of the Trinitarian God are the basis of the whole of “human ‘ethos', which reaches its apex in the commandment of love”[34]. The modern cultural, social, economic and political phenomenon of interdependence, which intensifies and makes particularly evident the bonds that unite the human family, accentuates once more, in the light of Revelation, “a new model of the unity of the human race, which must ultimately inspire our solidarity. This supreme model of unity, which is a reflection of the intimate life of God, one God in three Persons, is what we Christians mean by the word 'communion'”[35].

A. Schorsch comment: Father bids the Son, Son follows the Father, the love between the two of them is the Spirit.


a. Trinitarian love, the origin and goal of the human person


34. The revelation in Christ of the mystery of God as Trinitarian love is at the same time the revelation of the vocation of the human person to love. This revelation sheds light on every aspect of the personal dignity and freedom of men and women, and on the depths of their social nature. “Being a person in the image and likeness of God ... involves existing in a relationship, in relation to the other ‘I'”[36], because God himself, one and triune, is the communion of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

In the communion of love that is God, and in which the Three Divine Persons mutually love one another and are the One God, the human person is called to discover the origin and goal of his existence and of history. The Council Fathers, in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, teach that “the Lord Jesus Christ, when praying to the Father ‘that they may all be one ... as we are one' (Jn 17:21-22), has opened up new horizons closed to human reason by implying that there is a certain parallel between the union existing among the divine Persons and the union of the children of God in truth and love. It follows, then, that if man is the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake, man can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself (cf. Lk 17:33)”[37].

A. Schorsch comment:  We are offering ourselves, along with Christ, as part of the liturgy.

b. Christian salvation: for all people and the whole person


38. The salvation offered in its fullness to men in Jesus Christ by God the Father's initiative, and brought about and transmitted by the work of the Holy Spirit, is salvation for all people and of the whole person: it is universal and integral salvation. It concerns the human person in all his dimensions: personal and social, spiritual and corporeal, historical and transcendent. It begins to be made a reality already in history, because what is created is good and willed by God, and because the Son of God became one of us[39]. Its completion, however, is in the future, when we shall be called, together with all creation (cf. Rom 8), to share in Christ's resurrection and in the eternal communion of life with the Father in the joy of the Holy Spirit. This outlook shows quite clearly the error and deception of purely immanentistic visions of the meaning of history and in humanity's claims to self-salvation.

c. The disciple of Christ as a new creation


43. It is not possible to love one's neighbour as oneself and to persevere in this conduct without the firm and constant determination to work for the good of all people and of each person, because we are all really responsible for everyone[44]. According to the Council's teaching, “they also have a claim on our respect and charity that think and act differently from us in social, political and religious matters. In fact the more deeply we come to understand their ways of thinking through kindness and love, the more easily will we be able to enter into dialogue with them”[45]. This path requires grace, which God offers to man in order to help him to overcome failings, to snatch him from the spiral of lies and violence, to sustain him and prompt him to restore with an ever new and ready spirit the network of authentic and honest relationships with his fellow men[46].

d. The transcendence of salvation and the autonomy of earthly realities


45. Jesus Christ is the Son of God made man in whom and thanks to whom the world and man attain their authentic and full truth. The mystery of God's being infinitely close to man — brought about in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, who gave himself on the cross, abandoning himself to death — shows that the more that human realities are seen in the light of God's plan and lived in communion with God, the more they are empowered and liberated in their distinctive identity and in the freedom that is proper to them. Sharing in Christ's life of sonship, made possible by the Incarnation and the Paschal gift of the Spirit, far from being a mortification, has the effect of unleashing the authentic and independent traits and identity that characterize human beings in all their various expressions.


a. The Church, sign and defender of the transcendence of the human person


49. The Church, the community of those who have been brought together by the Risen Christ and who have set out to follow him, is “the sign and the safeguard of the transcendent dimension of the human person”[54]. She is “in Christ a kind of sacrament — a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men”[55]. Her mission is that of proclaiming and communicating the salvation wrought in Jesus Christ, which he calls “the Kingdom of God” (Mk 1:15), that is, communion with God and among men. The goal of salvation, the Kingdom of God embraces all people and is fully realized beyond history, in God. The Church has received “the mission of proclaiming and establishing among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God, and she is, on earth, the seed and the beginning of that Kingdom”[56].

b. The Church, the Kingdom of God and the renewal of social relations


52. God, in Christ, redeems not only the individual person but also the social relations existing between men. As the Apostle Paul teaches, life in Christ makes the human person's identity and social sense — with their concrete consequences on the historical and social planes — emerge fully and in a new manner: “For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ” (Gal 3:26-28). In this perspective, Church communities, brought together by the message of Jesus Christ and gathered in the Holy Spirit round the Risen Lord (cf. Mt 18:20, 28:19-20; Lk 24:46-49), offer themselves as places of communion, witness and mission, and as catalysts for the redemption and transformation of social relationships.

c. New heavens and a new earth


56. God's promise and Jesus Christ's resurrection raise in Christians the well-founded hope that a new and eternal dwelling place is prepared for every human person, a new earth where justice abides (cf. 2 Cor 5:1-2; 2 Pet 3:13). “Then, with death conquered, the children of God will be raised in Christ and what was sown in weakness and corruption will be clothed in incorruptibility: charity and its works will remain and all of creation, which God made for man, will be set free from its bondage to vanity”[68]. This hope, rather than weaken, must instead strengthen concern for the work that is needed in the present reality.


58. The complete fulfilment of the human person, achieved in Christ through the gift of the Spirit, develops in history and is mediated by personal relationships with other people, relationships that in turn reach perfection thanks to the commitment made to improve the world, in justice and peace. Human activity in history is of itself significant and effective for the definitive establishment of the Kingdom, although this remains a free gift of God, completely transcendent. Such activity, when it respects the objective order of temporal reality and is enlightened by truth and love, becomes an instrument for making justice and peace ever more fully and integrally present, and anticipates in our own day the promised Kingdom.

Conforming himself to Christ the Redeemer, man perceives himself as a creature willed by God and eternally chosen by him, called to grace and glory in all the fullness of the mystery in which he has become a sharer in Jesus Christ[69]. Being conformed to Christ and contemplating his face [70] instil in Christians an irrepressible longing for a foretaste in this world, in the context of human relationships, of what will be a reality in the definitive world to come; thus Christians strive to give food, drink, clothing, shelter, care, a welcome and company to the Lord who knocks at the door (cf. Mt 25:35-37).

d. Mary and her “fiat” in God's plan of love


59. Heir to the hope of the righteous in Israel and first among the disciples of Jesus Christ is Mary, his Mother. By her “fiat” to the plan of God's love (cf. Lk 1:38), in the name of all humanity, she accepts in history the One sent by the Father, the Saviour of mankind. In her Magnificat she proclaims the advent of the Mystery of Salvation, the coming of the “Messiah of the poor” (cf. Is 11:4; 61:1). The God of the Covenant, whom the Virgin of Nazareth praises in song as her spirit rejoices, is the One who casts down the mighty from their thrones and raises up the lowly, fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty, scatters the proud and shows mercy to those who fear him (cf. Lk 1:50-53).