LIFE AND DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON
: We believe in the
preciousness of the people of Haiti and believe that we can learn to
appreciate our own lives more deeply and grow in faith by learning from the
The Catholic Church proclaims
that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the
foundation of a moral vision of society.
Our belief in the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of
the human person is the foundation of all the principles of our social
teaching. In our society, human
life is under direct attack from abortion and assisted suicide.
The value of human life is being threatened by increasing use of the
death penalty. We believe that
every human person is precious, that people are more important than things,
and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or
enhances the life and dignity of the human person.
CALL TO FAMILY, COMMUNITY, AND PARTICIPATION
: We desire to
participate together as individuals, families, parish and school
communities, in seeking the common good and well-being of all, especially
the poor and vulnerable of Haiti.
The person is not only sacred
but also social. How we
organize our society -- in economics and politics, in law and policy --
directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in
community. The family is the
central social institution that must be supported and strengthened, not
undermined. We believe people
have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the
common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.
RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES: We accept our responsibility to protect
the human dignity of all by participating in outreach efforts locally and
The Catholic tradition
teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be
achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met.
Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right
to those things required for human decency.
Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities -- to
one another, to our families, and to the larger society.
OPTION FOR THE POOR AND VULNERABLE: We seek to put the needs of the
poor and vulnerable first by joining our lives and prayers with those in the
poorest nation of the Western Hemisphere.
A basic moral test is how our
most vulnerable members are faring. In
a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition
recalls the story of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:31-46) and instructs us to put
the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.
THE DIGNITY OF WORK AND THE RIGHTS OF WORKERS
: We believe all workers -- in Haiti have a basic right to fair wages and we
seek to aid in the protection of this right through our
The economy must serve
people, not the other way around. Work
is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing
participation in God's creation. If
the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers
must be respected -- the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages,
to organize and join unions, to private property, and to economic
: We view our neighbors in Haiti as part of one human
family and stand with them in solidarity.
We are our brothers' and
sisters' keepers, wherever they live. We
are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and
ideological differences. Learning
to practice the virtue of solidarity means that "loving our
neighbor" has global dimensions in an interdependent world.
CARE FOR GOD'S CREATION: We seek to find ways to join a need for
stewardship of the Haitian environment with solutions to improve the
well-being of the people through God's natural gifts.
We show our respect for the
Creator by our stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is not just an
Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith.
We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in
relationship with all of God's creation.
This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical
dimensions that cannot be ignored.
Excerpts from Sharing Catholic Social Teaching, Challenges and
Directions Reflections of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1999