Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace…

…judges Francis’ idea on selling off churches to feed the poor

  • The Church is conscious that it is impossible to eliminate poverty completely from this world

Jesus says: ‘You always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me’ (Mt 26:11; cf. Mk 14:7; Jn 12:8). He makes this statement not to contrast the attention due to him with service of the poor. Christian realism, while appreciating on the one hand the praiseworthy efforts being made to defeat poverty, is cautious on the other hand regarding ideological positions and Messianistic beliefs that sustain the illusion that it is possible to eliminate the problem of poverty completely from this world. This will happen only upon Christ’s return, when he will be with us once more, for ever. (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 183, May 26, 2006)

…judges Francis’ idea on Laudate Si

  • The same applies to the Church’s social doctrine

Insofar as it is part of the Church’s moral teaching, the Church’s social doctrine has the same dignity and authority as her moral teaching. It is authentic Magisterium, which obligates the faithful to adhere to it (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2037). The doctrinal weight of the different teachings and the assent required are determined by the nature of the particular teachings, by their level of independence from contingent and variable elements, and by the frequency with which they are invoked (cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum Veritatis, 16-17, 23: AAS 82 (1990), 1557-1558, 1559-1560). (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 80, May 26, 2006)

  • Helping man on the path of salvation: the primary and sole purpose of the Church’s social doctrine

With her social doctrine, the Church aims ‘at helping man on the path of salvation’ [94]. This is her primary and sole purpose. There is no intention to usurp or invade the duties of others or to neglect her own; nor is there any thought of pursuing objectives that are foreign to her mission. (Note 94: John Paul II. Centesimus Annus, 54). (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 69, May 26, 2006)

  • The object of social doctrine is the human person, entrusted by Christ to the Church’s care

The object of the Church’s social doctrine is essentially the same that constitutes the reason for its existence: the human person called to salvation, and as such entrusted by Christ to the Church’s care and responsibility. (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 81, May 26, 2006)

  • The Church’s social doctrine is of a specifically theological-moral nature

The Church’s social doctrine is therefore of a theological nature, specifically theological-moral, ‘since it is a doctrine aimed at guiding people’s behaviour’ (John Paul II. Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 41). ‘This teaching … is to be found at the crossroads where Christian life and conscience come into contact with the real world. [It] is seen in the efforts of individuals, families, people involved in cultural and social life, as well as politicians and statesmen to give it a concrete form and application in history’ (John Paul II. Centesimus Annus, 59). (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 73, May 26, 2006)

  • The Church’s social doctrine does not belong to the field of ideology, but of theology- it cannot be defined according to socio-economic parameters

The Church’s social doctrine ‘belongs to the field, not of ideology, but of theology and particularly of moral theology’ (John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 41). It cannot be defined according to socio-economic parameters. It is not an ideological or pragmatic system intended to define and generate economic, political and social relationships, but is a category unto itself. It is ‘the accurate formulation of the results of a careful reflection on the complex realities of human existence, in society and in the international order, in the light of faith and of the Church’s tradition. Its main aim is to interpret these realities, determining their conformity with or divergence from the lines of the Gospel teaching on man and his vocation, a vocation which is at once earthly and transcendent; its aim is thus to guide Christian behaviour’ (John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 41). (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 72, May 26, 2006)

  • Christ did not bequeath to the Church a mission in the political, economic or social order

The Church does not assume responsibility for every aspect of life in society, but speaks with the competence that is hers, which is that of proclaiming Christ the Redeemer (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2420): ‘Christ did not bequeath to the Church a mission in the political, economic or social order; the purpose he assigned to her was a religious one. But this religious mission can be the source of commitment, direction and vigour to establish and consolidate the community of men according to the law of God’ (Gaudium et Spes, 42). This means that the Church does not intervene in technical questions with her social doctrine, nor does she propose or establish systems or models of social organization (John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 41). This is not part of the mission entrusted to her by Christ. (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 68, May 26, 2006)

  • The Church’s doctrinal heritage has its roots in Sacred Scripture and Tradition

In her continuous attention to men and women living in society, the Church has accumulated a rich doctrinal heritage. This has its roots in Sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels and the apostolic writings, and takes on shape and body beginning from the Fathers of the Church and the great Doctors of the Middle Ages, constituting a doctrine in which, even without explicit and direct Magisterial pronouncements, the Church gradually came to recognize her competence. (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 87, May 26, 2006)

  • Circumstances of uncertainty and provisional solutions call for the applying not of rules but of guidelines

The authorities called to make decisions concerning health and environmental risks sometimes find themselves facing a situation in which available scientific data are contradictory or quantitatively scarce. It may then be appropriate to base evaluations on the ‘precautionary principle’, which does not mean applying rules but certain guidelines aimed at managing the situation of uncertainty. […] The circumstances of uncertainty proper moral perspective make it particularly important that the decision-making process be transparent. (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 469, May 26, 2009)

  • The human person transcends the limits of the created universe for his ultimate end is God himself

The human person, in himself and in his vocation, transcends the limits of the created universe, of society and of history: his ultimate end is God himself (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2244), who has revealed himself to men in order to invite them and receive them into communion with himself (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dei Verbum, 2). (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 47, May 26, 2009)

  • Without the relationship with God, nature is stripped of its profound meaning and impoverished

The attitude that must characterize the way man acts in relation to creation is essentially one of gratitude and appreciation; the world, in fact, reveals the mystery of God who created and sustains it. If the relationship with God is placed aside, nature is stripped of its profound meaning and impoverished. If on the other hand, nature is rediscovered in its creaturely dimension, channels of communication with it can be established, its rich and symbolic meaning can be understood, allowing us to enter into its realm of mystery. This realm opens the path of man to God, Creator of heaven and earth. The world presents itself before man’s eyes as evidence of God, the place where his creative, providential and redemptive power unfolds. (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 487, May 26, 2006)