Slavery is alive and well today. Recent estimates put the number of people in bondage at 27 million worldwide. The abolition of modern-day slavery is an urgent matter; in the words of Pope John Paul II, slavery constitutes a shocking offence against human dignity and a grave violation of fundamental human rights.
During the past decade, the Catholic Church has emerged as one of the strongest advocates of free trade. But a system that opens up trade opportunities also needs to be ordered by a moral law. There is no such thing as a genuinely free economy unless it is grounded in the reality of objective morality, Fr. Sirico says. The Vatican clearly understands this.
"Recommend to your children virtue," Beethoven advised, "that alone can make them happy, not gold." The fact that he had no children of his own does not detract from the legitimacy of these words. Let us consider one man who lived by the spirit of this maxim, Sir Francis Burdett.
For much of America's history, labor unions have enjoyed support from religious leaders and their followers. But those ties show signs of unraveling, as unions embrace the radical Left and oppose the priorities of church leaders.
Christianity is not a private lifestyle choice, although some in society would like to confine it to this. Christian living and Christian values have public benefits and consequences, and people who are serious about their faith generally seek to live it out in an appropriate way in every part of life. The Church offers its social teaching to all Christians and people of goodwill as a series of reflections on the best way to advance the common good and defend important human values.
Past articulations of social policy have tended to ignore basic truths about the human person, leading to negative, long-term consequences for those in need. The rehabilitation of the proper exercise of human freedom is both the foundation and the goal of the future of welfare reform.
Europe is old enough to have learned some important lessons in thinking about war and peace. But Europe also needs to recover the North American sense that evil can be fought, that it is shameful to appease aggressors and that wars can be won with pride and decency. Both are necessary elements in the Christian moral tradition on war and peace.