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In the church, ”become all things to all people”
In the church, ”become all things to all people” (1 cor.9:19-24). This reference summarizes my experience as a teacher of Catholic Social teaching CST (0ctober 2018- February 2019), Ibadan -Nigeria-, to a group of 102 novices from 15 different male and female congregations who gathered every Tuesday at the Dominican University for their inter-novitiate school.
Catholic Social Teaching also known as Catholic Social Doctrine is a body of teachings on economic, political, social and cultural issues developed by the Catholic Church. It was one of the major courses that novices cannot finish their without being taught. The aim of the course is to expose our young women and men who desire to follow Jesus in a more radical way to the reality, of the Church in the Modern WORLD. The church continues to act as guardian of universal truth. And this truth is obvious in all the papal Encyclicals from Rerum Novarum till date. Some of the Major principles that emanated from my teaching were the following… Dignity of the Human Person, Respect for common good, Principle of Subsidiarity and Solidarity, the issue of social justice, proper attitude towards our environment, call to family, community and participation, dignity of work and the rights of workers, solidarity and preferential option for the poor and vulnerable.
The dignity of the human person is the most important principles because it is from our dignity as human persons that all other rights and responsibilities flow. Human rights flow from the respect of human dignity. Each person has a right to those things required for human decency starting with food, shelter, clothing, employment, health care, and education. Also includes freedom of speech, religion, association, migration, and participation in full society. The economy must serve people, not the other way round. The moral test of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers and sisters keepers, wherever they may be. At the core of CST is the pursuit of justice and peace. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.
The novices also participated by listening, asking question and presenting papers on different papal encyclicals. At the end of 5 months course, we are empowered to be more responsible in creating a just world, religious tolerance and violence free society.
To be an authentic religious in AFRICA today demands social consciousness.
Happiness OHANUMA, DHS. Published February 11, 2019.