In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI foresaw that a culture of materialism and utility would lead to violence against the human person and the broader human family. Today’s culture often ignores the consequences of individual actions on the human family, and views people as things to use and discard. This culture of use is the opposite of love. Each person individually is immensely good, created body and soul from love, by Love, for love.
To transcend a throwaway culture, social justice must center on the dignity of the human person. Virtuous development places the human person at the center of every action, questioning what will lead most to the flourishing of this person and their family. Do our businesses allow and encourage employees to prioritize their children? Does governmental aid encourage family life? How can we better uphold the institutions that respect the gift of every human life?
Each human right carries with it responsibilities to our brothers and sisters. Every governmental policy, every company budget, every person’s paycheck should prompt us to recall our duty to support our human family. This brotherhood ties us to the homeless youth of our hometown, to the father working three jobs to feed his children, to the spiritually impoverished young adult, to the mother without medical care in a developing nation.
The individual duty of each one of us expands to a macro scale for the Body of Christ. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus, each individual, family, and institution can uphold the dignity of our universal family.
Molly works in the Office of Life, Justice & Peace for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles
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