Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Justice for all?

A thought provoking article was posted today in our daily Angelus News email...
Supreme Court rules in favor of religious hospitals in pension dispute

I urge you to read and consider this question:
Is this really a win?

Religious freedom under the law is one thing, but when it flouts the moral responsibility of the institutional Church to care for it's workers, I really think we, the greater Church, need to stand up for justice.

This is a very important and highly charged issue, but one the larger Church is, unfortunately, not well aware.  Anyone who has worked for the institutional Church (or has someone close to them who does) know this issue well and must deal with this daily.

Poor wages, poor working conditions, poor benefits, and pathetic retirement plans are the norm. This is particularly poignant given that this Sunday we're being encouraged to give to the annual collection for the priests retirement fund. Why do we need this fund? Because back in the day priests (and many religious) were encouraged to opt-out of Social Security (see this article from America magazine):


The Coming Crisis: How will priests fund their retirement?


I don't work for the institutional Church, but I know plenty who have (and still do). Our schools had it the hardest... it's taken 40 years but our school's teachers are finally getting some pay equity.  But there are so many more working in church institutions that are still struggling. For all we teach and preach about social justice, we're so busy looking outside that we're missing what's going on in our own back yard.  Or worse, refuse to see it for what it is.

In the end it's all up to us. We need to see the problem for what it is, speak out, and above all, give more! I'm tired of hearing people complain that, "we don't have....." fill in the blank (a bigger choir, a youth program, a soup kitchen). People constantly say that these other (large Protestant) churches do this, why aren't we? Simple. Their congregations give more. They can afford to pay a living wage. They're willing to pay a living wage. Catholics on average give only 1% of their income to the Church. Second last only to Unitarians. Imagine what we could do if we gave only 2%? That would double a parish's income. Imagine what could be done!

So you see... we're all sinners in this game. It's time to speak up and pay up... so we can have social justice for all Church workers, including our clergy and hard working religious.

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