Economic Justice and Gospel Social Values

By: Kevin Butts
January 25, 2012

*The content of these blogs are the personal reflections of the author and do not represent official Columban positions or statements

Kevin Butts

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ publication no. 5-315 on “Themes from Catholic Social Teaching” tells us that, as God’s children, “We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.” I believe that it is around this principle that much of my work at the Columban Center will focus.

My area of concentration at CCAO is economic justice, and more specifically on trade, extractive industries, global food issues, and budgetary planning. I believe that, in these fields, monetary concerns far too often are given priority over real human lives in such a way that leads to the latter’s indignity and suffering.

A world so oriented is antithetical to our responsibilities as servants of God. Jesus warns us in the Gospel of Matthew that earthly treasures will rot, and that that rot will eat away our hearts (6:19-21). He also tells us, “Truly…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:39).

The righteous society—the one we must strive for—is one whose treasures are stored not on Earth but in Heaven. And chief among these treasures are the kindness and love rendered unto those less fortunate.

I’m excited to bring this outlook to my work at the Columban Center this spring, and hope further to inspire it in those around me.