Catholic Social Teaching emphasizes the principles of human dignity and solidarity. The principle of human dignity states that we all possess certain inherent values through our distinction as human beings. Standing in solidarity requires a commitment to others around the world through embracing the common good. Neither of these principles are considered acts of charity but instead involve lifelong dedication to the respect and uplifting of the human race.
The Loquitur editorial staff would like to commend the 17 individuals who embodied Catholic Social Teaching and a commitment to social justice and traveled to Washington, D.C. last Friday to speak to Senators and House Representatives on behalf of human rights for people around the world. It is not the easiest task to go speak to government officials at all, let alone on behalf of people you have never seen or met. However, it is vital to conquer the fear on behalf of the common good because if we who are capable do not speak up for those who need us, then who will? They will be voiceless. However, we all have human dignity and are entitled to a voice. We have a moral obligation to be the voices for our brothers and sisters.
The Cabrini students who went to lobby spoke about poverty focused development assistance, which is a portion of the federal budget that goes to helping those impoverished reach the first rung of the ladder of development. This portion of the budget can fall under foreign aid but it is so much more than assistance. This money, which is actually only 0.6 percent of the federal budget, is sustainability, the aforementioned principle of Catholic Social Teaching. While this money is so important to so many people, it also has a direct effect on our national security and positive relationships with other countries. It also actually saves the United States money in the long run because the closer these countries get to sustainability, the less money we need to give in disaster relief and in charity.
Is it not incredible that Americans can call the office of their state Senators and Representatives to make appointments to converse about important issues? In so many countries, this would be illegal. Citizens could be severely punished or even killed for trying to express a different opinion. We are truly blessed to live in a country where our opinions will be heard and they will matter. This leads the Loquitur editorial staff to wonder, why don’t more people take advantage of this immense opportunity? How will the world ever change or get better in the way you would like it to if you do not make your opinion heard? The answer is that it will not.
Americans everywhere should follow in the steps of the Cabrini students and advocate on behalf of important issues. We know that most average adults feel pressured for time between balancing work, stress and family commitments. While Cabrini students may have taken the ultimate advocacy step, there are important things that can be done from the comfort of your own home. Writing emails and making phone calls really do go a long way. The office keeps count of how many constituents advocate about what issues and through what mediums. Advocating for what you believe in is the only way to make a change.
As Ghandi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” The world obviously needs change and we have the power to do it. Lobby. Write emails. Make phone calls. If you were living on less than $2 a day, wouldn’t you want someone to remember you?