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The Social Doctrine: Key to the New Evangelization

Written by Alain Pilote on Saturday, 01 October 2016. Posted in Editorial

Tertullian, the great theologian of the early Church, used to say: Truth demands only one thing: to not be condemned without first being heard. This is the case today with our ever-more secularized western societies. People abandon the Catholic Faith either through ignorance or through prejudices, having formed a negative image of religion. For them, religion has no incidence upon their lives. Therefore they can do without it. They go as far as to believe that religion is cause for hatred and divisions while, in fact, it is Christianity that has brought about the liberation and dignity of individuals who, before Christ, were considered as being Cesar’s property, that of the State. Christianity teaches a message of love, of solidarity, of the gift of self for others, while today’s world teaches individualism, indifference and self-absorption.  

This is the challenge of the new evangelization: to bring back to the Faith (and the deeds that go with it) people who were once Catholic but who have abandoned the Faith for different reasons. One means by which to return people to the Faith is the social teaching of the Church on justice, also known as the Social Doctrine of the Church, that some people have called the best kept secret of the Church, precisely because it is a treasury of wisdom that remains mostly unknown. People ask themselves the question, be it about religion or other topics: What’s in it for me? Those whose hearts are more opened to others care about justice for all, but even the more hardened and selfish minds wish justice upon themselves. The Church’s message in favor of justice can therefore reach even those who are the most allergic to religion. And once they have found this message of justice, God’s grace will take care of the rest.  

Pope Saint John Paul II, in his 1999 Apostolic Exhortation on the Church in America, underlined the need for a compendium or summary of the Catholic social doctrine “that would show the relation between the social doctrine and the new evangelization”. This social doctrine is made up of principles, and for it to be “embodied”, it must be accompanied by real propositions that would apply these principles to our social and economic lives. (See p. 6.) This is what the Social Credit or Economic Democracy proposals would do, and it is precisely for this reason that Louis Even, the founder of MICHAEL, chose to make them known. Those who have taken the time to study these proposals have exclaimed, as did Louis Even: “This is a light upon my path. Everyone needs to know this.”

Some people will refuse to study this philosophy out of prejudices, having heard some others say that this is a wacky economic theory, or Communism, or an attempt to revive an old political party. But all who have studied it know that this is not the case. Tertullian’s famous saying could be applied to Social Credit: Social Credit demands only one thing, to not be condemned before first being heard, before first being studied. We encourage you to read the articles published on this topic in each issue of MICHAEL. (See pp. 36 to 39.)  

But even more so than sermons and spoken words, it is through example that people are converted. Saint Francis of Assisi told his followers: «Go and preach, and if need be, add the spoken word.» Or as Blessed Pope Paul VI wrote in his 1975 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi on Evangelization of the Modern World (n. 41): “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” When people see in the Social Crediters of MICHAEL people who give their time and efforts, disciples who dedicate themselves voluntarily through brotherly love while showing a contagious enthusiasm, this is worth much more than many a speech. Their witnessing and the example the saints gave are what caused the Church to be known worldwide today.

Speaking of saints, we believe our readers will appreciate our adding a 2017 canlendar to this issue of MICHAEL. This calendar will remind us each day that we have friends that intercede for us in Heaven, companions who lead us safely during our earthly pilgrimage, that we may reach our Eternal Home. One great saint who is often forgotten is Saint Joseph. Enjoy your reading... and we wish you success in your apostolate work!

About the Author

Alain Pilote

Alain Pilote

Alain Pilote has been the editor of the English edition of MICHAEL for several years. Twice a year we organize a week of study of the social doctrine of the Church and its application and Mr. Pilote is the instructor during these sessions.