Frustrated with politics? Then this course is for you

| August 23, 2017 | 0 Comments

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Blessed Sacrament to host classes on Catholic social teaching basics

It’s been said that Catholic social teaching is the Church’s best kept secret.

Richard Aleman wants it out of the bag.

“The social question cannot be solved apart from the Gospel,” he said, and that’s something he hopes to help other Catholics understand through a 12-week course on Catholic social thought he’s teaching at Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul, beginning Sept. 21.

The social question, or how one ought to respond to political, economic and cultural challenges, is where people put into practice the two great commandments — to love God with one’s whole heart, soul and mind, and one’s neighbor as oneself, he said. The Catholic Church offers a wealth of teaching — primarily through encyclicals and other documents — that explores a person’s rights and responsibilities in their family, work and society, which collectively is called Catholic social teaching.

Organized chronologically with most of the material focusing on the period from the French Revolution to present day, the course, Living Catholic Social Teaching, aims to tell the story of the Church’s social teaching as a framework for building a just society and living holy lives.

A parishioner of St. Agnes in St. Paul, Aleman designed the course to combat dry and piecemeal approaches to the topic, as well as to rise above the political left-right divide. He hopes to inspire people who primarily view policy issues through the lens of a political party to instead draw first from the wisdom of the Church.

The course is also for Catholics who find themselves increasingly “politically homeless,” or disconnected from either major political party, he said.

Father John Paul Erickson, Blessed Sacrament’s pastor, said he “is eager to have a good teacher on a subject that is greatly misunderstood.”

“There is a tremendous amount of confusion about what are the principles of politics for a Catholic, especially in our current era,” he said. “Having some clarity of what we believe regarding non-partisan political principles can only be a good thing.”

After the Enlightenment, Aleman said, politics, economics and culture became fragmented from one another and separated from religion and faith — a false vision of reality in the Church’s eyes.

“Everything is interrelated,” Father Erickson said. The Church is interested “in building up a society that authentically nurtures true human flourishing, the authentic common good, [and] supporting economic systems, social media that truly raises up human dignity and provides the soil from which authentic family life can grow.”

Class topics include the Church and agriculture, the sexual revolution and the meaning of good work. The class will also include two Saturday events, including volunteering with the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Among Aleman’s goals is to help participants apply the Church’s teachings to the real world.

“This is not just a mental exercise,” he said. “The Church has the answer.”

Registration for Living Catholic Social Teaching closes Sept. 11. More information.

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