A slightly snowy day in Brooklyn. I am hanging around the friary today, doing homework and housework.
The homework is to prepare a presentation on Economic Justice for All, the 1986 pastoral letter of the U.S. Catholic bishops. This landmark document applies the principles of Catholic social teaching to economic life in the United States. My assignment is to give a broad outline of the document and describe its main components; state the major themes of the letter; highlight a few striking passages and explain their significance; and offer general impressions of the letter.
My postulant brothers are reading other documents from the tradition, either papal encyclicals or bishops' letters. We will give our presentations this coming week, when Fr. Michael Marigliano returns to conclude our instruction in Catholic social thought.
I am relieved to have read Economic Justice for All at length, at last. With a little embarrassment I must admit that until now I had not read the entire letter, neither while I studied social ethics at Boston University nor subsequently when I was lead organizer for the Massachusetts Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice! I knew it only through secondary sources and in fragments. A great lacuna in my continuing education has been closed.
The housework is to finish my laundry, exercise my body, and pray. With Fr. Senan Taylor's lesson on aging sinking in, I remain mindful that I must take care of this house of flesh and blood, this temple of the Holy Spirit, so that I may fulfill my religious vocation for as long as God wills me to live.