Since the founding of the United States, more than 55 million immigrants from every continent have settled here. Every wave of immigration has faced fear and hostility from both ordinary citizens and government especially during times of economic hardship, political turmoil or war. Coming to the United States, Immigrants do not receive the same amount of rights that actual citizens do. One of the many things immigrants lack in the United States is the right to an education. Today immigrants face a great amount of troubles.
These troubles are very similar to the ones the Jews faced during the Holocaust. These troubles have definitely gone against the catholic social teachings that are in todays society. In todays society there are major Principles of Catholic Social Teaching. “The Church’s social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society” describes how important these principles are (www. usccb. org). Some of these include; dignity of a human person, Community and the common good, and Rights and responsibilities.
Dignity of a human person is described when people are sacred, made in the image and likeness of God. People do not lose dignity because of disability, poverty, age, lack of success, or race. The emphasis is on people over things, being over having. Community and the common good is when the human person is both sacred and social. We realize our dignity and rights in relationship with others, in community. As Saint Paul said, “We are one body: when one suffers, we all suffer. ” We are called to respect all of God’s gifts of creation, to be good stewards of the earth and each other.
Rights and responsibilities have to do with people having a fundamental right to life, food, shelter, health care,education, and employment. All people have a right to participate in the decisions that affect their lives. Like Ronald Reagan once said “Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged. ” A couple more principles of catholic social teaching are Option for the poor, Dignity of work, and Solidarity. Option for the poor is the moral test of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. The poor have the most urgent moral claim on the conscience of any community.
We are called to look at public policy decisions in terms of how they affect the poor. “As followers of Christ, we are challenged to make a preferential option for the poor, namely, to create conditions for marginalized voices to be heard, to defend the defenseless, and to assess lifestyles, policies and social institutions in terms of their impact on the poor” is a great quote which describes what is done for potion for the poor (socialconcerns. nd. edu). Dignity of work is when people have a right to decent and productive work, fair wages, private property, and economic initiative.
The economy exists to serve people, not the other way around. Work is important even though it isn’t always appreciated by everyone, like Abraham Lincoln once said: “My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it. ” And finally solidarity is that we are one human family. Our responsibilities to each other cross national, racial, economic, and ideological differences. We are called to work globally for justice. All of these principle make up what we as catholics are supposed to follow in our everyday lives. However sometimes these principles aren’t followed correctly.
One of he ways that the principles of catholic social teaching were violated would be during the holocaust. The Jews were part of the largest genocides in history. A genocide is a mass killing of a specific race. The killing of the Jews totally went against the principles of catholic social teaching. Principles like dignity of a human person, Community and the common good, and Rights and responsibilities were all violated during the holocaust. Jewish people were being killed in large amounts and by the end the Jewish race had their dignity taken away from them.
The quote “It is a very specific term, referring to violent crimes committed against groups with the intent to destroy the existence of the group” describes how a genocide has such a negative impact (www. ushmm. org). The Jews had lost a sense of community as well. They had their rights broken and the Jews did not receive national unity that was known as solidarity. Largely the Jews were denied a right to life. This mass killing was a horrible event for the Jewish people and it is still spoken about and studied today.
Similar but not exactly like Jews, Immigrants were denied rights. A right in specific that they were denied was the right to an education. “Education is a fundamental human right and essential for the exercise of all other human rights” which shows how education is an extremely important right to humans (www. unesco. org). Immigrants have come into this country for thousands of years and they have not fully received the rights they deserve. The right to an education is one of he largest rights they are denied. Education for a person is one of the most important things there is.
Being denied the right to an education effects the person not only right then but in the future when they are trying to get a job and live on their life. Immigrants such as children were impacted the most due to the fact that at such a young age education was most important and as they grow up education is what they need most but is what they will get least. One major principle of catholic social teaching that this violated was rights and responsibility which was immensely violated in this situation. That violation is very similar to they way the Jews rights and responsibilities were violated.
Both Immigrants and Jews were denied the right of something which had a large impact on their lives. Just like in the past when the Jews and Immigrants were denied rights it also happen today. Today both Immigrants and Jews are denied those same rights. However things have evolved so the denial of these rights doesn’t happen as often but that doesn’t mean that its nonexistent. John F Kennedy once said “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened” which relates to how Jews and Immigrants were denied rights.
Because of what happen in the past makes it happen in the present. If the events with the Jews and Immigrants didn’t happen than today there would be no chance for their rights to be denied today. However there are other injustices that occur today. The principles of catholic social teaching are violated everyday. Events like getting laid off or not getting hired because of specific trait that person observes violate dignity to work. Also people look down on the poor and don’t look for ways to help them which violates option for the poor.
Another principle that is violated in todays society would be dignity of a human person because of reasons like when a person is mistreated criminally. And finally community and common good can be violated when a person goes against the rules that are set down to keep things in order. This topic of the Rights of Immigrants to have an education does have a personal connection to me. When my uncle was around my age he came to America from Ireland. He was only trying to make a better live for himself, however he believed education was important.
Being as young as he was he had trouble getting and education which limited his chance for a bright future. However he was determined to get a good education. By his 20s he had succeed in getting a education which lead to him getting a job and making a living. My uncle Denis believed that education was one of the most important things in life and he still does. He once told me that “Education is what will get you far, noting else” and he was right because of this attitude he was able to get a great job as an owner of a company. He has been successful in his business an has been given several awards.
He admits that getting an education was difficult and it was only because of his attitude that he was able to get an education. As catholics we are thought to live up to the Lord. One of the ways to do so is by following the catholic social teachings in todays society. Many things go against these catholic social teachings even though they are valued principles. These principles have been broken in the past and will continue to be broken in the future. For example things like the holocaust and immigration have been prime examples of these principles being broken.
Courtney from Study Moose
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