Catholic social teaching is a doctrine body that was developed by the church for social justice matters. The social teachings of the Catholic Church contain a rich wisdom treasure for building a just society and living holy despite the modern society’s challenges. For a very long time, their key ideas have characterized the Catholic social teachings, and they include subsidiarity, socialization, and solidarity. They all need to be held in tandem.
Back in 13th century, St. Francis realized how precious water was as a resource and used the term ‘sister water’ to refer to it. He illustrated a deep respect to water and sense of intimate relationship with it (St. Francis Para 1). Today, there is a prayer for sister water that thanks the Lords for the gift of the living water. The prayer asks the Lord to guide people to use the precious gift wisely and learn from the humility of the gift. Catholics ask God to guide them in consuming water sparingly while protecting its purity and by doing so they will truly enjoy the water with the help of St. Francis (St. Francis Para 2). This paper analyzes the process of acquiring, maintaining and reclaiming the truth as it relates to sister water and one of the Catholic social teaching precepts.
The church sees the integration of goodness with each human person as the essential component of a virtuous, stable and just society. The Catholic Church’s catechism teaches that whatever is true is honorable. A virtue is considered as a habitual and firm disposition to do the good that not only allows a person to perform good acts, but also to give the best of them. The church is viewed as an educational institution thus it is necessary to have foundational precepts. The seven precepts of the Catholic social teaching are; life and dignity of the human person, rights and responsibilities, call to family community and participation, the dignity of work and the workers’ rights, option for the poor and vulnerable and finally care for God’s creation (Curran 183).
One cannot find any definition of truth from theological writings as they consist mainly of direct treatment of theological topics. However, one can trace some implicit ideas in his theology concerning the question of truth and the way to gain an insight into a truth. Relating to sister water, it can be said that there exist an unquestionable, absolute and uncompromising reality which is true without any further qualifications (Raman 140). According to the common Roman Catholic view, some true things are more important and thus closer to the truth than others. In relation to sister water, God Himself is the truth in the absolute sense. This means that God is at the top of the hierarchy of truths, the personal, omnipresent and omnipotent truth. All truths classified by the hierarchy of truths derive their truthfulness from this absolute truth. It can thus be said that the more a truth tells about God, as He is in Himself and His external work, the truer it is. This can be explained by sister water prayer by St. Francis.
For this reason, truth is not primarily concerned with the logical, epistemological and semantically correctness of thinking. It is rather concerned with how a certain idea or being corresponds to the ultimate reality of the universe (God). Criterion for truth is the cognitive impression that comes from real objects. Scientists have tried to analyze the manner in which the truth may be free from error. This has, therefore, provoked the need to analyze truth and error since the human mind is prone to errors. The knowledge concerning matter needs to be conscious and immediate. Rational impressions are incorporated when the content can be exhibited in different languages. The criterion that accounts for the truth of things is the impressions which they come in several varieties. Sensory impressions are cognitive, and they are fundamental role in the epistemology as they also form the base upon which the subject attains knowledge. Since God is the good, the life and the being and the force behind everything, truth is a cosmic reality rather than a simple question concerning the correctness of a given idea.
Something is true if it is in accordance with the will of God. Knowledge acquired through the Christina tradition would be wisdom that is a result of infallible revelation. When interpreted, truth comes close to power in many catholic’s thinking. Time and tradition dictate what truth is since what have been developed since generations is advocated as truth. It is believed that errors reduce with time though it is subject to flaws. Such are the beliefs of sticking to a religion since the other religion is older than that he belongs. Traditions were adopted in order to sustain cultures, but this has been challenged by development in technology. Technology has revolutionized ideologies and the manner in which people consider issues (Tuominen 11-14).
Sister water prayer implies God as the soul of the cosmos, and this belief holds that, there is a mind that is powerful and divine of all. In respect to this God has the greatest intelligence thus assertions that cosmos is believed to be a living being with its soul and reason. The truth is determined by the essence of belief where those in authority are regarded to give the best judgment due to extensive training and experience. The traditions impose one to be a follower of it customs and culture. In this aspect, they dictate the norms and value of a society though this has been challenged by technology.
For the truth to be delivered there must be consistency in the statement and the facts. This, for this reason, provides a prose that explains gives out reality hence support the facts represented. This may be better demonstrated by using a correspondence. The Catholic teachings have held the belief that God is fire, and it is that fire that warms up the body of animals. According to the Catholic teachings, the Christian revelation of truth is a continuous process of acquiring new infallible tradition. Thus, the fullness of revelation has not been reached and will not be reached before the final consummation of everything in the Parousia. It is only then that human beings can acquire a full understanding of the truth.
From the Christian perspective, solidarity involves solidarity with poor people, and that is the truth. Contemporary Catholic social teaching considers this relationship to the poor using option for the poor preference. This concept has its roots and meaning in several different contexts. There is a strong biblical base to support for the poor. In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, one is bale to understand that God cares and has a predilection for poor people. The Psalms and all of the literature of the Hebrew Bible have constantly maintained that God hears the cry of poor people. He will protect poor people, even though; no one seems to care about them. Jesus by dying on the cross identifies with all victims of marginalization, injustice, and poverty, and this is the truth. A teaching by Pope Paul VI stated that “work for justice if you want peace” and this is the truth.
In today’s world, the rule, where the preference of the majority prevails over that of minority, is assumed to render the truth. This is mainly exercised to indicate the democracy in a society especially those related to morality and social behaviors. This, however, bends the truth since the majority may not represent what truth is. Criticism may be projected due to the presence of characteristic or parameters that may fail to confirm with expectations of the society.
Those who are in possession of authority are assumed to be highly trained, be in possession of experience and also have qualified in degrees they have undertaken. Their statement is thus believed to be criteria of truth. They propose a proof of action to their followers. In this case, they do not command. Instead, they address it in conformity with responsibilities. They are privileged since everyone in the society considers them as the role model due to the strong decisions they make concerning the society.
Aeschines once said that truth is so strong that it overcomes the sophistries of all human. The Old Testament has attested that God is the source of all the truth and that His word is deemed to be the truth; His law is the truth. For this reason, all generations are endured by His faithfulness.
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