The Perspective of Justice
A Specific Responsibility
The readings deal with teaching authority. The first reading deals with the authority of Moses; the third with the authority of Jesus. The response to Psalm 95 speaks of not hardening our hearts when we hear God’s voice.
There are several ‘voices’ that speak to us with authority. One is the Scripture. Another is the hierarchy of the Church, which speaks authoritatively on matters of doctrine as well as on issues of personal morality and social justice.
The First Reading speaks of true and false prophets: those who speak the words God puts in their mouths, and those who claim to speak in God’s name but speak words God has not commanded them to speak.
Society is often a ‘false prophet,’ claiming to speak the truth and even to be ‘Christian,’ but at the same time glorifying war and oppressing the poor.
The Church, in its teaching on personal and social morality, is a true prophet, faithful to God’s revealed word.
The Church has the right, indeed the duty, to proclaim justice on the social, national and international level, and to denounce instances of injustice, when the fundamental rights of man and his very salvation demand it.
The Church, indeed, is not alone responsible for justice in the world; however, she has a proper and specific responsibility which is identified with her mission of giving witness before the world of the need for love and justice contained in the Gospel message, a witness to be carried out in Church institutions themselves and in the lives of Christians.
Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, 1971:36
**From Saint Louis University