Bishop Gerald Barnes of San Bernardino at his blog, Good News for the Digital Pews:

Much is made about the opportunity in America to go as far financially as your hard work, intelligence and determination can carry you. This is a great ideal but the workings of the economy must make it true. If the system is conducive to wealth for some at the expense of many others, this great statement of opportunity is not being lived. Those who have joined the Occupy Movement are telling us that such an imbalance may have come to pass.

This dovetails with our Catholic teaching that policies, laws and systems are created to serve the common good. We are not concerned just about individual opportunity but how the economy enhances community life.  Whether or not we choose to become part of the Occupy Movement, we are called as Catholics to exercise Faithful Citizenship, raising our voices when we see moral failure in the public policies and government actions that shape our lives. We do this not to side with a particular political ideology or to follow a cultural trend. We do it for the same reason every time – to protect and promote human dignity. We believe that every life has value – regardless of economic status, race, age, health or any other factor. This is the love to which our Lord Jesus Christ calls us.

Twenty-five years ago, a time that seems prosperous compared to today’s economic climate, the Bishops of the United States issued “Economic Justice for All,” a pastoral letter that applied Catholic Social Teaching to the U.S. Economy. It remains remarkably relevant today. As a reference for Catholic thinking about the Occupy Movement, I highly recommend a revisiting of this letter. It can be found at: www.usccb.org.

Regardless of your opinion about the Occupy Movement I urge you to continue to pray for those who find themselves in the margins of our society because of these difficult economic times, and to come to their aid in whatever way that you can.   This time of Advent is a time of hope.  It is a time for reflection and action.  We prepare for the celebration of the Lord’s coming.  May he find us waiting in hope; attentive to each other’s need; and sharing with one another the gifts He has given us.

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