Catholic Diocese Jersey

Thought of the week

 “ … I know my own and my own know me …” Jn. 10:11-18 - We are reminded in our first reading, on this ‘Good Shepherd Sunday’, that healing, recovery and life come from Jesus who was crucified and who is risen from the dead. In the letter of St John we are urged to take time to think about God’s love. Our new God-given identity is something into which we must grow.

Today we are providing every member of our Catholic community with a copy of the latest report, prepared by Caritas Jersey, focussing on the Eradication of Poverty in Jersey.  If we are to sincerely take on board our mission to follow our Good Shepherd, Jesus, and imitate His example, here is a perfect agenda on which to focus: social inclusion of minority groups; housing and accommodation; wages, benefits and employment; health – physical and psychological.

These are some of the challenges which are faced on a daily basis by many of our fellow citizens. There is no question that huge credit must be given to the Statutory Authorities, Health and Social Services and many others. But this does not mean that there are not large numbers of local residents who are suffering tremendous deprivation. There are those who will say that the gap in Jersey is widening between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’.

Caritas Jersey is making this document available to every candidate offering themselves for election next month. Please use this document to establish where your preferred candidate stands on these matters. As Catholic Christians and as Good Shepherds, we have a particular responsibility for people who are poor and vulnerable. They have a special place in Catholic teaching, as this is what is meant by the ‘preferential option for the poor’. Scripture tells us we will be judged by our response to the ‘least of these’, in which we see the suffering face of Christ himself.  Humanity is one family, despite differences of nationality or race. The poor are not a burden; they are our brothers and sisters. Solidarity with our neighbour is also about the promotion of equality of rights and equality of opportunities; hence we must oppose all forms of discrimination and racism.

All Catholic citizens need an informed ‘social conscience’, which will enable them to identify and resist structures of injustice in their own society. This will especially be the case as our local elections are underway. Attention to Catholic Social Teaching will enable the traditional Catholic custom of ‘examination of conscience’ to be extended into the social and political realm.

“An authentic faith … always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better than we found it ... If indeed ‘the just ordering of society and of the state is a central responsibility of politics,’ the Church, ‘cannot and must not remain on the side-lines in the fight for justice.’”  Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, No. 183

                                       Deacon Iain