Here we are at the bishops’ final goal, number three. It reads in the document:
117. Goal III: To foster gospel values in our society, promoting the dignity of the human person, the importance of the family, and the common good of our society, so that our nation may continue to be transformed by the saving power of Jesus Christ
The bishops (of 1992, remember) cite five areas:
- the advocacy of religious liberty;
- the pursuit of social justice, especially for those left out of today’s society;
- just economic policies;
- a consistent ethic of human life;
- and striving for peace in a nuclear world.
Lay people are ultimately responsible for expressing and living these values in “all aspects” of their lives. (Cf. GMD 119 from Evangelii Nuntiandi 70-73, Apostolicam Actuositatem 15)
Is this goal a peculiar indulgence of the Paul VI bishops, those who were very concerned about those cores issues of freedom and justice in the 80’s? If so, they are alluding more to the primacy of the lived example of the Christian life as a value for attracting new believers. Pope Francis’s example these last months will be a telling test: will his words, trickled down perhaps into concrete action, draw people to Christ who otherwise were not drawn in the previous decades? And will this USCCB goal achieve new life with an outward focus on justice and rights for others, and not just ourselves?
Does Catholic involvement in the public life rally inspire conversion in others?