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Social Justice

Paper Outline

Introduction
The Catholic’s social teachings on justice
Courts of law should exercise justice
A jail should be a place for restoration of self-worth to prisoners
Issues that lead to criminal activities should be addressed
Forgiveness should be practiced and extended to wrong doers as well
Prisoners should be involved in Christian faith during and after their sentences
Prisoners should not be perceived as outcasts but treated with compassion
Christians should preach peace to improve law and order

The church and formulation of some policies in the government

Conclusion

 
Introduction
God, who is regarded as the father of humankind, is just; therefore, the same is expected from His creation. Life is God-given and sacred. In this case, all human beings should strive to avoid activities that bring suffering and oppression to God’s creation. Imprisonment is a form of oppression when it is not implemented in a right way to correct individuals. To some extent, imprisonment brings sadness and humiliation. It should be the last alternative after other ways of solving a certain crime have failed. The Catholic Church is concerned with social injustices and has contributed a lot towards curbing crime through alternative ways other than imprisonment. The church also seeks to instill value in the prisoners’ lives through teachings and practices that accept prisoners as people who deserve to be treated with dignity (Windley-Daoust, 2007).
The Catholic’s social teachings on justice

Courts of law should exercise justice

Suspects should be given a chance to prove their innocence. It is sad for people to spend their lives in prison for crimes they did not commit. Judges should be fair in sentencing people by proving them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. More often than not, people in Australia find themselves in prisons, not for being convicted, but due to delayed trials. This is sad and unfair. The Catholic Church views this as injustice because the prison becomes a place for distress and misery other than rehabilitation. Such situations will only lead to increased criminal activities because those with morals may end up being corrupted through associating with criminals (Clayton, 2004). The church advocate for fast trials so that if convicted a person does not spend an unnecessary long period in jail. It also suggests that trivial matters be addressed through other means such as juvenile centers for the underage law breakers and rehabilitation centers for the adults (MacBrien, 1994).

A jail should be a place for restoration of self-worth to prisoners

While serving their terms, prisoners should be engaged in activities that will help them become useful once they are freed. However, it is critical for the prisoners to be taught about God’s perception of sin and what is expected of them as Christians. The church suggests that every punishment administered to a wrong doer must have a rehabilitative purpose. This can be done through offering trainings and skills that will prove useful and give them a starting point once their terms are over. These skills and technology restore the prisoners’ self-worth because they are able to contribute to the economy (McBrien, 1994).

Issues that lead to criminal activities should be addressed

Some crimes are committed out of sheer carelessness or even brief associations with wrong doers, and we can call them temptations. Nevertheless, these “temptations” see people spend years in prisons, yet if given a chance; they could be corrected through mere dialogues. In this case, the church has solved by addressing issues that lead to criminal activities like drug abuse that leads to mental instability this is solved by campaigns against drug use. The church has advocated for equal distribution of employment opportunities to help eradicate poverty which increases crime. Some solutions to criminal activities that the church suggests are like engaging people in prolonged learning activities. Also, it includes the provision of institutions for mental services and community based projects, as well as economic support to marginalized communities.
Another major cause of crime is the negative influence. In this case, the church offers guidance to offenders and educates them on which aspect to look for in friends and associates. This helps them not to fall back to their old habits that caused them trouble. Instead, the offenders choose and develop relationships with people who add value to their lives and improve their self-worth.

Forgiveness should be practiced and extended to wrong doers as well

Christians often fall into temptations and break the commandments and ask for forgiveness from God. Therefore, in order to be forgiven, Christians must also forgive. According to the Catholic faith, all humans are equal before God’s eyes. This is evident during creation as all people were created in God’s own image, and salvation to the world was provided for all people. Christians should have mercy and love to others since all people belong to the same God. This is a practice that shows that they care about the social well-being of other individuals in the society. The Catholic Church encourages people to opt for forgiving one another, and thus cases of people suing their fellow humankind and exposing them to prison life will be less. Turning around the situation and addressing the main reason as to why people commit certain crimes and assisting to solve the problem will improve the situation. This will reduce the number of people suffering in prison as well as improve others’ lives and morals among the societies. Reconciliation brings healing and restores harmony and good social relationships in the society (Massaro, 2000).

Prisoners should be involved in Christian faith during and after their sentences

Christian values should be practiced by all whether in prison or not. The Catholic Church has done this by the foundation of churches in prison and established rehabilitation institutions for them once they are free. These institutions offer an opportunity for transition from jail into the community by offering jobs, trainings, and accommodation before they can support themselves or re uniting them with their families and counseling (Weigert & Kelley, 2004).Chaplains have spent time with prisoners offering them spiritual guidance and celebrations through sacraments. This makes the prisoners feel loved, be less remorseful, and restores their dignity. The church views the prison as an avenue for campaigning law and order. The church encourages families to support their people in prison through visiting them. This also encourages the prison officers to preserve their dignity and promotes brotherly love amongst them. Most important of all is receiving them back into the community and church once they are through with their sentences (Massaro, 2000).

Prisoners should not be perceived as outcasts but treated with compassion

When one is imprisoned, this is not an indication that the individual has chosen to be evil. Prisoners are human beings, and deserve understanding and empathy. We all belong to the same father, and this should bring us closer to become brothers and sisters in Christ. Therefore, judging other people whether Christians or not is wrong. Christians should learn the needs of prisoners, their loved ones, and the officers who take care of the prisoners. Learning their needs will help Christians know how to approach them. This will enable Christians to educate the prisoners on Christianity and what do so as to a void getting in prison in the future. If Christians interact with prisoners while helping them, the Christians teach by examples and not theory. Therefore, this is bound to be effective, as opposed to just preaching to the prisoners (Massaro, 2000). The church urges the society to show such compassion through visiting them in prison and helping them start a fresh on leaving jail.

Christians should preach peace to improve law and order

The rest of the world is complaining about the deterioration of morals and increasing rate of crime. On the other hand, Christians are expected to stand by their values and teach obedience to the state law despite the political environment and economic conditions experienced. The difference between the human persons’ goodness and a Christian is the dignity whose foundation is Christ. This means that the church’s social mission is connected with the gospel (Whitmore, 2005). A Christian is expected to be just in order to preach the gospel about justice. Therefore, they should lead by examples by first being law abiding citizens before extending these values to the rest of society. When Christians identify themselves with prisoners, they see Christ through the prisoners and this contributes to obedience because they are likely to practice these values after their sentences. The church has given Christians the liberty to participate in political and economic activities that aim at improving people’s lives. In turn, this encourages the government to listen to religious views on social justice and give citizens freedom of religion. It results to states that are united and have one goal towards common good and opposing injustice (Pennock, 2007).
The church and formulation of some policies in the government
Some of the reasons why crime has increased are due to the economic situations and political activities that oppress people. The church looks into issues like the right to job access to people through just employment and wages, freedom to religion, and issues like democracy in politics. In addition, the church focuses on establishing equity among the various socio-economic classes of people in the society. The church also fights for respect to views founded by religion and influenced by the church. Through this, Christians have been able to identify their social responsibility and influence to the state in maintaining social justice. This has enabled them to participate in fighting social injustices such as corruption and racism as well as promote human rights. If Christian love binds the nations, then selfish activities evident in hunger for power and exaggerated profits will be minimize. Also, the poor will get a share if resources are distributed equally, and thus temptations to crime will also be minimal. The church differs with the state’s opinion of making jails brutal and unbearable as a strategy that deprives prisoners of their dignity (De Berri & Hug, 2003).
Conclusion
Social justice is not a responsibility of the state judiciaries, but the whole society. If all people exercised social responsibility and stood together as the body of Christ, the level of criminal activities would be low. This would lead to a better society that pleases Christ. It helps improve the social well-being because the state is dependent on the society which includes the Christians. According to the church, getting tough on the crime is not the solution. Creating a long term alternative to imprisonment is usually encouraged. In addition, church suggestions can only be done through concentrating on the causes and prevention of crime. Punishment only results into increased violence and impunity.


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