As Catholics, we speak frequently of social justice issues: helping the poor, the sick, the dying, and the marginalized. We reach out with our time, our pocketbooks, helping in food pantries, supporting the sanctity of life, and spending hours on our knees in prayer with the hope we can institute change.
Giving money to those who are suffering, praying for those who are ill, bringing Holy Communion, and empathetically listening to those who suffer, give me the sense that I am part of the solution, rather than the problem–and it makes me feel good.
Often though, I wonder why social justice often falls short of helping fellow Catholics, especially in the workforce. Why is it that we spend so much of our time reaching out to those outside the Faith, that we fail to see those working tirelessly and for little pay because they love God and want to help the overall mission of the Church?
If we as Roman Catholics want to encourage Catholics to Come Home, then I think we need to do a better job of encouraging the ones we have to stay here! Time and time again, I witness burnout due to the lack of respect of Catholic bosses, the inability to see past the mission and the failure to realize that the employees are doing a great job in not only working for less pay, but evangelizing the faith through their work. Most Catholic employees could take a better paying job, but choose to work for the Church because they believe in the value of what they do–a value that surpasses the bottom line.
Unfortunately, the poor treatment of their own in many aspects; such as lack of respect, lack of approval, and lack of consideration are the very stones that will eventually come tumbling down and the employee will not only burnout, but may quit and could eventually leave the faith.
What good is evangelizing our faith when we kill those who are the mainstay and the backbone of that evangelization?
Would it be so difficult to encourage those Catholic employees, treat them with a bit of respect and perhaps apply that Golden Rule?–Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12).
We cannot just preach social justice–we need to live it in our homes, our parishes and in our workplace.