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Chapter 24. Life in Christ—Part Two • 337

morals, the authoritative voice of Christ is exercised by the pope and

bishops who, as the successors of Peter and the Apostles, form the

Magisterium. They are guided by the Holy Spirit, who abides with

the Church to lead us into all truth.

• “The Magisterium of the Pastors of the Church in moral matters is

ordinarily exercised in catechesis and preaching, with the help of the

works of theologians and spiritual authors” (CCC, no. 2033).

• “Society ensures social justice by providing the conditions that allow

associations and individuals to obtain their due” (CCC, no. 1943).

Social justice deals with the essential needs of people who are called

to live together in community with respect for each other’s dignity.

These needs include food, clothing, shelter, and an income that sup-

ports the family.

• “The principle of solidarity, also articulated in terms of ‘friendship’

or ‘social charity,’ is a direct demand of human and Christian broth-

erhood” (CCC, no. 1939). This involves a love for all peoples that

transcends national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differ-

ences. It respects the needs of others and the common good in an

interdependent world.


The Story of America has been the story of long and difficult

struggles to overcome the prejudices which excluded certain cat-

egories of people from a full share in the country’s life: first, the

struggle against religious intolerance, then the struggle against

racial discrimination and in favor of civil rights for everyone.

Sadly, today a new class of people is being excluded. When the

unborn child—“the stranger in the womb”—is declared beyond

the protection of society, not only are America’s deepest tradi-

tions radically undermined and endangered, but a moral blight

is brought upon society. I am also thinking of threats to the

elderly, the severely handicapped and all those who do not seem

to have any social usefulness. When innocent human beings

are declared inconvenient or burdensome, and thus unworthy