Social justice is not some kind of optional extra for Catholics. We are all called to a loving relationship with God, which as Jesus taught is demonstrated by care for the most vulnerable in society.
The following resources are provided to help in your important work – teaching social justice to today’s children.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
Because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To let the oppressed go free,
To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. (Luke 4: 18 – 19)
Further Scripture Passages highlighting social justice:
||Break Through! The Bible for Young Catholics Page Reference
|God demands justice for the poor
||Psalm 82: 2-4
||Psalm 72: 1-2, 12-14
|God’s concern for the poor
||Psalm 146: 4-9
|God’s concern for justice on the earth
||Isaiah 42: 1, 6-7
|God’s concern for the poor and distressed
||Isaiah 1: 11, 16-17
||Pages 1034 – 1035
|The Holiness code in the book of Leviticus insists ‘love they neighbour as yourself’
||Leviticus 19: 18b
|Caring for the poor
||Pages 338, 473, 816, 925, 1335, 1336, 1435, 1607, 1815
|Jesus and Social Justice
||Matthew 25: 31-46
|Jesus and Social Justice
||Luke 16: 19-24
Jesus, when you lived on earth
you showed special love for children.
Please take care of all the children iof the world.
Give them safe places to live,
and loving people to take care of them.
Shield them from all harm to body and soul.
protect those who live in lands
where there is war, not enough food and water,
not enough doctors and nurses.
Please put joy into the hearts of all children
and give them good reason to laugh.
Jesus, let the children of the world come to you,
to be safe and happy.
Thank you, Jesus!
Prayers That I Pray: An Australian Prayer Book for primary school age children, St Pauls
Did you know?
The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer about justice.
Look at the first word: OUR. Not MY Father, but OUR Father. We are all children of the same Father in Heaven. We pray for OUR daily bread. We are praying for our share of resources. The word again is OUR. We are asking that there be enough for all.
Being human means that we have choices.
God gave us the freedom to make choices in our lives. We can choose to be kind to people or choose not to be. The choices you make will ripple out like a rock thrown into water.
- Do we always make good choices?
- Why do we sometimes find it hard to make choices that suit other people more than ourselves?
- Sometimes our choices might hurt the environment. Are the things we want worth the damage to the God’s earth?
The Catholic Church and Social Justice
The Catholic Church—with its many missionaries—is one of the largest groups to provide medical care to people all over the world.
Jesus and Social Justice
Jesus was a wonderful teacher. He told parables rather than give direct instructions.
- What is a parable?
- Parables that showed Jesus was interested in Social Justice
- The parable of the Lost Sheep
- The parable of the Good Samaritan
- The parable of the Mustard Seed
Saints demonstrate how to love one another
- St Francis of Assisi (1181–1226) cared for the poor and sick
- St Mary MacKillop (1842–1909) founded the Sisters of St Joseph and worked for the rural poor in Australia.
What is injustice?
Are there examples of injustice in:
- the school ground?
- in the family?
- in the world?
How can we follow Jesus and love one another?
- love your enemies
- turn the other cheek
- be open to people – ‘walk around in their shoes’.
Jesus and Justice
Part of the Wonderings Big Book series, Jesus and Justice describes and illustrates social justice in an age appropriate way. Wondering about justice/injustice, illustrating with parables and every day situations, Jesus and Justice encourages learning by means of wonderings……I wonder what would happen if everyone just looked after themselves? I wonder why we should take the time to include those who are ‘outcast’? The book takes the class on a journey towards living like Jesus and following His path.
Classroom Discussion and Activities
Following the Path of Jesus A New Way of Seeing Things
Additional Readings on Social Justice. Suitable for secondary school students and/or teachers.
25 Questions: About Social Teaching, Les Miller, Novalis
Recipes for life, Vanessa Wyse Jackson, Veritas
Caring for God’s Earth, Mary-Ann Casanova, Garratt Publishing
Jesus and the Natural World, Denis Edwards, Garratt Publishing
To Love Tenderly, Teaching Compassion and Justice through stories and Activities, Anne E. Neuberger, Twenty-third Publications
Saints, Our Friends and Teachers: Fun and Easy Activities, Lee Palencar, Twenty-third Publications
To Act Justly: Introducing Catholic Social Teaching to Children with Stories and Activities, Anne E. Neuberger, Twenty-third Publications