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Social Justice Isn’t Left or Right: It’s Catholic

11 Oct

I was different from many of my law-school classmates in the early 1980s. I had no desire to become rich, nor was I interested in the power and prestige that accompany a successful law practice.

Rather, in my own naïve way, I wanted to help people. Issues such as poverty, capital punishment, racism, and nuclear arms were what motivated me. I even volunteered one summer with the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s office.

In retrospect, I believe that the Lord blessed my sincere desire to defend the “underdog” and used this as the means to draw me back to Himself and His Church.

After graduating from UMKC Law School and still searching for a way to channel my desire to help people, I was becoming increasingly disillusioned with secular approaches to societal ills. But I was still ambivalent, at best, about the Church.

Then one Sunday I wandered into Mass and listened to a homily on the Church’s social teaching by a deacon who also happened to be a lawyer. I was fascinated to discover that the Church had something to say about the real-life issues that mattered most to me. It dawned on me that the Church not only took my questions seriously, but also offered satisfying answers. Thus began my journey back to full communion with the Church. Continue reading