DALLAS TWP. – Before the introduction of "The U.S. Bishops' Pastoral Letter: Economic Justice for All After 25 Years," the Catholic Church had failed to fully link justice with social concerns such as poverty, unemployment, cultural diversity and challenges to traditional family structure, Diocese of Scranton Bishop Joseph C. Bambera told a symposium audience at Misericordia University on Thursday night.
Bambera was keynote speaker for the symposium, which addressed the intent and context of the original document, which, when it was drafted, was ground breaking.
Joseph Curran, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the university, told the audience the Church now has a better understanding how faith can motivate believers to effectuate positive change.
Curran said the Church is a powerful voice for the poor, unemployed and exploited. He spoke of how his own ministry had been influenced the pastoral letter he had read many years ago as an undergraduate.
Misericordia President Michael MacDowell said that despite economic events that could not have been projected 25 years ago when the letter was written, the document was still relevant and valuable today.
"As Catholics, we consider it a great opportunity to come and hear our bishop speak on this topic," said George Krizenoskas, Dallas, saying that he and his family try to take advantage of the benefits of living so close to the Catholic university.
Sister Mary Fellin, RSM, Dallas, said she was especially interested in the presentation because of her own work with the poor and homeless. She emphasized that all human life had value and should not be marginalized.
The symposium included a panel discussion, which included Curran; Margarita Rose, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Economics at King's College, and Timothy Kearney, Ph.D., assistant professor and chair of the Department of Business at Misericordia University.
The event concluded with panel members fielding questions in regard to issues affecting Catholics and the Church.