What is Social Justice?

“It’s not just what’s in your heart that makes for justice; it’s also what lies at the heart of public policy.” Jim Wallis

What is social justice? A key distinction.

  • A story – “Going up the river”
  • The distinction between “charity” and “justice”
  • “Charity” responds to the immediate wound
  • “Justice” tries to get to and uproot the cause of the wound.
  • Why being individually “good-hearted” is not enough
  • Justice, therefore, tries to deal with unjust structures – it works for “systemic change”

This is an excerpt from Fr. Ron Rolheiser’s lecture series “Simply Being Good-Hearted is Not Enough: A Spirituality of Charity, Justice, and Prophecy,” which was delivered at Oblate School of Theology in September of 2017.

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Fr. Rolheiser is a Roman Catholic priest, member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and president of Oblate School of Theology. Rolheiser is a theologian, professor, and award-winning author. Apart from his academic knowledge in systematic theology and philosophy, he has become a popular speaker in contemporary spirituality and religion and the secular world. He writes a weekly column that is carried in over 70 newspapers around the world. He is a popular speaker in the areas of contemporary spirituality and religion and the secular world. His latest work is Sacred Fire: A Vision for a Deeper Human and Christian Maturity.