Since its beginnings with Hernan Cortes, Mexico has remained a strong Catholic country that relies heavily on religious intervention to determine aspects of social life. However as poverty has worsened within the country, so has corruption. Drug cartels, big businesses, and the lack of clean drinking water have all done heavy damage to the country’s economy and the morale of the people. The biggest hope for the infringed Mexican people is Catholic Social Teaching, which has focused on the improvement of the lives and dignity of the poor, workers, and all others who remain vulnerable within society. Being a predominantly Catholic country, Mexico has not only used Catholic Social Teaching as a motivator for social improvements, but it has also used CST to inspire Catholic relief organizations and political leaders to get involved. With the help of effective relief organizations, Mexico hopes to continue to revive its principles of freedom, justice, and peace.
By integrating with smaller Mexican organizations, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has aimed at applying the major themes of Catholic Social teaching to improve every day conditions for Mexican people. For example, the Caritas Mexicana-Social Pastoral Commission has “trained the 82 Catholic dioceses to respond to issues of social injustice” (“Giving Hope to a World of Need”). They have addressed every issue from natural disasters to the lack of adequate education to raise awareness within the country. Other organizations such as the Mixteca Center for Integral Peasant Development and Frente Democratico Compensino have attempted to establish low-cost agricultural systems while providing farmers with the proper loans and skills to manage new techniques aimed at preserving the land. These organizations have already touched the lives of over 16,000 and “conducted extensive reforestation efforts, that dramatically transformed eroded areas of the region” (“Giving Hope to a World of Need”). The CRS has also joined with certain dioceses like the Labor Rights Apostolate to defend workers’ rights and to ensure both just wages and safe working conditions for Mexican employment.
In addition to providing different services and organizations, other groups like the Knights of Columbus in Mexico have verbally defended Mexican freedom. One member said, “Mexico is a free, plural, and democratic country where persons and institutions have the right and duty to express their opinions on issues that have to do with national public life” (“Catholic News Agency”). The Knights proclaimed a culture’s need to support the marginalized and vulnerable in society. Understanding that the country is largely Catholic, the Knights prayed for just actions by priests and churches that would strengthen the Church in its fight for peace. By continuing to support Mexican bishops’ call for freedom, the Knights are contributing to the gradually developing relationship where both the government and the people are supporting one another. Catholic Social teaching has motivated the Knights of Columbus to speak in defense of human dignity. Furthermore, the Knights encouraged Mexico to move away from “a culture of death so that everyone might have life in abundance, from conception to natural death” (“Catholic News Agency”).
Despite major corruption within large businesses and smaller drug cartels, Catholic Social Teaching still holds a significant role within politics. The morals it instills have attracted other political leaders such as the United States’ Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, to use religious enthusiasm to support her own intentions for Mexican judicial reform. Catholic Online has acknowledged Clinton’s acts as morally inspired acts because of persistence and $500 million contribution in funds towards Mexico (“Catholic Online”). Despite an increase in killings and a decrease in public support of military acts on drug cartels, Clinton has continued to back up President Calderon in her determined assistance for the common good of Mexico. Clinton is following the third major theme of CST – Rights and responsibilities – that says “Out of responsibility for the common good, governments must regulate rights in particular instances” (Daoust, 63).
Although corruption exists within large industries and government, Catholicism has remained a constant hope for the Mexican people. Catholic Social Teaching has established morals and values for Mexico, and now serves as the main motivation for reform in the region. Organizations interested in an improved life for Mexicans have worked alongside these people to prevent injustice in every aspect of society. The CRS has affiliated itself with smaller partners to make the Mexican people aware of the problems in society and train them to solve these problems. Hilary Clinton and the Knights of Columbus also defended Mexican freedom in the movement towards reform. Catholic Social Teaching has not only driven organizations abroad to step in for change, but it also helped to unify the Mexican people. Mexicans can use the major themes of Catholic Social Teaching as the goals that they aspire for in their country.
Online, Catholic. "Mexico must reform judicial system, Secretary Clinton says - International - Catholic Online." Catholic Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2011. <http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=40095>.
"Knights of Columbus support Mexican bishops' freedom of expression :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)." Catholic News Agency. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2011. <http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/knights-of-columbus-support-mexican-bishops-freedom-of-expression/>.
Mexico | Catholic Relief Services ." Catholic Relief Services. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2011. <http://crs.org/mexico/partners.cfm>.
Windley Daoust, Jerry. Living Justice and Peace: Catholic Social Teaching. 2nd ed. Saint Mary's Press, 2008. Print.