CHC 2D 2011: the Catechism and the Occupy Movement

One of the last requirements for your assignment is the integration of either the Catechism or the Occupy Movement. Here is what the Catechism has to say about the responsibilities citizens and government have to each other:

2242 The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” “We must obey God rather than men”:

When citizens are under the oppression of a public authority which oversteps its competence, they should still not refuse to give or to do what is objectively demanded of them by the common good; but it is legitimate for them to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens against the abuse of this authority within the limits of the natural law and the Law of the Gospel.

2245 The Church, because of her commission and competence, is not to be confused in any way with the political community. She is both the sign and the safeguard of the transcendent character of the human person. “The Church respects and encourages the political freedom and responsibility of the citizen.”

The Occupy Movement

Photo is Creative Commons, by stanjourdan

The Occupy movement started in September in 2011 in New York and San Franscisco, but quickly spread around the world. The general focus of the Movement has been what it perceives as an unfair distribution of wealth. Thousands of people, mostly young students, marched peacefully on the streets of cities, and eventually settled at prominent locations they decided to “occupy”.  In London, Ontario, for example, the protesters occupied Victoria Park, living in tents on Public property for days.

Here are a few arguments for an against the Occupy movement. Please note that the videos we will watch were chosen because they expressive wildly different opinions:

For Occupy Against Occupy
  • The distribution of wealth in our culture is unfair
  • Tuition fees are so high that paying the fees off is a form of slavery
  • The US government spent billions of dollars to bail out badly run corporations, but will not spend money to provide full health care and other services to its citizens
  • We will watch a journalist arguing that citizens have a right to peaceful protest; he also argues that the police are guilty of excessive force


  • The movement is chaotic and unfocused. There is no leadership. Can everyone in the protest clearly explain why they are protesting?
  • Some of those protesting against “the rich” are doing so while holding expensive phones and drinks from Starbucks
  • the Occupy movements are occurring in democratic countries. Citizens who wish to change the system can vote regularly and/or run for office.
  • We will watch two journalists addressing the lack of focus in the movement

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