Congregational Position Papers

Responding to the global issues of today

In 2011, the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd published a set of Good Shepherd Position Papers to serve as a tool toward relevant development of programs, policy, and advocacy. This 2018 Position Papers update encompasses the Congregational Chapter Direction statement of 2015. It integrates insights of Catholic Social Teaching, including teaching of our current Pope Francis; it draws on the international work of our congregational nongovernmental organization (NGO) representative at the United Nations (UN), including the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) framework of the UN Agenda 2030.

 

The Position Papers

Click here for Congregational Position Papers 2018 on Migration, Economic Justice, Girl Child, Trafficking, Prostitution, Integral Ecology.

The Vision

This updated articulation of our Position Papers renews a common direction for action in our global ministries; we seek to deepen the understanding of God’s mercy expressed in current situations. Our vision of God’s love is expressed in direct service projects characterized by compassionate welcome and relevant program development; it includes vibrant policy and advocacy activities that call for justice in systems and structures of programs, governments, church, and social entities.

Reference and resource

The Position Papers are a reference and resource. They offer a standard from which regional or national adaptations must be discerned for appropriate local strategic planning according to the highest international standards. They also provide an expression of values and orientation for all who support our work.

The Position Papers have included input from our practitioners across the world and have the affirmation of the Congregational Leadership Team.  These papers are offered as helpful guides that can:

  • Provide a base for local mission and ministry practice, advocacy, and policy.

  • Guide initial and continuing formation for all involved in mission and ministry.

  • Inform province priorities and good practices.

  • Focus strategic planning for ministry projects.

  • Motivate social, political, and economic analysis.

  • Serve as a basis for regular evaluation.

A few words from each Paper....

Migration

We stress that all persons, regardless of migratory status, are rights holders whose protection is a moral imperative. The integrity of the family and the rights of children and spouses of migrants merit prominent consideration. People are not to be labeled criminals when they lack legal identification and papers while in movement. Existing barriers to human and labor rights’ protection and free movement are to be challenged and changed. We reject xenophobic apprehension of “mass migration” that results in discriminations.

Economic Justice

We work to eradicate poverty while supporting decent work, sustainable and environmentally sound economic growth, reduction of inequalities, responsible production and consumption, and human development. We perceive this as a call to personal and communal conversion, aware of our own wealth and privileges. We also understand that there is a prophetic call to stand against systems and structures of economic injustice, some of which we are a part of. 

The Girl Child

We recognize that every girl is born with dignity, possess the inherent rights of all humans, and ought to be assured the unique rights of childhood to enable them to reach their potential as individuals, as women, and as members of society. When the value of girls is recognized, when their needs are met, and their voices amplified, girls contribute to positive change in their families, local communities, nations, and the world.

Trafficking of Women and Girls

In all our work, we seek to analyze and address root causes, examining and unmasking links between trafficking and polices of economic injustice, violence against women, discrimination of the girl child, militarization, inadequate migration support, and the social acceptance of the prostitution of women and girls. We encourage participation and leadership in networks and/or campaigns that support an end to trafficking and promote full empowerment of women and girls in all spheres of activity. 

Prostitution of Women and Girls

The Congregation rejects any notion of “child prostitution.” Sexual exchange between an adult and child (through age 18) is a form of criminal abuse, affirmed by article 34 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. Early marriage of a minor is also an abuse. Likewise, we reject the notion that a person in prostitution is a “sex worker”; prostitution is not a profession nor is it in harmony with a view that work is a sacred contribution to human development and the social fabric. 

Integral Ecology

We admit our complicity in perpetuating dualistic and domineering attitudes about the earth. We understand that reconciliation with our earth calls for a new consciousness, a new identity, and new behaviors centered on the kinship of all creation and the implementation of human rights for all. Interdependence demands inclusion of all – non-living and living, non- human and human – without discrimination.

A Diagram

At the end of the document is a diagram for Implementation of the Position Papers.  The diagram may be adapted or enhanced for all levels of programmes, communities and formation.

Acknowledgment and thanks

The Congregational Leadership Team has expressed sincere gratitude to Sr. Clare Nolan who incorporated the recommendations received from the Congregational Consultation and all involved in the consultation process to update our Congregational Position Papers.