It is hard not to be caught up in today’s consumerist culture that glorifies buying and selling. As Christians, we are called to make proper use of the gifts we have received, to have solidarity with all people and to store up treasure in heaven, rather than on earth. Catholic social teaching informs believers to uphold the dignity of human life and work, even in our attitude toward material goods. Here are five ways to be a faithful Catholic consumer:
Exercise virtue – Practice integrity, especially with relation to material goods: prudence, self-control and temperance.
Be aware – Take note of advertising that fails to uphold human dignity, life and work. Try to avoid clothing companies that degrade women, falsely advertise, treat laborers unfairly or openly boast of beliefs that are contrary to Church teaching.
Do your research – Be aware of large and popular corporations that support principles contrary to the Christian life. Know what your money is going to support.
Look for healthy alternatives – Try to seek out Christian companies that offer services – from cell phone service to mutual funds – that uphold life and family. Look for items certified as fair trade.
Be generous – Give away as often as you buy. Make a commitment to donate one article of clothing for each new article you get, or to support a local food bank.