In their 1986 pastoral letter “Economic Justice for All,” the U.S. Catholic bishops wrote, “Every perspective on economic life that is human, moral, and Christian must be shaped by three questions: What does the economy do for people? What does it do to people? And how do people participate in it?”

Changing our shopping behavior is hard work. It starts with reflection, prayer, and education. As Catholics, we are called to ask these three questions about all of our economic activities. Our faith asks us to respect the dignity of work, God’s people and his creation. Understanding the impact of our purchases and consumption helps ensure our choices don’t harm others or the environment. By purchasing fair trade products, we are putting the values of Catholic social teachings into action. Our purchases respect human dignity, promote economic justice and cultivate global solidarity.

A mug of fair trade dark roast isn’t just another cup of coffee; just as a fair trade chocolate bar isn’t just another piece of candy. When you buy fair trade products you know where they come from; and you can be sure that the people who produced them are paid a fair price for them. So enjoy a cup of fair trade coffee this month and then make it a habit.

Eileen Sleva