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Catholic Social Teaching and Social Justice

This page will provide some information on the Church's Catholic Social Teaching and Social Justice.

 

Catholic Social Teaching


Catholic social teaching is a central and essential element of our faith. Its roots are in the Hebrew prophets who announced God's special love for the poor and called God's people to a covenant of love and justice. It is a teaching founded on the life and words of Jesus Christ, who came "to bring glad tidings to the poor . . . liberty to captives . . . recovery of sight to the blind"(Lk 4:18-19), and who identified himself with "the least of these," the hungry and the stranger (cf. Mt 25:45). Catholic social teaching is built on a commitment to the poor. This commitment arises from our experiences of Christ in the eucharist.

"Catholic social teaching is a central and essential element of our faith."

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, "To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, his brethren" (no. 1397).

Catholic social teaching emerges from the truth of what God has revealed to us about himself. We believe in the triune God whose very nature is communal and social. God the Father sends his only Son Jesus Christ and shares the Holy Spirit as his gift of love. God reveals himself to us as one who is not alone, but rather as one who is relational, one who is Trinity. Therefore, we who are made in God's image share this communal, social nature. We are called to reach out and to build relationships of love and justice.

Catholic social teaching is based on and inseparable from our understanding of human life and human dignity. Every human being is created in the image of God and redeemed by Jesus Christ, and therefore is invaluable and worthy of respect as a member of the human family. Every person, from the moment of conception to natural death, has inherent dignity and a right to life consistent with that dignity. Human dignity comes from God, not from any human quality or accomplishment.

Our commitment to the Catholic social mission must be rooted in and strengthened by our spiritual lives. In our relationship with God we experience the conversion of heart that is necessary to truly love one another as God has loved us.

---from Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions

 

USCCB Labor Day Statement 2016 - click here

 

Seven Principles of Catholic Social Teaching

 

Life and Dignity of the Human Person

We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enriches the life and dignity of the human person.

Call to Family, Community, and Participation

We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.

Rights and Responsibilities

Every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency.  Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities – to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

In a society marred by deepening division s between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgement (Mt 25:31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.

The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers

If the dignity is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected – the right to productive work, to decent fair wages, to organize and join unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.

Solidarity

We rate our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they live.  Learning to practice the virtues of solidarity means learning that “loving our neighbor” has global dimensions in an independent world.

Care of God’s Creation

We are called to protect people and planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation.  This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored.

- Source Unknown

 

   

usccb.org

Two Feet of Love in Action

Catholic disciples on mission are called to put Two Feet of Love in Action! This foundational tool describes two distinct, but complementary, ways we can put the Gospel in action in response to God's love: social justice (addressing systemic, root causes of problems that affect many people) and charitable works (short-term, emergency assistance for individuals).

Social Justice "concerns the social, political, and economic aspects and, above all, the structural dimension of problems and their respective solutions" (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 201). We step with this foot when we work to address the root causes of problems facing our communities by advocating for just public policies and helping to change the social structures that contribute to suffering and injustice at home and around the world. 

Charitable Works are our "response to immediate needs and specific situations: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for and healing the sick, visiting those in prison, etc." (Deus Caritas Est, no. 31). We step with the Charitable Works foot when we work to aid or assist others both locally and globally to meet their immediate, short-term needs. Examples include engaging in direct service or providing food, clothing, shelter, or monetary assistance to help those in need.- Exerpted from USCCB

Two Feet of Love in Action brochure.

 

Selected Quotes of Pope Francis by Subject

Additional Social Justice Resources

 

What it means to be a Peacemaker

Several Social Justice Leaders' Quotes

Resources on Catholic Social Teaching from the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)

 

Foundational Catholic Social Teaching Documents

Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching

Catholic Social Teaching on Labor: A Primer

Quotes from Pope Francis on Issues of Life, Dignity, Justice and PeaceEn Español

Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions

Catholic Social Teaching on Poverty, an Option for the Poor, and the Common Good

Church Teaching on Environmental Stewardship

Communities of Salt and Light: Reflections on the Social Mission of the Parish

Resources and Tools from the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development

Caritas in Veritate Study Materials and Session Guides

Vocation of the Business Leader: A Reflection. . . , from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

Examination of Conscience in Light of Catholic Social Teaching |  (En Espanol)

Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice

Catholic Social Teaching podcasts

Scripture and Justice Timeline Activity

Biblical Justice Challenge

Superhero of Justice Activity for Elementary students. . . (from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development in the Archdiocese of Baltimore)

Reflections on the Joy of the Gospel for Those Serving in Ministry. . . (from Catholic Charities USA)

 

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