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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.

Click HERE for the page on Racism.

Click HERE for the page on Morality.

Click HERE for information on The Laudato Si' "On Care of Our Common Home" Project

Click HERE for information on Pope Francis' Encyclical Fratelli Tutti On Fraternity and Social Friendship released October 2020

Click HERE for a downloadable PDF on Applying the Themes of Catholic Social Teaching, by Sadlier Religion

The Church & Immigration - Fr. Mike Schmitz

On the issue of immigration, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin” (CCC 2241). While elaborating on that teaching, in this video Fr. Mike also points out that a nation has a right and responsibility to protect its borders. While it’s impossible to avoid politics completely on this issue, Fr. Mike addresses primarily the Christian principles inherent in the immigration debate.

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 (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)

The Seven Principles of Catholic Social Teaching - USCCB

Additional resources below.


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.


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

Additional resources below.


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.- Excerpted from USCCB

Two Feet of Love in Action brochure.



KEY PRINCIPLES OF CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING - Catholic Charities Office for Social Justice

Websites with Social Justice Resources for various ages - The Religion Teacher

Celebrating 50 Years Catholic Campaign For Human Development - RCL Benziger

Pentecost demands a faith that moves - The Spirit drives disciples from silence out into the streets. - U.S. Catholic

Selected Quotes of Pope Francis by Subject

Let Catholic Social Teaching Shape Your New Year - U.S. Catholic

What is social action in the church today?  A new generation of Catholic activists is beginning to find its voice. - U.S. Catholic

Do Catholics have to care for creation? - The church recognizes climate change as a problem that must be addressed. - U.S. Catholic

Our nation needs merciful sick and family leave policies - 33.6 million people do not have access to paid sick leave. - U.S. Catholic

In the spirit of Pentecost, stoke the flames of justice - Now is the time for us as a church to take fire seriously. - U.S. Catholic


Click HERE for the page on Racism.




Catholic Social Teaching in 3 Minutes - The Catholic Church in Ireland


Social Teaching - Catholic Central


CST 101: The Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers - USCCB


CST 101: Life and Dignity of the Human Person - USCCB



CST 101: Solidarity - USCCB


CST 101: Rights and Responsibilities - USCCB


CST 101: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable - USCCB


CST 101: Call to Family, Community, and Participation - USCCB


CST 101: Care for Creation - USCCB


Catholic Social Teaching: Called to Charity and Justice - Catholicism in Focus - Breaking in the Habit


Love ´╝× Tolerance - Life Teen


Bishop Barron on Pope Francis and Catholic Social Teaching - Word on Fire




Additional Social Justice Resources


Catholic Social Teaching in Action: How to Follow in the Footsteps of Holy Men and Women - Busted Halo

What it means to be a Peacemaker - Loyola Press

Several Social Justice Leaders' Quotes


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


Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship - USCCB

Family Guide to Faithful Citizenship - USCCB

Foundational Catholic Social Teaching Documents - USCCB

Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching - USCCB

Catholic Social Teaching on Labor: A Primer - USCCB

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

Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions - USCCB

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

Church Teaching on Environmental Stewardship - USCCB

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

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

Caritas in Veritate Study Materials and Session Guides - USCCB

Vocation of the Business Leader: A Reflection - The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

Examination of Conscience in Light of Catholic Social Teaching |  (En Espanol) - The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

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

Catholic Social Teaching podcasts - USCCB

Scripture and Justice Timeline Activity - USCCB

Biblical Justice Challenge - USCCB

Two Feet of Love in Action Elementary Storybooks - USCCB

Superhero of Justice Activity for Elementary Students - Catholic Campaign for Human Development in the Archdiocese of Baltimore

Reflections on the Joy of the Gospel for Those Serving in Ministry - Catholic Charities USA


Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care - USCCB

Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics - Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons - Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Walking in the shoes of the other - Timothy Kurek - TEDx University of the Aegean