Social Justice Teaching - Best Kept Secret!

Principles of Catholic Social Teaching
are Gospel based principles, which should underpin our social interactions, the structure and life of our institutions and communities, and our approaches to ministry, service, promotion of justice.

Dignity of the human person
Every human life is sacred. Human beings are made in the image and likeness of God. People do not lose dignity because of disability, poverty, age, lack of success, or race. The emphasis is on people over things, being over having.

Community and the common good
The human person is both sacred and social. We realize our dignity and rights in relationship with others, in community. As Saint Paul said, "We are one body: when one suffers, we all suffer." We are called to care for each other. In keeping with the social nature of human beings, the good of each individual is necessarily related to the common good, which in turn can be defined only in reference to the human person.

Rights and Responsibilities
People have a fundamental right to life, food, shelter, health care, education and employment. All people have a right to participate in the decisions that affect their lives.

Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities, to respect the rights of others and to work for the common good.

Preferential Option for the Poor
The moral test of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. The poor have the most urgent moral claim on the conscience of any community. We are called to look at public policy decisions in terms of how they affect the poor.

Dignity of Work
People have a right to decent and productive work, fair wages, private property, and economic initiative. The economy exists to serve people, not the other way around.

We are one human family. Our responsibilities to each other cross national, racial, economic, and ideological differences. We are called to work globally for justice.      

Decisions should be made at the most fundamental level, as much as possible by those most likely to be affected by the decision.

Everyone has a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.  Everyone has the right to participate in those institutions necessary for human fulfilment, such as work, education, and political participation.  

Stewardship of the environment
We have a duty to value and care for creation, including the earth’s resources, responsibly, as stewards rather than consumers.

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"The human person . . . is and ought to be the principle, the subject, and the object of every social organization" (Gaudium et Spes par 25  quoted in; Catechism of the Catholic Church No 1892)

In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies. (Catechism of the Catholic Church No 1894)

Authority is exercised legitimately if it is committed to the common good of society. To attain this it must employ morally acceptable means. (Catechism of the Catholic Church No 1921)

The dignity of the human person requires the pursuit of the common good. Everyone should be concerned to create and support institutions that improve the conditions of human life. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1926)

It is the role of the state to defend and promote the common good of civil society. The common good of the whole human family calls for an organization of society on the international level. [Catechism of the Catholic Church 1927]

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(Paragraph numbers for the Catechism are shown - Click the Nos section to view)



THE PERSON AND SOCIETY Nos 1878-1885, Nos 1886-1889 
IN BRIEF  Nos 1890-1896  

The Common Good   Nos -1912
Responsibility and Participation   Nos 1913-1917
IN BRIEF  Nos 1918-1927 

Respect For the Human Person  Nos 1929-1933 
Equality and Differences   Nos 1934-1938
Human Solidarity   Nos 1939-1942
IN BRIEF  Nos 1943-1948 

Goods of Creation for the whole human race, Stewardship and Private Ownership  Nos 2402-2406
Respect for Persons and Their Goods Nos 2407-2418 
The Social Doctrine of the Church Nos 2419-2425 
Economic Activity and Social Justice  Nos 2426-2435
Justice and Solidarity Among Nations Nos 2437-2442 
Love For the Poor  Nos 2443-2449 
IN BRIEF  Nos 2450-2463 

Australian Catholic Social Justice Council  (ACSJC) The social justice and human rights agency of the Catholic Church in Australia  Click here to visit

Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching & Development of the Catholic Church’s Thinking on Human Rights (ACJSC)  Click here to visit

Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC) briefing  Click here to visit 

St Columban's Mission Society E-Bulletin
Click here to access many useful links and subscribe to current eNews.

Faith Doing Justice Newsletter (Australian Jesuits) providing News, Resources, What’s On, Links, Click here to visit 

Catholic Justice and Peace Commission Click here to visit

Social Justice Prayer Resources (ACSJC)  Click here to visit.

‘Province Express’  Newsletter of Australian Jesuits, including Social Justice news and links Click here to visit.

Items of Interest

Psalms and readings from the Liturgy of the Hours, and Mass readings.

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