Catholic Social Teaching
Dignity of the Human Person Family, Community, & Participation Rights & Responsibilities Option for the Poor Dignity of Work Solidarity Care for Creation
Pope Benedict XVI in his encyclicals, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love) and Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), explains that through our works of charity and social justice we more concretely live out the commandment to love the most poor and vulnerable among us, which, as Jesus taught, translates to love of God (“Love of God and love of neighbor have become one; in the least of the brethren we find Jesus himself, and in Jesus we find God,” Deus Caritas Est, no.15). This love is expressed through acts of direct service to those in need (“micro-relationships”) as well as efforts to transform the social, political and economic world (“macro-relationships”) so that human life and dignity are respected in a manner that contributes to the building of the universal city of God (Caritas in Veritate, nos.2, 7).
The social doctrine of the Church, founded upon on our sacred scriptures, articulated to respond to the “signs of the times” today by our Holy Fathers and bishops, and experienced in the lives of the faithful through the work of the Holy Spirit, is a wealth of teaching that provides a road map for us towards this city of God. The U.S. bishops summarized:
The Church’s social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society. It offers moral principles and coherent values that are badly needed in our time. In this time of widespread violence and diminished respect for human life and dignity in our country and around the world, the Gospel of life and the biblical call to justice need to be proclaimed and shared with new clarity, urgency, and energy. (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions, 1999)
The seven pages below summarize the major themes found throughout all of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching calls us to not only understand and deepen our faith but also to live our faith. Whether through advocacy, education, faith sharing, or public action, we all must practice our faith in our every word and deed. As James 2:17 says, “Faith without works is dead.” Please check back often to our Action Center for various ways that you and your community can speak out with compassion and solidarity for justice and peace.