Catholic Social Teachings 101


Life and Dignity of the Human Person
Our belief in the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching.

Call to Family, Community, and Participation
How we organize our society – in economics and politics, in law and policy – directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community.

Rights and Responsibilities
The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Every human right is directly connected to personal and social responsibility. Each person has a right to food, shelter, clothing, just family wage, healthcare, life, as well as others. And each person, according to their ability and vocation within society, has a responsibility to promote and support the rights of others as well as participate in communal life around them so that they are not consumers only.


Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
Catholic teaching proclaims that a basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring. When addressing the issues of the world around us we must prioritize caring for those most vulnerable in society first.

The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers 
Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. All work is dignified by its nature of being done by humans, created in the Image of God. The church teaches that work, regardless of the specific task, ought to pay a wage that allows a person to provide for a family. Workers must also be assured of safe and dignified working conditions that do not unnecessarily threaten life and health.

Solidarity and Subsidiarity
We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences we are all interconnected and in relationship to one another. Society has at its most fundamental basis the family. Subsidiarity states that issues related to human needs and flourishing ought to be solved at the lowest level of society possible. Broader levels of society (city, county, state, nation, world) are obliged to assist when the level below it is incapable or insufficient to resolve or promote a particular issue. Lower levels of society ought not be artificially subjugated to the higher powers nor should they disavow themselves of the broader society, seeking to disband or detract from higher levels of society simply because they refuse to acknowledge a higher authority. Susidiarity and solidarity provide context and balance for one another so that the dignity and needs of the individual person are in concert with the needs and dignity of the common good.

Care for God’s Creation
We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. All that we have is gift for us to protect and nurture. As gift, it is not for us to do with as we please but to do with as God desires of us.

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