Catholic Social Teaching is a way of reflecting on the world today. It is not a fixed block of doctrine or ideology, but the result of prayerful reflection on the complex realities of human existence. Animated by the Gospel, it provides core principles that can address the demands of the time. The conviction underlying Catholic Social Teaching (CST) is the fundamental belief that God is at work in human history. God is engaged and present, and God invites all people to participate in this work— fashioning each person with unique gifts and abilities to join in building God’s kingdom of peace and love.
Core Principles of Catholic Social Teaching
Human Dignity: The deep belief that every human person is sacred and has dignity.
Option for the Poor and Vulnerable: To uphold human rights and dignity, we support and protect the most vulnerable and poor among us.
Common Good: The good of each human person is intimately related to the good of the whole community; the rights of one group cannot be set aside for the convenience of the majority.
Primacy of Love: Love is at the heart of all interpretations, actions, desires, and hopes.
To be faithful to this call, we are challenged to pray diligently and to live with eyes wide open to the realities of our day—to see the joy and gifts of our community, as well as the struggles and oppression experienced by our brothers and sisters. We are to ground ourselves in prayer, pay attention, and engage. As we engage, we will have differences. Catholic Social Teaching emphasizes that if love is the motivation, even as we disagree we can learn from one another. Especially when there is tension, we are called to engage in love, in patience and to trust in the ultimate goodness of the other.
By Janice Andersen