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Presentation on theme: "CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING"— Presentation transcript:



Introduction to Key Principles: no official canon of principles (hand-out) Clarification of terms used in political/economic theory: right-wing/left-wing liberalism/capitalism socialism Communism Discussion concerning how CST transcends political ideologies of the right and left

3) Principles of CST: Human Dignity Solidarity Subsidiarity

5 What is Catholic Social Teaching?
Doctrine concerning the human person, the person in relation to family, community, the environment, and the State Doctrine concerning wealth and poverty, economic systems, modes of social organization, and the role of the State Based on Scripture and Tradition First began to be combined together (in Encyclicals and other official documents) into a system in the late nineteenth century Rerum Novarum 1891

6 Key Documents: Rerum Novarum (1891) Leo XIII (The Condition of Labour)
Quadragesimo Anno (1931) Pius XI (Reconstruction of the Social Order) Mater et Magistra (1961) John XXIII (Christianity and Social Progress) Pacem in Terris (1963) John XXIII (Peace on Earth) Gaudium et Spes (1965) Vatican II (The Church in the Modern World) Dignitatis Humanae (1965) Vatican II (On Religious Liberty) Populorum Progressio (1967) Paul VI (The Development of Peoples) Humanae Vitae (1968) Paul VI (On Human Life)

7 Key Documents: Octogesima Adveniens (1971) Paul VI (A Call to Action)
Evangelii Nuntiandi (1975) Paul VI (Evangelization in the Modern World) Laborem Exercens (1981) John Paul II (On Human Work) Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (1987) John Paul II (On Social Concern) Centesimus Annus (1991) (The Hundredth Year) Evangelium Vitae (1995) John Paul II (The Gospel of Life) Deus Caritas Est (2005) Benedict XVI (God is Love) Caritas in Veritate (2009) Benedict XVI (In Charity and Truth)

8 Beginning with Rerum Novarum, CST critiques social and political ideologies both of the left and the right CST as a whole is distinctive in its ongoing and consistent critiques of the social and political ideologies of left and right CST transcends these political ideologies


10 Let’s unpack these terms: important! Meaning of left and right?
Terms “left” and “right” appeared during French Revolution (1789) National Assembly ( ) divided into supporters of the king (nobles who sat to the right of the president) And those opposed (the commons who sat to the left)


12 Right: Term originally designated reactionaries and political conservatives (Ancien Régime) In politics: social hierarchy, inequality (perceived as natural) In liberal democracies: opposed to socialism/stresses small government/free markets (laissez-faire capitalism)/individual initiative Extreme Right: Virulent nationalism/racism

13 Left: Opposed to political hierarchy
Advocates social and economic equality/extensive government intervention in the economy/welfare state

14 What is Socialism? Socialism: A theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc, in the hands of the community as a whole In Marxist theory, the stage following capitalism, in the transition of a society to communism (=perfect implementation of collectivist principles)


16 What is Communism?

17 “A theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the state”

18 What is Liberalism? A political/social philosophy advocating the freedom of the individual, parliamentary systems of government Unrestricted development in all spheres of human endeavour, and governmental guarantees of individual rights

19 What is Capitalism?

20 “An economic system that is based on private ownership of the means of production and the creation of goods and services for profit”

21 Competitive markets (“laissez-faire”: government should not have control over markets)
Wage labour Capital accumulation

22 REPEAT: CST as a whole is distinctive in its ongoing and consistent critiques of the social and political ideologies of left and right Transcends political ideology While communism has been condemned, so too have fascism and Nazism While socialism has been condemned, so to has liberalism been condemned, and so to has unbridled capitalism

23 Rerum Novarum, for example, condemned socialism, but at the same time advocated economic distributism [will return to this principle when we detail CST topics] Catholic Social Teaching opposes collectivist approaches such as Communism BUT also rejects unrestricted laissez-faire policies and the notion that a free market automatically produces social justice The state has a positive moral role to play: no society will achieve a just distribution of resources with a totally free market

24 Catechism of the Catholic Church [2403]:
“The right to private property, acquired by work or received from others by inheritance or gift, does not do away with the original gift of the earth to the whole of mankind. The universal destination of goods remains primordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires respect for the right to private property and its exercise”

25 Laborem Exercens (1981), John Paul II said, concerning the right to private property:
The Church “has always understood this right within the broader context of the right common to all to use the goods of the whole creation: the right to private property is subordinated to the right to common use, to the fact that goods are meant for everyone” Gaudium et Spes: “God intended the earth and all it contains for the use of all men and peoples…created goods should flow fairly to all, regulated by justice and accompanied by charity”

26 CST Themes According to Pope John Paul II, the foundation of CST "rests on the threefold cornerstones of human dignity, solidarity and subsidiarity” According to Pope Benedict XVI, its purpose is “to contribute, here and now, to the acknowledgment and attainment of what is just”

27 = the three cornerstones for the modern promotion of justice and peace
Human Dignity Solidarity Subsidiarity = the three cornerstones for the modern promotion of justice and peace

28 Dignity Human dignity The prime principle of Catholic social teaching is the correct view of the human person: Made in the image and likeness of God Not just something, but someone Capable of freely giving him or herself, and of entering into communion with other persons Called by grace to a covenant with God


30 Sanctity of human life and dignity of the person
Inherent dignity of the human person starting from conception through to natural death  Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life): opposes the deliberate taking of innocent life: abortion euthanasia capital punishment genocide torture the intentional targeting of noncombatants in war


32 The Roman Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, in their document ,"The Common Good" (1996), stated that: "The study of the evolution of human rights shows that they all flow from the one fundamental right: the right to life” (section 3) Gaudium et Spes: “from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care"


34 FAMILY Person and family Person and community/state
Humans are social animals Families are the first and most basic units of a society

35 Relationship between the sexes:
“Complementarianism” "God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity," but the harmony of society "depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out"


Together families form communities (and communities larger forms of social organization) 1) All people have a right to participate in the economic, political, and cultural life of society 2) Under the principle of subsidiarity, state functions should be carried out at the lowest level that is practical


39 Subsidiarity Pope Pius XI:
"It is a fundamental principle of social philosophy, fixed and unchangeable, that one should not withdraw from individuals and commit to the community what they can accomplish by their own enterprise and/or industry” Incidentally, the subsidiarity principle, originating in Rerum Novarum, was established in E.U. law by the Treaty of Maastricht (1 February 2003)

40 Solidarity Unity of humankind Am I my brother’s keeper?
Good Samaritan: welcome the stranger “Solidarity is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good, not merely vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of others” “Solidarity, which flows from faith, is fundamental to the Christian view of social and political organization. Each person is connected to and dependent on all humanity, collectively and individually” cf. political liberalism/individualism

41 Distributism Distributism holds that social and economic structures should promote wide ownership of corporations Distributism is the basis for anti-trust laws and economic cooperatives, including credit unions Rerum Novarum, Quadragesimo Anno, and Centesimus Annus, are Catholic Social Teaching documents which advocate economic distributism

42 Rights and Responsibilities

43 Rights Right to life and to the necessities of life:
Decent housing, employment, health care, and education Right to private property: “Every man has by nature the right to possess property as his own" This right, is not absolute, however; it is limited by the concept of the social mortgage “It is theoretically moral and just for members of a society to destroy property used in an evil way by others, or for the state to redistribute wealth from those who have unjustly hoarded it”

44 Right to exercise religious freedom, publicly and privately, by individuals and institutions
Freedom of conscience

45 Responsibilities Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities: to one another, to our families, and to the larger society "Love one another, as I have loved you" (John 13:34, 15:9-17) "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” Pope Benedict XVI: “Love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind, is as essential as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel”


47 Preferential Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
This “preferential option for the poor” and vulnerable includes all who are marginalized: unborn children, persons with disabilities, the elderly and terminally ill, and victims of injustice and oppression


49 Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers
Economic justice What we’ve said thus far: right to private property is tempered by the principle of the universal destination of goods Just wage Right to trade unions Workers have responsibilities also In 1933, the Catholic Worker Movement was founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin (advocating non-violence, voluntary poverty and hospitality for the poor and marginalized)




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