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SANDIE CORNISH WWW.SOCIAL-SPIRITUALITY.NET Catholic Social Teaching & Its Key Principles.

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Presentation on theme: "SANDIE CORNISH WWW.SOCIAL-SPIRITUALITY.NET Catholic Social Teaching & Its Key Principles."— Presentation transcript:

1 SANDIE CORNISH Catholic Social Teaching & Its Key Principles

2 Outline What is Catholic Social Teaching? 4 Sources Scripture Reason Tradition Experience 3 Elements Principles for Reflection Criteria for Judgment Guidelines for Action 4 Key Principles Human Dignity The Common Good Subsidiarity Solidarity

3 What is Catholic Social Teaching? Catholic Social Teaching: Sums up the teaching of the Church on social justice issues. Brings the light of Gospel to bear on the social dimension of life. Is part of the field of applied moral theology. A formal body of modern social teachings developed during 19 th & 20 th centuries.


5 Scripture The roots of Catholic Social Teachings vision of a just society can be found in the Bible. Catholics do not read the Scriptures literally, looking for detailed rules to regulate our behavior. Since Vatican II, Scripture has played a more prominent role in Catholic Social Teaching.

6 Reason Natural law thinking holds that Gods will can be discerned by using our reason to examine the world. The philosophical language associated with natural law thinking has become less prominent in the post Vatican II teachings. Reason continues to play an important role in Catholic ethics.

7 Tradition Tradition refers to the Churchs previous reflection & teaching on social issues. It includes: Teaching documents by Popes, the Pope in Council, Bishops, and groups of Bishops (these are known as the social magisterium) The lived witness and writings of the saints, Doctors of the Church, and great leaders of the Early Church Wisdom gathered from the experience of ordinary Christian communities as they have struggled to witness to the Gospel in their own times and places.

8 Experience We draw on experience because we believe that God continues to communicate with us through the people, places and events of history. We examine social issues by collecting information using the social sciences and any other relevant sources of human wisdom. Experience is closely connected with both tradition and reason.


10 Principles for Reflection Perennial principles apply in all times and places. International Church documents identify four perennial principles. Other principles and criteria may be derived from these key principles. Principles operate at a high level of generality. They are the most authoritative element of the teachings.

11 Criteria for Judgment The criteria for judgment provide middle axioms that relate the principles and actual social issues. They develop from the dialogue of the principles with reflection on the experience of different times, places and issues. They are less authoritative than the principles, but more authoritative than the guidelines for action.

12 Guidelines for Action These vary for different times and places. They involve practical judgments about socio-economic and political matters. Local teachings may give more specific guidelines for action while the international teachings tend to be more general. This element of the teachings is the least authoritative, & least binding on consciences.


14 Human Dignity Each person is made in the image and likeness of God and has an inalienable and transcendent human dignity which gives rise to human rights. People are always more important than things. People are never a means or an instrument to be used for the benefit of another. Each person is equal in dignity and rights, and every human community, every race and culture is equal in dignity and rights. We are one human family because we are all children of the one God.

15 Related Themes Quote Unity of the human family Defense of life Human rights Non discrimination Priority of labour over capital Integral human development Human Dignity Respect for the human person entails respect for the rights that flow from his [sic] dignity as a creature. These rights are prior to society and must be recognized by it. They are the basis of the moral legitimacy of every authority; by flouting them, or refusing to recognize them in its positive legislation, a society undermines its own moral legitimacy... Catechism of the Catholic Church, n

16 Human Dignity Key Question: What is happening to people? People are less important than the things that give profit to those who have political, social, economic power? What point have we come to? To the point that we are not aware of this dignity of the person … Pope Francis, Homily 1 May 2013, Feast of Joseph the Worker

17 The Common Good We are all really responsible for each other and must work for social conditions which ensure that every person and every group in society is able to meet their needs and realize their full potential. Every group in society must take into account the rights and aspirations of other groups, and of the well being of the whole human family. God intended the goods of creation for the use of all, and so everyone has a right to access the goods of creation to meet their needs.

18 Quote The Common Good Related Themes 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, n 1926 The universal destination of goods Option for the poor Integrity of creation Role of the state Promotion of peace

19 The Common Good Key Questions: Is every group able to share in the benefits of life in society? Are some groups excluded? … the Church always works for the integral development of every person... the common good should not be simply an extra … tacked onto political programs. The Church encourages those in power to be truly at the service of the common good of their peoples... to take account of ethics and solidarity. Pope Francis, address for the New Non-Resident Ambassadors to the Holy See,16 May 2013.

20 Subsidiarity Everyone and every group has something to contribute. Responsibility should be kept as close as possible to the grassroots. The people or groups most directly affected by a decision or policy should have a key decision making role. More encompassing groups should only intervene to support smaller, more local groups in case of need, and where this is necessary in order to coordinate their activities with those of other groups in order to promote the common good.

21 Quote Participation The role of the State International community Subsidiarity Related Themes... the principle of subsidiarity must be respected: a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the later of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good. John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, n 48

22 Subsidiarity Key Questions: Who is making the decisions? Can everyone participate? Archbishop Angelo Becciu, Substitute of the Secretariat of State, 1 May We are speaking about a group of consultants … a gesture of great relevance that means to signal the modality in which the Holy Father intends to carry out his ministry. We must not forget that the first task assigned to the group of eight cardinals is to assist the Pontiff in the governance of the Universal Church.

23 Solidarity Human beings are social by nature – we are made for relationships. We can not survive without others and can only grow and achieve our potential in relationship with others. Our salvation is bound up with that of each other. Solidarity is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good.

24 Related Themes Quote Role of the economy Integral human development Option for the poor Solidarity Today we can say that economic life must be understood as a multi-layered phenomenon: in every one of these layers, to varying degrees and in ways specifically suited to each, the aspect of fraternal reciprocity must be present… Solidarity is first and foremost a sense of responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone and it cannot therefore be merely delegated to the State. Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, n 38

25 Solidarity Key Questions: Who do we really care about? Would we like this to happen to us? The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but the Pope has the duty, in Christs name, to remind the rich to help the poor, to respect them, to promote them. The Pope appeals for disinterested solidarity and for a return to person-centred ethics in the world of finance and economics. Pope Francis, address for the New Non-Resident Ambassadors to the Holy See,16 May 2013.

26 CST Helps Us to Promote Justice by … Engaging with the data of human experience. Analyzing issues and situations by drawing on reason and other sources of human wisdom, such as the social sciences. Providing principles and criteria by which to judge issues and situations and discern alternative responses. Calling us to act for justice and peace.

27 FOR REFLECTION For each key principle, think of an example where: The principle was respected or put into action? The principle was not respected or put into action? How might these principles be better integrated into decision making in your family, workplace or community life?

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