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An Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching. “To be human is to have a heart that is moved by stories of desperate need and crying injustices. Humanitarian.

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Presentation on theme: "An Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching. “To be human is to have a heart that is moved by stories of desperate need and crying injustices. Humanitarian."— Presentation transcript:

1 An Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching

2 “To be human is to have a heart that is moved by stories of desperate need and crying injustices. Humanitarian responses to people in crisis are practically instinctual.” Thomas Massaro, S.J. Author, “Living Justice”

3 Goals of this overview To acquire an understanding of the primary ideas and forces that have shaped contemporary Catholic social thinking; To become familiar with the methods that Catholic Moral theologians have employed to address social moral issues To heighten awareness of the realities of human poverty and social injustice, and to promote critical thinking about these realities in light of the claims of Catholic theology To become aware of how our organization does or does not endorse the principles of CST in our daily lives

4 Key Principles of Catholic Social Teaching Human Dignity Common Good Solidarity Subsidiarity Social Order Purpose of Government Participation Purpose of Goods Option for the Poor Care for God’s Creation

5 Human Dignity Human beings are created in the image of God and, therefore, are endowed with dignity. This inherent dignity carries with it certain basic rights and responsibilities which are exercised within a social framework.

6 Life and Dignity of the Human Person Human life is sacred and the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for our society Natural law – governs, political and economic systems because above all we must preserve the dignity of the human being – from beginning to the end Examine existing systems – How do they serve people or how do they fail to serve. Man (Woman) precedes state and is created in image of God. The measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person. Ensure we have purpose Move beyond material

7 Human Dignity within our Organization How do we show commitment to respect and observe human dignity? How do we advocate in the public arena to help people in time of need? What associations are we encouraging our members to participate in that support human dignity? How can we improve our efforts to increase awareness and commitment to this principle within our organization?

8 The Common Good While the dignity of the human person is affirmed, individuals are called to live in community. In a society that exalts individualism, Catholic tradition teaches that human beings grow and achieve fulfillment in community. The rights & responsibilities of individuals must be integrated into the achievement of the common good for all. The rights and needs of others must always be respected.

9 The Common Good Within our Organization How do we show commitment to the common good? How do we advocate in the public arena for the common good? What associations are we encouraging our members to participate in that support the common good? How can we improve our efforts to increase awareness and commitment to this principle within our organization?

10 Call to Family, Community and Participation Own family – as who you cherish and love Human family – –Community – –Work – –Church – –Recreation – –Friend Participation – –Create – –Enrich – –Assist others in their creating “Law has as its foremost purpose of ordering the common good.” Aquinas

11 Call to Family, Community and Participation Within our Organization How do we show commitment to the call to family, community and participation? How do we advocate in the public arena for the call to family, community and participation? What associations are we encouraging our members to participate in that support the call to family, community and participation? How can we improve our efforts to increase awareness and commitment to this principle within our organization?

12 The Principal of Solidarity Our culture is tempted to turn inward, becoming indifferent and sometimes isolationist in the face of international responsibilities. Catholic social teaching proclaims that we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers, wherever they live. We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. Learning to practice the virtue of solidarity means learning that "loving our neighbor" has global dimensions in an interdependent world. This virtue is described by John Paul II as "a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all" (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, no. 38).

13 Solidarity One human family – we are our brothers and sisters keepers Fates of people on earth are linked. “Loving our neighbors” has global dimensions in an interdependent world. Richer nations must help empower poorer ones Respect for diversity and different cultures The human family is like a spider web – if you touch one part of it, the whole thing trembles Calls nations to live in relationship with one another in a way that creates peace Economic justice is an essential element in developing peace States should support policies that engender just social and economic structures Human rights/Common good – foundation of authentic peace Meld – Commitmenet to non-violence and the just-war teaching

14 Solidarity within our Organization How do we show commitment to solidarity? How do we advocate in the public arena for solidarity? What associations are we encouraging our members to participate in that support solidarity? How can we improve our efforts to increase awareness and commitment to this principle within our organization?

15 The Principal of Subsidiarity This principle recognizes that society is based on collectives or communities of people ranging from small groups or families to larger national and international institutions. As a rule of social organization, this principle affirms that a higher level organization should not interfere in the life of a community at a lower level of social organization. Larger institutions have essential responsibilities when smaller local institutions cannot adequately protect human dignity, meet human needs, and advance the common good.

16 Subsidiarity within our Organization How do we show commitment to subsidiarity? How do we advocate in the public arena for subsidiarity? What associations are we encouraging our members to participate in that support subsidiarity? How can we improve our efforts to increase awareness and commitment to this principle within our organization?

17 The Purpose of the Social Order The social order must uphold the dignity of the human person and promote the common good.

18 Purpose of the Social Order within or Organization How do we show commitment to the purpose of the social order? How do we advocate in the public arena for the purpose of the social order? What associations are we encouraging our members to participate in that support the purpose of the social order? How can we improve our efforts to increase awareness and commitment to this principle within our organization?

19 The Purpose of Government The purpose of government is the promotion of the common good. Governments are required to maintain the public order, uphold the fundamental rights of persons and ensure social justice to achieve the common good.

20 Purpose of Government within our Organization How do we show commitment to the purpose of government? How do we advocate in the public arena for the purpose of government? What associations are we encouraging our members to participate in that support the purpose of government? How can we improve our efforts to increase awareness and commitment to this principle within our organization?

21 The Principal of Participation Individuals and groups have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.

22 Participation – Rights of Workers The root problem is in fact dependency and uselessness itself. Unemployment means having nothing to do – which means nothing to do with the rest of us. To be without work, to be without use to one’s fellow citizens, is in truth to be invisible. Formation of human person is the central product dimension of work – –Personality – –Character – –Potential Work to contribute to common good – as a vocation – a way of continuing participation in God’s creation Dignified employment at decent pay; the kind of employment that lets a man/woman say to his/her community, to his/her family, to his/her country and most importantly to themselves, “I helped build this country. I am a participant in this great public ventures, I am a true citizen.

23 Principal of Participation Within our Organization How do we show commitment to the principal of participation? How do we advocate in the public arena for the principal of participation? What associations are we encouraging our members to participate in that support the principal of participation? How can we improve our efforts to increase awareness and commitment to this principle within our organization?

24 The Universal Purpose of Goods The world’s goods are meant for all. God destined the earth and all it contains for all humanity, so that all created things would be shared fairly by all humankind under the guidance of justice tempered by charity.* Although the Church upholds the right to private property this is subordinate to the right to common use and the overall common good. *Gaudium Et Spes

25 Universal Purpose of Goods within our Institution How do we show commitment to the universal purpose of goods? How do we advocate in the public arena for the universal purpose of goods? What associations are we encouraging our members to participate in that support the universal purpose of goods? How can we improve our efforts to increase awareness and commitment to this principle within our organization? Add questions

26 The Option for the Poor This refers to seeing the world through the eyes of the poor and standing with the poor in solidarity. “As followers of Christ, we are challenged to make a preferential option for the poor, namely, to create conditions for marginalized voices to be heard, to defend the defenseless, and to assess lifestyles, policies and social institutions in terms of their impact on the poor. The option for the poor does not mean pitting one group against another, but rather, it calls us to strengthen the whole community by assisting those who are most vulnerable.” ( “An Introduction to the Principles of Catholic Social Thought”. University of Notre Dame.

27 Option for the Poor How do the least of our brothers fare in our world The most at risk to have their dignity marginalized are those who are poor The poor have first claim to personal and social resources Alms to the poor are not a matter of charity but a matter of justice (Ambrose) “Not from your own do you bestow upon the poor man, but you make return for what is his.” Matthew 25: “This is what we will ultimately be judged on.”

28 Option for the Poor Within our Organization How do we show commitment to the poor? How do we advocate in the public arena for the poor? What associations are we encouraging our members to participate in that support the principal, option for the poor? How can we improve our efforts to increase awareness and commitment to this principle within our organization?

29 Care for God’s Creation We must be good steward of all of God’s creation – the earth and all God’s creatures that inhabit it. Because we are part of creation itself, whatever we do to the earth we do to ourselves. We must live in harmony with God’s creation and preserve it for future generations. Genesis 2:15 - The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it.

30 Care for Creation within our Organization How do we act as good stewards of creation to show respect for our Creator? How do we live in harmony with all of the earths creatures (including other humans), by preserving all of creation for us and future generations? How do we make responsible choices in our consumption and the equitable sharing of the earths resources? How do we advocate in the public arena to support “Care for Creation”?

31 Summary of Prominent Encyclicals and Documents

32 Rerum Novarum: On the Condition of Labour (Leo XIII, 1891) Lays out the rights and responsibilities of capital and labor; Describes the role of Government in a just society; Condemns atheistic communism; Upholds the right to private property.

33 Quadragesimo Anno: On Reconstructing the Social Order (Pius XI, 1931) Condemns the effects of greed and concentrated political and economic power and proposes that social organization be based on the principle of subsidiarity.

34 Mater et Magistra: Mother and Teacher (John XXIII, 1961) Identifies the widening gap between the rich and poor nations as a global concern of justice; Raises concerns about the arms race; Calls upon Christians to work for a more just world.

35 Gaudium et Spes: The Church in the Modern World (Vatican Council document, 1965) Clear recognition that the Church is immersed in the modern world; Condemns poverty; Warns about the threat of nuclear war; Christians must work to build structures that uphold justice and peace.

36 Populorum Progressio: On the Development of Peoples (Paul VI, 1967) Focus on human development – ‘development is the new name for peace’; Condemns the situation that gives rise to global poverty and inequality; Calls for new international organizations and agreements that promote justice and peace.

37 Octogesima Adveniens: An Apostolic Letter: A Call to Action (Paul VI, 1971) Calls for political action for economic justice; Develops the role of individual local churches in responding to unjust situations and acting for justice.

38 Laborum Exercems: On Human Work (John Paul II, 1981) Affirms the dignity of work and the dignity of the worker; Affirms the rights of labour; Calls for workplace justice.

39 Sollicitudo Rei Socialis: The Social Concerns of the Church (John Paul II, 1987) Includes the “option for the poor” as a central tenet of Church teaching; Also develops the notions of ‘solidarity’, the ‘structures of sin’ and ‘the social mortgage on property’; Suggests that the resources used for the arms race be dedicated to the alleviation of human misery; Nature must be considered in development.


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