Catholic Social Teaching

Catholic Social Teaching

The Dignity of the Human Person.
Every human life has inherent value and dignity, independent of race, gender, age, or economic status.

Human Equality
Equality of all persons comes from their essential dignity, having been created in God’s image and likeness. Social and cultural discrimination in fundamental rights on the basis of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion are not compatible with God’s design.

Rights and Responsibilities
Each person has basic rights and responsibilities that flow from our human nature and belong to us regardless of any social or political structures. These include the right to life, food, shelter, housing, education, employment, freedom of worship, to raise a family, and to immigrate. These rights carry corresponding responsibilities – to one another, to our families, to our communities, and to the larger society – to respect the rights of others and to work for the common good.

Call to Family
No relationship is more central than the family. The state and all other institutions have an obligation to respect the family and to foster and protect it, not to undermine it.

Call to Community and Participation
All human beings have a right and a responsibility to participate in society and in the institutions that make up our communities.

The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a way of expressing and realizing our dignity, and it is an opportunity to collaborate with God in the development of creation. Workers have the right to form and join unions of their choosing. The economy exists to serve the people, not the other way around.

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
A basic moral test of a society is how its most vulnerable members are faring. We have a special responsibility to defend and to promote the dignity of the poor and vulnerable and to ensure that they can participate fully in society.

We are one human family, regardless of our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. This principle calls us to work for world peace, global development, protection of the environment, and international human rights.

The Common Good
The common good includes those social conditions that allow people to reach their full human potential, such as respect for each person; access to food, clothing, health, work, education, and culture; and a just and peaceful social order. Today the common good is understood as extending beyond national borders to include the entire human family.

The Universal Purpose of Creation
The goods of the earth are intended for the benefit of all people. Because of this our right of private property is regulated by the need of others and the environment must be protected for the good of all and for future generations.

Economic Initiative
All people have the right to economic initiative, to use their talents to contribute to the common good, and to reap the just fruits of their labor.

Charity and Justice
The practice of charity and the pursuit of justice are linked and complementary duties. Charitable acts are essential, but they are not a sufficient response. We are called to work for justice.