Catholic Social Teaching


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Human Person | Common Good | Layered Society | Social Principles | Work | Economy | Leadership | Global Issues

How do we connect our faith with everyday life? How does our faith help us to build a better world?

We face a complexity of issues today: challenges at work, rising materialism, families breaking up, an increasing divide between rich and poor, climate change and the list goes on. Each day raises more questions than we care to reflect on. For instance, we might have thought about one or more of these questions before: How do I decide what and how much to buy? Should I give money to that handicapped person who is begging down the street? How should I behave towards the foreign workers around me? Why should I care what my company produces? How should I react to so much disaster in the news?”

Beneath all these questions lies a most fundamental one: what does it mean to live out our faith today? In other words, what are the concrete ways in which we can put into practice the Gospel command to “love our neighbour?”

The social teaching of the Church is a call to each of us to reach out to our fellow brothers and sisters. It is about God’s call to us to “Love one another as I have loved you”. Over the decades, the social teaching of the Church has been expounded in numerous church documents by many including popes and bishops. Through this teaching, the church attempts to apply the timeless truths of the Scripture as well as the accumulated wisdom of the Church’s sacred Tradition to the new and complex social situations of the modern world.

The infographics above shows the different dimensions of life we can apply our Catholic Social Teaching to. The principles of our Catholic Social Teaching are as follows:

1. Principle of the Dignity of the Human Person – Every human person is of infinite dignity. All of society must be directed towards the well-being of the human person.
2. Principle of Association – Human persons are meant to be in community and have a right to freely associate with one another to achieve the common good.
3. Principle of Subsidiarity – No higher-level body should take over what a lower-level body can do for itself, so that people can develop and flourish.
4. Principle of Participation – All human persons have right and duty to take action in what determines their well-being and future.
5. Principle of the Common Good – We must seek the good of the broader community – that is, each person, every person and the whole person – and not just our own interests.
6. Principle of the Universal Destination of Goods – God intended for all the world’s resources to be enjoyed by everyone, and not just a few people. We should have a preferential option for the poor and see to it that the most vulnerable have what they need.
7. Principle of Solidarity– Every human person is deeply connected to every other person. We are called to stand together as one human family.
8. Principle of the Dignity of Human Work – The human person’s intrinsic dignity means that human work is holy as well. Moreover, everyone should have working conditions worthy of the children of God.
9. Principle of the Dignity of Creation – Creation is holy because this is the place where we relate to God. We are the earth’s stewards, helping to bring the world towards salvation.
10. Principle of the Promotion of Peace – We have a duty to seek true and lasting peace, which implies right relationships all round – with God, self, others and all creation.

Navigating the World as Catholics: A CST workshop with Fr Garcia

Love in Little Ways: An online campaign by the Caritas Young Adults, reflecting and putting CST into action

Catholic Social Teaching – To Live Out the Catholic Faith: A CST reflection in collaboration with Catholic News

For more information: resources

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