Saturday, May 07, 2005

Catholic Social Teaching

From the Office of Social Justice at theCatholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Catholic Social Teaching. Condensed by Steve at Catholicism, Holiness and Spirituality. There is much here that can build bridges across denominational lines. Since seminary I've been reading Catholic writers such as Thomas Merton, Hans Kung, Yves Congar, Marie-Dominique Chenu, Dean Brackley, and the papal encyclicals such as Rerum Novorum and Gaudium et Spes, and discovered a rich tradition of church teaching that confronts the destructive effects of the rampant consumerism of our western world with the power of the gospel.

Dignity of the Human Person
Human life is sacred, and the dignity of the human person is the starting point for a moral vision for society.

Common Good and Community
Human dignity can only be realized and protected in the context of relationships with the wider society. The obligation to "love our neighbor" has an individual dimension, but it also requires a broader social commitment.

Option for the Poor
The "option for the poor," is not an adversarial slogan that pits one group or class against another. Rather it states that the deprivation and powerlessness of the poor wounds the whole community.

Rights and Responsibilities

Every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities - to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.

Role of Government and Subsidiarity
The state has a positive moral function. The functions of government should be performed at the lowest level possible, as long as they can be performed adequately.

Economic Justice
The economy must serve people, not the other way around.

Stewardship of God's Creation
The goods of the earth are gifts from God, and they are intended by God for the benefit of everyone. We have a responsibility to care for these goods as stewards and trustees, not as mere consumers and users.

Promotion of Peace and Disarmament
In the words of Pope John Paul II, "Peace is not just the absence of war. It involves mutual respect and confidence between peoples and nations. It involves collaboration and binding agreements.”


All people have a right to participate in the economic, political, and cultural life of society.

Global Solidarity and Development

We are one human family. Our responsibilities to each other cross national, racial, economic and ideological differences.

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