The Seven Themes of Catholic Social Justice

This entry was posted by Saturday, 9 February, 2013
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Framework:  The Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching[i]

I.  The Life and Dignity of the Human Person

The basis of all teachings:  Human life is sacred.  It is a gift from God.  The dignity of the person is the foundation of our moral vision for society.

II.  The Call to Family and Community Participation

Our participation in our families, our communities, and in society is a reflection of our faith.  How we organize our society – in economics and politics, in law and policy – directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community.

III.  Rights and Responsibilities

Every person has a right to life and to those things required for human decency.  With those rights, come responsibilities – to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.

IV.  The Option for – and With – the Poor and Vulnerable

A basic moral test of any society is how its poorest and most vulnerable members fare.  We are reminded by Christ that at the end we will be judged on our response to the poor and vulnerable. (See Mt. 25: 31-46.[1])

V.  The Dignity of Work, and Workers’ Rights

Human dignity is expressed in the dignity of work and the rights of workers:  work is a way of participating in God’s creation.  Workers must have a right to productive labor, to decent and fair wages,  to organize, to hold private property to take economic initiative.

VI.  Solidarity

“Loving our neighbor” has global dimensions, particularly in a shrinking world.

VII.  Care for God’s Creation

The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land which nourishes us are among the gifts God has entrusted to us, to return with increase when we are finished.  Christian responsibility for the environment begins with appreciation of the goodness of all God’s creation.

[i] Source:  Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus (USCCB, 2004).

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