Deacon's Corner 9/10/2023
Two weeks ago, I talked about the Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers as the 7th of 9 components of Catholic Social Teaching. So, what are the other 8? Before we cover that, let’s do a quick review of what Catholic Social Teaching is all about.
Catholic Social Teaching (CST) is the doctrine of the Church which addresses how God intends for us to behave. It is based on the teachings of Jesus especially considering human dignity, solidarity, and moral principles relating to justice and peace in a Christian society. CST looks at the heart of human existence. It’s based on our human dignity being a reflection of God’s love and the worth He placed into our life because we are made in His image and likeness. Through our dignity, God shows us we are valuable human beings worthy of honor and esteem because we are so precious in God’s eyes. Simply put, God made us as “someone”, not “something”.
Human dignity means that we have worth and value regardless of gender, race, age, faith, sexual orientation, or social status. This dignity entitles every human being to respect – not because of what we have or what we do – but because we were created by God. Therefore, every phase of human life, from conception to death, is precious and deserves respect as we have a God-given right to exist. Without human dignity and respect for human life, society becomes a ruthless, selfish, materialistic race of zealous beings much like the Nazis of Germany during the 1930s and early 1940s.
The 9 principles of Catholic Social Teaching are summarized as:
Human dignity – everyone has it!
Respect for life – from conception to natural death
Family, community, & participation – the family is central, the right to join society
Rights and responsibilities – entitled to human decency and protection
Common good – promote universal human development
Option for the poor & vulnerable – protect powerless & poor as Christ did
Dignity of work & rights of workers – productive, decent work; fair wages; right to join union
Solidarity – commit ourselves to the common good, love your neighbor
Care for God’s creation – environmental stewardship
Catholic Social Teaching is a light to help us navigate the dark, gray areas of our modern world by living our Christian values and principles. But, how do we do that? Pope Benedict XVI said the development of a just society requires Christians with their arms raised towards God in prayer. So, we start in prayer for Jesus to guide our decisions and actions so we can pursue a life in Christ which allows everyone to experience a socially just society the way God intended it to be.