The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency.
Catholic Social Justice teaches us that all people are made in the image of God and so possess an equal and inalienable worth. Because of this essential dignity, each person has a right to all that is needed to allow him or her to live their full potential as intended by God.
Catholic Social Justice is informed by the prophetic challenge offered by the experience of those suffering from injustice: women, communities of color, the economically exploited, and all whose dignity is denied by unjust systems and structures.
Catholic social teaching applies Gospel values such as love, peace, justice, compassion, reconciliation, service and community to modern social problems. It continually develops through observation, analysis, and action.
The basis for social justice lies in the first theme dignity of the human person. Catholic social teaching is a central and essential element of our faith. Its roots are in the Hebrew prophets who announced God’s special love for the poor and called God’s people to a covenant of love and justice.
What is Catholic justice?
Justice is one of the four cardinal virtues in classical European philosophy and Roman Catholicism. It is the moderation or mean between selfishness and selflessness – between having more and having less than one’s fair share.
Pope Leo XIII’s great social encyclical Rerum novarum (1891) is generally taken as its starting point. That document was the first attempt by the Church’s Magisterium to address in an official way the social concerns of the time.
9 Biggest Social Justice Issues of 2020
- Voting rights. Exercising the right to vote is one of the social justice issues prioritized by the National Association of Social Workers. …
- Climate justice. …
- Healthcare. …
- Refugee crisis. …
- Racial Injustice. …
- Income Gap. …
- Gun Violence. …
- Hunger and food insecurity.
The Church can have an important role in challenging the changes in society because: … People need guidance, and the Church gives a unique perspective on all aspects of life. The Bible has much to say on the moral issues of the day, eg abortion and marriage.
Catholic Social Teaching (CST) offers a way of thinking, being and seeing the world. It provides a vision for a just society in which the dignity of all people is recognised, and those who are vulnerable are cared for.
“Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities. Social workers aim to open the doors of access and opportunity for everyone, particularly those in greatest need.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has identified these seven key themes of Catholic Social Teaching set out here. Other sources identify more or fewer key themes based on their reading of the key documents of the social magisterium.
Catholic Social Teaching Research Guide: The 7 Themes of Catholic Social Teaching
- Life and Dignity of the Human Person.
- Call to Family, Community, and Participation.
- Rights and Responsibilities.
- Option for the Poor and Vulnerable.
- The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers.
- Care for God’s Creation.
The Catholic social teaching principle of Participation is recognising that everyone has a part to play in our communities. Promoting participation – nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou – means recognising we each have something unique and important to contribute to society.