Print
AddThis Social Bookmark Button

The ACSJC has prepared a series of discussion guides on principles of the Church’s social teaching and some important encyclicals related to this topic. They have been prepared for individuals and groups seeking to engage with current social justice issues, using the Church's social teachings to inform their judgement and action.

This material has also been collected in our Catholic Social Justice Series paper No 70, Reading the Signs of the Times: A basic introduction to Catholic social teaching.

The following is a list of individual discussion guides:

Two articles of interest are:


Catholic Social Teaching

The permanent principles of the Church's social doctrine . . . are: the dignity of the human person, the common good, subsidiarity, and solidarity. These principles, the expression of the whole truth about the human person known by reason and faith, are born of "the encounter of the Gospel message and of its demands summarised in the supreme commandment of love of God and neighbour in justice with the problems emanating from the life of society".

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church par.160

61. Confronting the death penalty 40. Death penalty 41. Life: Creation or Commodity 73. Where do we stand? 66. Work and Dignity

Top

The Dignity of the Human Person

God has imprinted his own image and likeness on human beings (cf. Gen 1:26), conferring on them an incomparable dignity ... In effect beyond the rights which one acquires by one's own work, there exist rights which do not correspond to any work performed, but which flow from one's essential dignity as a person.

John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 1991, #11

The Church sees in men and women, in every person, the living image of God himself. This image finds, and must always find anew, an ever deeper and fuller unfolding of itself in the mystery of Christ, the Perfect Image of God, the One who reveals God to the human person ... The whole of the Church's social doctrine, in fact, develops from the principle that affirms the inviolable dignity of the human person.

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church par. 105, 107

Human Dignity

73. Where do we stand 67. Women in the Catholic Church 69. The Love that Surprises 65. Refugees and Australia's Response 53. Ending Hunger

Top

The Common Good

It grows increasingly true that the obligations of justice and love are fulfilled only if each person, contributing to the common good, according to one's own abilities and the needs of others, also promotes and assists the public and private institutions dedicated to bettering the conditions of human life.

Gaudium et Spes, 1965, #30

The principle of the common good, to which every aspect of social life must be related if it is to attain its fullest meaning, stems from the dignity, unity and equality of all people. According to its primary and broadly accepted sense, the common good indicates "the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfilment more fully and more easily".

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church par. 164

The Common Good

60. Trauma and Forgiveness 69. The Love that Surprises 27. Politicians and Citizens 71. Take Off Your Shoes 58. Choice for Whom

Top

Subsidiarity

Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organisations can do.

Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno, 1931, #79

The principle of subsidiarity protects people from abuses by higher-level social authority and calls on these same authorities to help individuals and intermediate groups to fulfil their duties. This principle is imperative because every person, family and intermediate group has something original to offer to the community.

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church par. 187

Subsidiarity

54. Trade Justice 59. To Each as Any Have Need 71. Take Off Your Shoes 62. Palestine and Israel 73. Where do we stand

Top

Solidarity

Solidarity is undoubtedly a Christian virtue ... In the light of faith, solidarity seeks to go beyond itself, to take on the specifically Christian dimension of total gratuity, forgiveness and reconciliation. One's neighbour is then not only a human being with his or her own rights and a fundamental equality with everyone else, but becomes the living image of God the Father, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and placed under the permanent action of the Holy Spirit.

John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 1987 #40

Solidarity highlights in a particular way the intrinsic social nature of the human person, the equality of all in dignity and rights and the common path of individuals and peoples towards an ever more committed unity.

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church par. 192

Solidarity

Top


Let us pray ...

Creator God, Your image is alive
in every human person
giving to each of us an inviolable dignity.

Create in us a desire to act in solidarity,an energy to work together
and a willingness to share with others
our time, our energy,
our skills and talents and our wealth.

As we share and enjoy
the fruits of your creation,
restore in us your vision
of a world made whole,
and inspire us to commit ourselves
to the common good.

Gracious God,
give us ears to hear, eyes to see
and hearts to love,
so that we reflect you in our way of life,
and in our choices, words and actions.

Jesus is the good news to the poor.
As his followers, may we recognise
the call to be the same. Amen

Top