Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church for Catechists


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Contained here is an outline and brief presentation of the basic principles of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church. This is not a comprehensive course.

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Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church for Catechists

  1. 1. Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church A Short Introduction for Catechists By Rev. Cornelius T. Mc Quillan, C.S.Sp., Psy.D. Edited by Sharon Piper
  2. 2. Introduction The Social Teaching of the Catholic Church is based on three truths: Man is made in God’s Image The Law of Jesus is to love others as He has loved us. The Death of Jesus was meant to save all peoples
  3. 3. Introduction Mankind is made in God’s Image (Gen 1). God is the creator of the Universes but only human beings are created in his Image making the Human Person superior to all creation. Adam is God’s masterpiece
  4. 4. Introduction Mankind is made in God’s Image (Gen 1) God gave the rest of creation to mankind to tend and look after. Mankind is therefore accountable to God for the care he gives the rest of creation.
  5. 5. Introduction Mankind is made in God’s Image (Gen 1). God is absolutely perfect. Man, made is His Image, has a relative share in God’s attributes.
  6. 6. Introduction Mankind is made in God’s Image (Gen 1). God is Man Omniscient Has limited knowledge Omnipresent is trapped in time Omnipotent is limited in what he can do
  7. 7. Basis of the Social Doctrine Mankind is made in God’s Image (Gen 1). God is the Supreme Authority. In so far as man is responsible for creation, he has a limited share in God’s authority. All authority comes from the Almighty.
  8. 8. Basis of the Social Doctrine Thus the Social Doctrine of the Church is based on the Dignity of the Human Person as having a privileged position above all creation.
  9. 9. Introduction Christ’s Law of Love governs all those who belong to His Kingdom, a kingdom of Justice and Peace. There can be no Peace without Justice. Jesus commands us to love one another as we love ourselves.
  10. 10. Introduction Later Jesus raised the stakes and told us to love each other as He has loved us. The Social Doctrine attempts to specify the exigencies of love in the various social strata in which mankind lives.
  11. 11. Introduction The Social Doctrine attempts to teach the exigencies of love for the Individual, Family, Social Institutions, Organizations, and Governments. An integral aspect of Evangelization is the articulation of the Social Doctrine.
  12. 12. Introduction Justice The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines justice as the moral virtue of constant, consistent and firm will to give God and neighbor that which is their due (CCC #1807).
  13. 13. Introduction Mission of the Church: The Role of the Church is not to govern and the Church disclaims any authority to do so. However, her mission is to Evangelize. The Church therefore, enters into dialogue with Governments, Social Institutions, Organizations, Families and all men and women of good will, in order to defend human dignity, peoples’ rights as well as to remind all of their obligations.
  14. 14. Introduction The social doctrine of the Church springs from the Gospel and the command of Jesus for us to love one another. Pope Leo XIII began to formalize the expression of this Social Doctrine with his Encyclical Rerum Novarum (May 1891), in which he delineates the rights and obligations of business owners as well as that of workers.
  15. 15. Introduction Rerum Novarum: Reacting to Communism Pope Leo defends: Personal Property. Workers right to unionize. The principle of a Just Wage. The obligation of any company to justify its existence by serving the Common Good.
  16. 16. Introduction Common Good(CCC #1906): The basis of any society is the human person. The good of each individual is necessarily related to the common good. This the some total of social conditions, which allow people, either as groups or individuals to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.
  17. 17. Principles of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church The Social Doctrine of the Church is based on the Dignity of the Human Person. The Human Person needs to live in Society. (CCC #1879). Therefore, People have the right to associate with others.
  18. 18. Principle of the Common Good The Human person is, and ought to be, the principle, the subject and the end of all social Institutions (CCC #1881). Every aspect of social life must be related to and stems from the dignity, unity and equality of all people.
  19. 19. Principle of the Common Good Everyone is responsible for the Common Good and therefore, the state as well.
  20. 20. Principle of the Universal Destination of Goods God destined creation for all men and women. Therefore, there is a universal right to use (not abuse) the goods of the Earth. People have a right to what they need, not just to survive, but to thrive.
  21. 21. Principle of the Universal Destination of Goods This principle requires that all men and women co-operate so that the goods of the earth are available for the integral development of all.
  22. 22. Principle of Solidarity Through the Mystery of the Incarnation, Jesus made Himself one with Humanity, even in Death. Solidarity is a moral virtue that determines the order of institutions. It is a firm and constant commitment to the Common Good.
  23. 23. Principle of Solidarity This principle implies participation as an individual or society collaborating in a series of activities, either directly or by means of representation, which contribute to the cultural, economic, political and social life of the community.
  24. 24. Principle of the Universal Destination of Goods The Principles of the Universal Destination of goods, that of the Common Good and the Principle of Solidarity, oblige us to make a preferential option for the poor.
  25. 25. Human Rights A person’s basic rights are the basis of the Ten Commandments.
  26. 26. Human Rights Rights Life Family & Descendants Property Good Name &/or Reputation Obligations Thou shalt not kill. Do not commit adultery. Respect Father and Mother. Do not steal. Do not covet your neighbors’ goods. Do not give false testimony.
  27. 27. Principles Principle of Subsidiarity states that: A community of higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order.
  28. 28. Other Rights Right to Work Freedom of Religion Right to Immigrate Right to Association Right to live Secure Equality before the Law Health Care
  29. 29. Human Institutions All human organizations need the authority to govern themselves The members have the corresponding duty to obey legitimate authority. An organization does not derive its moral authority from itself, but from God & its members
  30. 30. Each right has a corresponding duty Rights Work Equal protection under the Law Immigrate Association Procreation Duties Work honestly Respect just laws Fulfill requirements Obey the rules Sustain offspring
  31. 31. Government Authority Protect the Common Good Enact Laws Protect Individuals’ Rights Regulate Immigration Duties Work for the Common Good Execute the Law with Equity Respect Individuals’ Rights Defend the Right to Immigrate
  32. 32. Human Institutions Every Human community needs authority in order to endure and develop (CCC #1919). The diversity of political regimes is legitimate, provided that they contribute to the good of the community.
  33. 33. Principle of Subsidiarity This Principle is opposed to all forms of collectivism (CCC #1885). Authority is only exercised with moral legitimacy when it serves the common Good (CCC #1903).
  34. 34. Principle of Subsidiarity All societies of a superior order must adapt attitudes of help and therefore support, promotion and development, with respect to lower order societies.
  35. 35. Principle of Subsidiarity The Principle of Subsidarity protects people from abuses by higher level social authority.
  36. 36. Freedom God is free and mankind made in His image has a share in God’s freedom. Man is not free to lose his freedom. In order to remain free, people need to base their choices on truth.
  37. 37. Freedom All have a right to know the Truth. The exercise of free choice depends on knowing the benefits and cost of each option, that is Informed Consent.
  38. 38. Part II The Family
  39. 39. Family The Family is the basic Social Unit. God Himself is a Community of Persons. The Family is our first experience of community and therefore of God.
  40. 40. Family God is creator and the couple made in His image have the vocation of procreation. The family is the Sanctuary of Life The family has the Right and Duties of Procreation.
  41. 41. Family The couple has the exclusive right and obligation to determine the number of and time between children. Their decision on the number of children should not depend on economic factors alone. The poor have the same right to children as do the wealthy and society has the obligation to help them by the Principle of Solidarity.
  42. 42. Family Couples should avoid artificial means of avoiding pregnancy. Parents have the obligation of protecting and educating their children.
  43. 43. Government God is the Supreme Being and all Authority is a share in His People have the right to association and to form the government of their choice. Citizens have the right of participation in their government.
  44. 44. Government A Government has the authority to govern from the people and to enact laws and provide a juridical system. The first responsibility of a government is to work for the Common Good.
  45. 45. Government Governments should not engage is private enterprise since their duty includes protecting the Rights of both Entrepreneurs and workers. They may be obliged to initiate a project for the Common Good; but once feasible, should privatize all industry.
  46. 46. Government Nations, by the Principle of Solidarity have the moral obligation to aid other nations which are sub-developed. International Collaboration is in service of the Common Good.
  47. 47. Government Has the obligation to oversee private industry, protecting both workers’ rights and the environment.
  48. 48. Citizens Have equal rights under the Law. Have the obligation to obey just laws and to pay for governmental services.
  49. 49. Institutions All institutions, which are composed of persons are obliged as well as their members to work for the Common Good. This principle applies equally to any business enterprise.
  50. 50. End This course is not meant to be comprehensive, but merely an resumé of some of the basic principles of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
  51. 51. Resources CCC – The Catechism of the Catholic Church Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 2005, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Libreria Editrice Vaticana Gaudium et Spes – Pastoral Constituion, Doc. Of Vat II.
  52. 52. Papal Encyclicals Can be found at Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum Benedict XV, Quadrageimo Anno John XXIII, Mater et Magistra , Pacem in Terris Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, Humanae Vitae John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, Fides et Ratio, Centesimos Annus, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, Rights of the Family, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, Christifideles Laici, Mullieris Dignitatem , Laborem Exercens