CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING AWARENESS
Pope Francis has made it abundantly clear to us how important it is to remember the poor and marginalized in society. Here at Saint Joe, we live out this call both through direct service to those in our community – for example, by heading to Our Lady of the Road and serving breakfast – but also by learning about the social teachings of the Church and how to advance them both in society and in our daily lives.
WHAT DOES SOCIAL TEACHING HAVE TO DO WITH BEING CATHOLIC?
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. It is a teaching founded on the life and words of Jesus Christ, who came "to bring glad tidings to the poor . . . liberty to captives . . . recovery of sight to the blind"(Lk 4:18-19), and who identified himself with "the least of these," the hungry and the stranger (cf. Mt 25:45). Catholic social teaching is built on a commitment to the poor. This commitment arises from our experiences of Christ in the Eucharist.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, "To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, his brethren" (no. 1397). Catholic social teaching emerges from the truth of what God has revealed to us about himself. We believe in the triune God whose very nature is communal and social. God the Father sends his only Son Jesus Christ and shares the Holy Spirit as his gift of love. God reveals himself to us as one who is not alone, but rather as one who is relational, one who is Trinity. Therefore, we who are made in God's image share this communal, social nature. We are called to reach out and to build relationships of love and justice.
Catholic social teaching is based on and inseparable from our understanding of human life and human dignity. Every human being is created in the image of God and redeemed by Jesus Christ, and therefore is invaluable and worthy of respect as a member of the human family. Every person, from the moment of conception to natural death, has inherent dignity and a right to life consistent with that dignity. Human dignity comes from God, not from any human quality or accomplishment.
Our commitment to the Catholic social mission must be rooted in and strengthened by our spiritual lives. In our relationship with God we experience the conversion of heart that is necessary to truly love one another as God has loved us. -Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions
WHAT DOES SOCIAL TEACHING HAVE TO DO WITH HOW I LIVE AS A CITIZEN?
"Responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation." - Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
By our baptism, Catholics are committed to following Jesus Christ and to be "salt for the earth, light for the nations." As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, "It is necessary that all participate, according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This is inherent in the dignity of the human person ... As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life" (nos. 1913-1915). (from usccb.org)
Many great resources are available to assist you in learning and informing others about Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. Visit the menu to the left for resources related to Church Teaching, All Catholics, Diocesan & Community Leaders, Parishes & Schools, Campuses & Young Adults, Youth, and Media. (from usccb.org)
SEVEN THEMES OF CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING
1. Life and Dignity of the Human Person
2. Call to Family, Community, and Participation
3. Rights and Responsibilities
4. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
5. The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
7. Care for God's Creation
Want to learn more about Catholic social teaching? Check out the USCCB website!
HOW TO GET INVOLVED AT SAINT JOSEPH
There are so many ways to live the social teachings of the Church in our daily lives. The clothes and the food we buy, the way we treat the environment, our strength as families, our openness to friendship with the poor - all contribute to a community bursting with the love of Christ, building the kingdom of God "on earth as it is in heaven."
The parish also offers events to help you grow in your understanding of Catholic social teaching:
- Catholic Conversation at Corby’s is an event every month or so at Corby’s Irish Pub right in our neighborhood. A speaker highlights one aspect of Catholic social teaching and opens up discussion over free pizza and delicious drinks.
- UnWINEd is another opportunity to learn about Church teachings. Speakers present on a timely topic in the Ackles Parish Center and the community enjoys wine, treats and discussion.
- JustFaith is a potential future option; please let us know if you are interested in this opportunity.