Themes of Catholic Social Teaching
Archbishop Desmond Tutu explains in his introduction to human dignity that we must recognise we are all brothers and sisters which requires us to respect, value and uphold a common dignity for ourselves and each other. As human beings we are created in the image and likeness of God so therefore we have an inherent worth and distinction.
As humans we were are not created to live alone, community is clearly linked in the history of humankind. One way for Catholics to practise solidarity is to participate in pursuing the common good for a community. Every member of society has a duty to develop this common good and every member has a right to enjoy the benefits brought about by it.
Caring for the environment we live in is to extend justice to all of creation that is both human and non human. We should also understand that our place on earth is interdependent on all other life as the natural world provides us with food, medicines, resources and clothing. In the good news Jesus inspires Catholics to address issues to reverse the destruction of God’s creation.
This theme looks at the importance of getting a life and work balance in our everyday lives, for principles of justice to be found in the workplace and for employers to recruit, train and retain the right people to run effective workplaces. Government is also recognised as an essential provider for workers rights and ensuring factors for a good quality of life are in place.
The Church teaches us that peace is central to the gospel and represents a challenge to many contemporary attitudes and assumptions. The Church’s line is clear; we should all use non-violent methods to resolve conflicts. Pope Benedict XVI has also challenged Christians to be true peacemakers bringing forgiveness and non-violent solutions to situations of hurt and violence.
Solidarity is an important concept for Christians and is one of the most mystical and deeply human founding concepts of the social teaching of the Church. It is based on the belief that together we can make a difference and together we are much stronger. When we value fellow human beings we respect each other as unique individuals and we can stand up for what is right for one another.