Catholic Social Teaching (CST) provides the foundation for parish social ministry because it offers sound, faith-filled guidance on dealing with the social issues of our day. Parish social ministry is one way for us to build a society that most resembles God’s kingdom on earth because social justice is the work of every baptized Christian. As James 2:14-17 so explicitly states:
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
CST is a constant call for our deeds to be an extension of our faith in order to bring justice and peace to society.
A Brief History
Catholic Social Teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society for all and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society. It is rooted in Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, as well as a 100+ year history of papal encyclicals, bishops’ letters, and other official documents, all focused on the economic, political, and social concerns of humanity. In 1891, Pope Leo XIII issued “Rerum Nevarum,” On the Condition of Labor, which is the foundational encyclical for CST. In all, CST is organized into seven main principles:
- Life and Dignity of the Human Person
- Call to Family, Community, and Participation
- Rights and Responsibilities
- Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
- Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
- Care for Creation
For more information, click here.