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St Joseph's R.C. Primary School

Catholic Social Teaching

Catholic Social Teaching, Active Service and Charitable Outreach


At the core of Catholic Social Teaching are a number of key concepts and principles. Chief among these are justice, human dignity, the common good, the principles of participation, solidarity, and subsidiarity, the universal destination of the world’s goods, and the option for the poor.

‘Catholic social teaching believes that human beings, created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27), have by their very existence an inherent value, worth, and distinction.’  This means that God is present in each and every one of us, regardless of race, origin, sex, orientation, culture, or economic standing. Catholic Social Teaching emphasises that we must see within each other a reflection of God and we must honour and respect this dignity as a divine gift.
St Paul tells us that each person is a work of art, created by God and chosen for a unique purpose. Ephesians 2:10
At SS John and Monica’s we recognise the human dignity of others by:
•    being respectful
•    treating people equally
•    raising awareness of civil rights
•    preferential option for the vulnerable

We are not created by God to live alone. Living in community is an essential expression of who we are. But Community does not just happen – it is something that all of us must work together to develop.…A community needs a soul if it is to become a true home for human beings. You, the people must give it this soul.’ John Paul II. ‘Participation is a duty to be fulfilled consciously by all, with responsibility and with a view to the common good.’
At SS John and Monica's we show that we are part of the community by:
•    participating and engaging
•    being active members of our community

In the UK, this is perhaps one of the best-known principles of Catholic Social Teaching. Pursuit of the common good is one of the ways in which Catholics practice solidarity: the common good is not just shared with those nearest to us, or even with all those in our own society; it is a universal principle, which fosters the unity of the whole human family. In practising it, Catholics are called to have particular care for the weak and vulnerable, because they are our neighbours in a pre-eminent way.
"You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor person.  You are handing over to them what is theirs." St Ambrose (340-397 AD)
At SS John and Monica’s we show we are part of a community by:
•    working together
•    working for the common good
•    participating and engaging
•    being active members of our community

Solidarity is about valuing our fellow human beings and respecting who they are as individuals.
‘The many situations of inequality, poverty and injustice, are signs not only of a profound lack of fraternity, but also of the absence of a culture of solidarity. New ideologies, characterised by rampant individualism, egocentrism and materialistic consumerism, weaken social bonds, fuelling that “throw away” mentality which leads to contempt for, and the abandonment of, the weakest and those considered “useless”
‘We are all one family in the world. Building a community that empowers everyone to attain their full potential through each of us respecting each other’s dignity, rights and responsibilities makes the world a better place to live.
Blessed Pope Paul VI taught that "If you want peace, work for justice". The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers.
At SS John and Monica’s we show solidarity by:
•    raising awareness of social justice
•    writing to our local leaders
•    praying for others
•    making connections
•    making socially responsible choices

Catholic Social Teaching holds that work is dignified and an intrinsic good, and workers must always be respected and valued.
The state has also the duty to protect the rights of all its people, and particularly of its weaker members, the workers, women and children.
Work must be undertaken responsibly, and labour treated well, this includes how we approach the work we do, what it is we do with our work and how employers treat their employees. Jesus speaks a lot about work, while much of this is in parables, we shouldn’t restrict interpretations of these parables to be only spiritual ones.
Do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honour. (James 3:17) 
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40
At SS John and Monica’s we recognise the dignity of work by:
•    respecting all workers
•    contributing to society
•    making responsible economic choices
•    supporting wellbeing and workers' rights
•    sharing our talents with others

Respect for human life means respecting all of God’s creation. We must re-engage with our environment and take responsibility for it; live sustainably, live so that there are enough resources for everyone.
The relationship between human activity and global warming must be constantly monitored for ‘the climate is a good that must be protected.
‘Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude.’ Pope Francis
The ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion…Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience. Pope Francis - Laudato Si
At SS John and Monica’s we show we care for creation by:
•    taking responsibility for our environment
•    making environmentally responsible choices
•    having awe and wonder for the natural world

‘The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me… to let the oppressed go free.’ Luke 4:18
The option for the poor reminds us of God’s preferential love for the poorest and most vulnerable people. God’s love is universal; he does not side with oppressors but loves the humble.
‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Matthew 25:35-40
At SS John and Monica’s we show a preferential option for the poor and vulnerable by:
•    fundraising for charitable causes
•    raising awareness
•    treating others with dignity and respect
•    thinking of the needs of others

The Catholic traditions teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human dignity. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities to one another, to our families and to the wider society.
“Our common bonds of humanity demand that we live in harmony and that we promote what is good for one another. These ethical implications are the reason why solidarity is a basic key to peace.” St John Paul II
At SS John and Monica’s we show we are people of peace by:
•    treating each other kindly
•    turning away from conflict
•    creating bonds between people