Pope Francis has spoken of the ‘globalisation of indifference’ calling it an ‘illness which does so much harm in this world’. He is talking about how we shut our eyes to what is actually happening in our neighbourhoods and the world, and so fail to take positive action to do something about it.
‘Whenever we attempt to read the signs of the times it is helpful to listen to young people and the elderly. Both represent a source of hope for everybody. The elderly bring with them memory and the wisdom of experience, which warns us not to foolishly repeat our past mistakes. Young people call us to renewed and expansive hope, for they represent new directions for humanity and open us up to the future, lest we cling to a nostalgia for structures and customs which are no longer life-giving in today’s world’. Pope Francis, ‘Evangelii Gaudium ‘The Joy of the Gospel (108)
‘I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security’ Pope Francis.
Principles of Catholic Social Teaching
The Church’s social thought is primarily positive: it offers proposals, it works for change and in this sense it constantly points to the hope born of the loving heart of Jesus Christ’ Pope Francis: Joy of the Gospel, 183
Catholic Social Teaching is not something new in the Church. It is part of the Church’s history and has emerged and evolved over a period of time. Our Church leaders have consistently spoken and written about the moral concerns that confront the people of God. One example from our own country comes from Cardinal Manning, second Archbishop of Westminster. He worked tirelessly on behalf of the poor and the outcast and through this he was invited to join a Commission for better housing of the working classes. His efforts at mediation between the strikers and their employers at the time of the great London Dock Strike in 1889 were a clear expression of Gospel values in action, winning him fame at home and abroad. He showed himself to be a friend and spokesperson for the dockers, endorsing their two main claims for a minimum wage of sixpence an hour and recognition of the union.
Cardinal Manning’s work in England and the Catholic Social Action movement in Germany, during a period when workers in Europe and North America were being exploited, helped to inspire the first ground breaking social encyclical from a pope. In 1891, Pope Leo XIII issued, Rerum Novarum- the Condition of Labour in defence of workers’ rights.
This resource will focus on the following key principles underpinning Catholic Social Teaching:
- Dignity of Human Person
- The Common Good and Subsidiarity
- Priority of Labour over Capital
- Option for the Poor
- Gift of Life and Creation
The above aim to lead you into A Call to Action
Structure of this resource
For each key principle of Catholic Social Teaching, the aim is to:
- explaining it
- link it to scripture readings
- link it to key Church documents such as Catechism of the Catholic Church (ccc), Papal documents and other resources etc.
- link to a particular Saint whose charism is linked to this particular principle
- link to local/national groups associated with this principle
- focused prayer
- Questions for personal /group reflection