Building a Civilisation of Life and Love

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“In order to make society more human, more worthy of the human person, love in social life — political, economic and cultural — must be given renewed value, becoming the constant and highest norm for all activity.”  Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church No. 582

Catholic social teaching is sometimes described as the Church’s best kept secret. 

This is because many people in secular society and even those within the Catholic faith do not realise the wide scope and long history of the Church’s reflections upon the dignity of the human person in the light of the Gospel and, what this means for just and life-giving social relationships: between men and women, adults and children, in family groups, workplaces, cultural institutions, in response to technological innovation and economic systems and between ethnic groups and nations.

Catholic social principles centre around the promotion, defence and building up of truth, freedom, justice and love within communities and within her own life and witness.

The Catholic response to social issues has been guided by a reflection upon Biblical revelation about humanity and creation, by her conviction that all people are called to share the truth, by the concrete love of her saints for those oppressed and in need.  Above all, these responses find their source in the liberating love of Jesus Christ.

These practical social responses have found expression and authoritative support in the teaching documents of the Church including Papal documents (such as the great Papal encyclicals) and in Bishops’ pastoral letters and submissions.  

According to Pope Benedict XVI, the Church’s teaching documents “help purify reason and to contribute, here and now, to the acknowledgment and attainment of what is just…. [The Church] has to play her part through rational argument and she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice…cannot prevail and prosper…".

If you would like more information about Catholic social teachings, please go to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.