Some people look at Catholic doctrine as a set of rules that Catholics are obliged to follow. As Pope Benedict has explained, Christianity is actually an experience of Christ’s love, not a set of dos and don’ts.
Thus the Church’s social teaching is itself a valid instrument of evangelization. As such, it proclaims God and his mystery of salvation in Christ to every human being, and for that very reason reveals man to himself. In this light, and only in this light, does it concern itself with everything else: the human rights of the individual, and in particular of the “working class”, the family and education, the duties of the State, the ordering of national and international society, economic life, culture, war and peace, and respect for life from the moment of conception until death.
~ Pope St. John Paul II
The social doctrine of the Church are comprised of beautiful and profound writings of recent popes and bishops that deal with the human person as a social being and the consequences of being made in the image of God. Through these teachings, which are geared to our time and culture, we learn through reason what God’s plan is for us as men and women, and brothers and sisters to each other. In a most compelling way, they lead one to understand true love and true freedom, and ultimately lead to the very center of the Holy Trinity.
The social teachings include a set of principles that help people inform their consciences and understand their roles and obligations in modern society particularly in seeking solutions to social, political and economic situations related to human dignity.
Often called the best kept secret of the Catholic Church, many Catholics are unaware of social teachings. They have not been very accessible to Catholic laity and are seldom discussed from the pulpit. People who have been introduced to the social teachings by CCG find they open up a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith.
The Social Teachings are part of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. The Magisterium is the teaching authority that Christ conferred to the apostles and which has been passed down to their successors, the bishops. The social teachings are scholarly works that spring from Sacred Scripture and can be found in the Catechism of the Catholics Church, Encyclicals, Apostolic Exhortations and other Magisterial documents from the Holy See and the bishops.
- Canon Law on Social Teaching
- Catholic Social Doctrine
- Catholics for the Common Good Institute’s Focus, and Selected Catholic Teachings
- Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church
- Defending Marriage
- Humane Vitae
- Letter on Homosexuality from Archbishop O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston
- Marriage, the Foundation of Society
- Neither Liberal nor Conservative
- Principles of Catholic Social Doctrine
- Prudential Judgment
- Rights and Responsibilities
- Social Concerns
- Teaching on Human Rights
- Teaching on Suicide and Euthanasia
- The Family, the Vital Cell of Society
- The Lay Vocation: The Secular Role of the Laity in the Mission of the Church
- The Meaning of Marriage
- What Is Catholic Social Teaching? (Part 1)
- What Is Catholic Social Teaching? (Part 2)