The Gospel is not merely about our personal relationship with God. Nor should our loving response to God be seen simply as an accumulation of small personal gestures to individuals in need … Both Christian preaching and life … are meant to have an impact on society. (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium n. 180)
What is Catholic Social Teaching?
Catholic social teaching is a central and essential element of our faith. Its roots are in the Hebrew prophets who announced God's special love for the poor and called God's people to a covenant of love and justice. It is a teaching founded on the life and words of Jesus Christ, who came "to bring glad tidings to the poor . . . liberty to captives . . . recovery of sight to the blind" (Lk 4:18-19), and who identified himself with "the least of these," the hungry and the stranger (cf. Mt 25:45). Catholic social teaching is built on a commitment to the poor. This commitment arises from our experiences of Christ in the Eucharist (…) Catholic social teaching is based on and inseparable from our understanding of human life and human dignity. Every human being is created in the image of God and redeemed by Jesus Christ, and therefore is invaluable and worthy of respect as a member of the human family. Every person, from the moment of conception to natural death, has inherent dignity and a right to life consistent with that dignity. Human dignity comes from God, not from any human quality or accomplishment. (From Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions. Emphasis added.)
Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that "the Church cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice." Let’s work for justice in our communities today!
Resources for Social Justice Programs and Ministries that can be Implemented in Parishes and Communities
The USCCB statement “We Are Salt and Light” offers a basic resource for pastors, parish leaders, and all Catholics seeking to strengthen the social ministry of their local community. The bishops’ reflection represents neither major new teaching nor a new national program. Rather, it brings together the principles of our social teaching and local pastoral experience in a framework for vibrant Catholic communities. Click here to learn more about how to implement the program.
Catholic Charities USA’s Parish Social Ministry Section offers a tool kit where you will find a collection of strategies and resources that have been developed by parish social ministry leaders from across the country. These strategies have been tested in parishes and dioceses across the country and are shared to help you build a unique ministry that responds to the needs of the time and place utilizing the gifts and interests of the parish.
You can also get involved locally in social ministries through Catholic Charities San Antonio. Visit their website and learn how you can serve the vulnerable in our communities through one of their many programs that reach out to those in need.
Get involved internationally! Consult the Catholic Relief Services website to learn more,
CST 101 is a collaborative video series between CRS and the USCCB that explores the 7 themes of Catholic Social Teaching.
Prayer Resources for Social Justice from the USCCB
Contact your neighborhood parish to learn more about the social justice ministries in your community. Click here to find a parish near you.
If you are a parish leader (volunteer or staff) and need assistance starting a social justice initiative or ministry in your parish, contact your Parish Life Liaison. For further assistance or questions, contact Ricardo Luzondo:
Dr. Ricardo Luzondo
Director, Office for Parish Life
Secretariat for Mission: Life, Justice, Peace, Outreach, Ministry for Persons with Disabilities & Young Adults