Catholic Social Teaching (CST) is a rich body of doctrine developed by the Catholic Church to guide its members in living out their faith in the modern world. Rooted in the teachings of Jesus Christ, CST offers a framework for understanding and responding to social issues with a focus on promoting human dignity and the common good, as well as caring for the environment, working for peace, and supporting the vulnerable. The six pillars of Catholic Social Teaching are fundamental principles that underpin the Church's approach to social justice and ethical living. By adhering to these principles, individuals and societies can work towards a more just and compassionate world.
1: Dignity Human dignity is the foundational principle of Catholic Social Teaching. It asserts that every person is precious and worthy of respect and protection. This inherent dignity is not contingent on one's age, race, nationality, economic status, or any other characteristic. This principle compels individuals and society to recognize and uphold the worth and rights of every human being.
2: Common Good and the Community The concept of the common good emphasizes that individuals are connected to and dependent on one another. It teaches that social and economic institutions should work for the benefit of all members of society, rather than serving the interests of a select few. The well-being of the entire community is a fundamental concern and should guide public policies and individual actions.
3: Care for Creation CST emphasizes the responsibility of humanity to be stewards of God's creation. This pillar calls for environmental stewardship and the protection of the natural world. It recognizes that the care for creation is intertwined with the well-being of present and future generations and is essential for the common good.
4: Peace and Reconciliation The Church promotes the pursuit of peace and reconciliation as a means to address conflicts and disputes. It encourages individuals and nations to seek non-violent solutions to conflicts, to work toward disarmament, and to promote justice as a path to lasting peace. Promoting peace is seen as a way to honour human dignity and foster the common good.
5: Dignity in Work and Participation CST emphasizes the importance of meaningful and just work. It calls for decent working conditions, fair wages, and the protection of workers' rights. Additionally, it underscores the significance of people participating in decisions that affect their lives, both in the workplace and in society at large.
6: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable and Solidarity The principle of an "Option for the Poor" teaches that society should prioritize the needs of the marginalized and vulnerable. This includes addressing poverty, inequality, and social injustices. Solidarity, closely related to this principle, emphasizes the interdependence of all people and encourages individuals and communities to stand with those who are suffering, advocating for their rights and well-being.