Catholic Social Teaching

Catholic Social Teaching – Principles at Our Agency’s Core & Principles by which we Build a Just Society

At the heart of Catholic Charities’ Mission and Core Values (mission-statement-core-values) are the Catholic Social Teachings (CST) of the Church, also known as the Social Doctrine of the Church.   The many programs of Catholic Charities are guided by, and witness to, the rich tradition and wisdom of Catholic Social Teaching (CST).  As stated by the U.S. Catholic Bishops, “Catholic Social Teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society.”  Catholic Social Teaching has its foundation in Sacred Scripture, and is has been developed and articulated over many years through papal addresses and encyclicals, and through the statements of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and of bishops from around the world.  Adding to this teaching are the statements from local episcopal ordinaries, such as the Bishop of Charlotte, on social and ethical issues, as well as the educational resources provided by many Catholic organizations such as Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS).   Through all these many resources, Catholic Social teaching promotes charity, justice and peace with vitality and intellectual grounding.

While the broad scope, depth and richness of Catholic Social Teaching is best understood by reading the source documents of Catholic Social Teaching, Catholics receive assistance in understanding the major themes of Catholic Social Teaching through helpful summary resources.  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has developed a resource that presents the seven core themes of Catholic Social Teaching in a one page summary.  That summary is available here.  Please also find here a link to the USCCB Seven Themes of CST resource page.  Below are listed the seven themes of CST.

Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching

  • Life and Dignity of the Human Person
  • Call to Family, Community and Participation
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
  • Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
  • Solidarity
  • Care for God’s Creation

Video Resources

To further assist in promoting an understanding of Catholic Social Teaching please find below two video resources.  The first resource provides a five minute overview of Catholic Social Teaching.  The second resource offers seven videos on each of the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching.  (Thank you to Gary Meegan, Ed.D. of Junipero Serra High School for permitting the sharing of the first video resource and to the USCCB and Catholic Relief Services for the second video resource).

  1. Summary video on Catholic Social Teaching
  2. CST video resources from the USCCB and Catholic Relief Services (CRS)

Should your viewing time be limited, it is recommended that you watch the overall CST summary video resource first (approximately 5 minutes in length) and the first of seven video resources provided by the U.S. Bishops and Catholic Relief Services on the Life and Dignity of the Human Person (approximately 3 minutes in length).  Find that first of seven videos directly here.

Further Resource on the Social Doctrine of the Church

The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church is a synthesis of the Church’s social teachings published by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in October of 2004. The compendium is divided into three parts, examining the foundations, contents and pastoral perspectives of Catholic social doctrine. This valuable resource can be ordered through the USCCB publishing office by calling 1-800-235-8722, or found online in its entirety, along with other major foundational CST documents, here.  It is one of the listed Papal and Vatican Documents.