Catholic Classroom: Catholic Social Teaching

Question: What are the main principles of Catholic social teaching?

Dorothy Day and Mother Teresa | Text: What are the principles of Catholic Social Teaching?

Because of our commonly shared vocation to holiness, we are all called to imitate Jesus by living as he lived. To help us do this, the Church has developed Catholic social teaching, which has been described in various official documents. These documents tend to address issues that we are facing in the present day and apply Jesus’ teaching in the way that best relates to the matter at hand.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has listed seven main themes of Catholic social teaching:

  1. Life and Dignity of the Human Person

    This principle is the foundation for all of Catholic social teaching. According to this principle, every human life is sacred. Because of this, we reject abortion, euthanasia, and practices that threaten the existence or dignity of any human being.

  2. Call to Family, Community, and Participation

    Human beings are social creatures.This principle states that we must all participate in society to seek the common good. Additionally, this principle supports the institutions of marriage and the family.

  3. Rights and Responsibilities

    Our communities can only be at their best when the rights of all human beings are protected. This principle encourages us to protect the rights of all people and reminds us of our responsibilities to others and to society to help protect those rights.

  4. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

    According to this principle, we must privilege the needs of those who are most vulnerable. This means that the needs of the poor, the sick, children, and others who are most in need are put first.

  5. The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers

    This principle reminds us that there is inherent value in work and that the rights of workers must be protected. Human beings do not exist solely for work, and they must have the right to productive work, livable wages, and the ability to organize.

  6. Solidarity

    As one common human family, we are called to pursue justice and peace. This principle states that we must love our neighbors and promote peace, even in the face of differences.

  7. Care for God’s Creation

    We are stewards of God’s creation. Because of this, we have the moral responsibility of taking care of the environment. The care of creation means protecting not only the earth, but also human beings.


Catholic Classroom: Catholic Social Teaching