ARTICLE – The Church’s Social Doctrine and Evangelization

The Church’s social teaching is a crucial aspect of spreading the positive message of the Gospel. It’s not just about proclaiming the Good News about Christ, but also improving society as a whole by applying Christian values.  The teaching is not just theory – it calls Christians to action. It guides us towards a just and loving society that gives a glimpse of God’s perfect world. 

A Message for Everyone

The Church’s social teaching is intended for all people of good will, not just Catholics. It promotes a vision of an integral and solidary humanism to guide the building of a more just and peaceful world. Key principles include the dignity of the human person, the common good, subsidiarity, and solidarity.

  • Dignity of the Human Person: The Church’s social doctrine is founded on the inviolable dignity of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God. This principle affirms the inherent worth and rights of every individual, regardless of their circumstances.
  • Common Good: The Church teaches that the purpose of social institutions and structures is to promote the common good – the sum total of social conditions that allow people, either as groups or individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily. This principle calls for policies and actions that benefit all members of society.
  • Subsidiarity: This principle holds that social and political issues should be dealt with at the most immediate or local level possible, only taking action at higher levels when necessary. It respects the autonomy of intermediate social groups and opposes excessive centralization of power.
  • Solidarity: Solidarity is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good, that is, to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all. It calls for a spirit of unity and mutual support, especially towards the poor and vulnerable.

The teaching draws on the Gospel and natural law to guide Christians in living their social lives. It doesn’t dictate specific systems, but awakens consciences to apply Gospel values in relationships.

Living It Out Day-to-Day 

Ordinary individuals can tangibly apply the social teaching in their daily lives through simple actions grounded in Christian values. By treating their neighbors, particularly the most disadvantaged, with respect and dignity. By embracing lifestyles of moderation that are environmentally sustainable. By volunteering for righteous causes. By advocating for the rights of the oppressed. In short, by constantly striving to promote the common good within their own circles of influence, humble though they may be.

Through this teaching, the Church offers hope – inviting all to build a world of justice and love as God intends.

Pierre-Alain Giffard, Director of Pastoral Work

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