To be a faithful disciple is to be committed to a life of justice, solidarity with others, and commitment to the common good.  Catholic Social Teaching offers all believers both moral principles and practical guidelines in applying gospel values to the social, economic and political challenges of our day.  These videos unpack the principles of Catholic Social Teaching so as to inform and deepen the awareness of all believers to the essence of the Christian baptismal call and the demands of faithful discipleship.

Catholic Social Teaching is often called the church’s “best kept secret.” Many Catholics are still unaware of the meaning and origins of Catholic Social Teaching. Yet Catholic Social Teaching is rooted in Scripture and the church’s understanding of the human person, offering guidance on the Christian approach to many of the social issues that plague our world. View this video and reflect on the key scriptural values that undergird all Catholic Social Teaching.

Catholicism affirms that every human life is sacred from conception to death and everything in between. Every person is precious, created in the image and likeness of God, having equality, value, dignity and corresponding human rights which should never be violated for any reason. People are more important than things. These core beliefs form the bedrock and foundation of all Catholic Social Teaching and become the measure by which every society or institution is to be judged as to whether they threaten and undermine or uphold and protect human life and dignity. View this  and commit yourself to uphold and protect all human life and dignity, no matter the cost.

Catholic Social Teaching affirms that all creation is suffused with God’s image and likeness and has dignity, equality, and rights which no one can take away or deny. To be human is to be socially interdependent with all of creation. God created us in solidarity with one another, calling us to care for one another by being attuned to the common good of all. Communal interdependence demands that we respect and protect the full and equal right of all to participate in economic, political and religious life, regardless of race, gender or creed. View this video and learn why solidarity flows into the common good and the full and equal participation of all.

The Family is the most basic unit of society and social engagement, and therefore a central focus of all Catholic Social Teaching. It is within families that we learn about God, moral values and where we form our consciences. In family life, we experience justice, love, compassion, mercy, giving and taking, as well as the willingness to sacrifice for the other without counting the cost. Families are the very fabric of a healthy society. Governments, corporations, institutions and churches all have an obligation to support and foster healthy families, in the midst of life’s challenges and difficulties. Make time to view this week’s Do You Know video and delve more into why family is central to all Catholic Social Teaching

Subsidiarity is the Catholic Social Teaching principle that addresses the role of government and other higher institutions in relationship to the initiative and decision making process on the local level. Subsidiarity insists that healthy decision making and initiatives are best when they involve the people who are going to be affected by them. Government and other higher institutions are there to assist, support or provide backup for those needs that the local level cannot address locally or on its own initiative. Subsidiarity is best summarized by the phrase: “as small as possible, but big when necessary.” View this video and examine how subsidiarity operates on your local level.

Every first Sunday in October celebrates Respect Life Sunday. Respecting life from conception to natural death and everything in-between is foundational in all Catholic Social Teaching. Cardinal Bernardin named this stance our Consistent Ethic of Life, or the Seamless Garment of Life. We are called to honor and respect the dignity of every life in every stage of life, along with honoring and respecting the dignity of all of God’s creation. If we focus on any one life issue, we must make sure that our focus is consistent with every other life issue. We cannot afford to be contradictory in respecting life in all its manifestation. Rather we must be consistent in our support of life at every stage. View this video and learn more about what it means to be consistent in respecting life in our Christian Tradition.

With the onslaught of the Industrial Revolution, Catholic Social Teaching consistently manifested a concern for workers and the dignity of work. CST advocated for many workers’ rights and protections which did not exist at the time, CST continually dedicates itself to improving the rights of workers regarding a “living” or just wage and reasonable work hours. CST has always supported the right of workers to organize and continues to be a strong supporter of labor unions. CST insists that a just society is one that respects the rights and dignity of workers. View this video and learn how Catholic Social Teaching continues to advocate for workers’ rights and dignity,

Catholic Social Teaching addresses the complex relationship between private ownership of property and the requirements of the common good. CST documents support private ownership but always place some limits on it in relation to the common good. When too few own a great deal it can easily lead to ignoring the less fortunate. CST insists that the earth’s goods are intended for the benefit and nourishment of all, especially when it comes to the basic necessities of life such as decent housing, health care, electricity, fuel and other necessities. View this video and learn why CST challenges many common assumptions about private ownership.

The preferential option for the poor, a recent term in Catholic Social Teaching, roots itself in scripture and tradition going back to Jesus himself. The Latin American church understood the church to be of and for the poor, redressing an imbalanced image of the church as siding with the upper class and wealthy landowners. God loves all, the rich and the poor. But God hears the cry of the poor and challenges the rich in their responsibility to care for the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized. Pope Francis, the first Latin American pope, clearly states that “No one is dispensable.” Vew this video and be challenged by the demands of a preferential option for the poor.

There are two dominant Christian approaches to conflict: Pacifism and Just War Theory. Pacifism is rare in the tradition, except for some groups like the Catholic Worker or St. Edigio Community or people like St. Francis, Gandhi, or Martin Luther King Jr. In Catholic Social Teaching, the Just War theory dominates. Begun by St. Augustine (353-4-30) and augmented throughout the centuries, Just War Theory outlines conditions that justify going into war, conditions for waging the war, and conditions for transitioning to peace. In light of nuclear weapons and modern warfare technology, Catholic Social Teaching, along with Pope Francis, insists that the Just War theory is obsolete. View this video and learn why Catholic Social Teaching promotes peace and disarmament rather than violent conflict

With Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si, On Care for Our Common Home, environmental justice became intimately connected with social justice and Care for God’s creation became a prominent concern of Catholic Social Teaching. While previous papal and bishops’ documents spoke about the environment, Laudato Si is the first sustained reflection on the environment and its connection to social justice, especially as it impacts the poor and vulnerable. Three models of creation are reflected in Laudato Si, the dominion model, the stewardship model and the kinship or community of creation model. View this and learn why the kinship model is God’s desire for all creation.

As we conclude our series on Catholic Social Teaching we affirm the fact that Catholic Social Teaching is at the heart of Christian living. The 1971 Synod of bishop boldly declared that Catholic Social Teaching is “a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the gospel.” Even though the institutional church has not always been faithful to its own Catholic Social Teaching, Christians from the time of Jesus have consistently promoted social justice issues based on gospel values and the Jesus lifestyle. Today, we have a duty to know and share the large body of Catholic Social Teaching with all concerned for social justice. View this video and learn why Catholic Social Teaching is at the core of Christian Living.