Catholic Social Thought (CST) principles are based on the fact that human beings have been created as social beings and are always depending and relating with one another (Sayadat & International Islamic University Malaysia,2016). These principles are said to have been derived from documents written by the pope, conciliar documents and other reports from conferences that took place in the past. It is vital to note that these principles can only be understood best by studying the foundations of the principles in bible scriptures and from lives of people in the Christian religion. Consequently, these principles have continued to develop both theoretically and practically over the years (Sharkey, 2012). According to research, catholic agencies serve people from all races and religion equitably and their mission is founded on the principles discussed below;
A human being is both sacred and social. This principle states that the manner in which the society is organized in economics, politics, laws and policies has a direct impact of human beings and their ability to grow and advance in the society (Massaro, 2008). Subsequently, the institutions of marriage and family play a central role and must therefore be strengthened and not destabilized. Strong families help to build strong societies.
It is also vital to note that the catholic agencies believe that human beings have a right and obligation to be involved in activities in the society and seek the welfare of all people with an emphasis on the underprivileged and the susceptible (Alford & Naughton, 2001). This teaching is against collectivism tactics such as communism while at the same rejecting unlimited policies and the free market policy.
Preferential option for the poor.
The catholic teachings state that understanding and knowing how the most vulnerable members in the society are faring on is the basic moral test (Klein & Laczniak, 2009). In a society where there are divisions between the poor and rich calls for reevaluation since its likened to the story of the last judgment in Mathew 25:32-46. The story instructs all people in the society to care for the needs of the poor first.
Peace is regarded as a positive oriented concept. According to Pope John Paul II, peace is not just the absence of war but it involves aspects of confidence among people and nations and also mutual respect. The catholic teaching indicates that peace and justice are intertwined since peace involves both collaborations and binding agreements. Peace is also considered the fruit of justice.
- Stewardship of creation
It is a command from God to take care of the environment. The catholic tradition states that human beings are to show respect and reverence for God by being good stewards of His creation as this is a requirement of faith (Congress, Luks, & Petit, 2017). As a result, human beings are required to live harmoniously with the entire creation. This is an essential moral obligation that should be observed by all people.
Interrelationship between self and community
It is evident that the relationship between individuals and the society is described in the catholic social tradition principles. This relationship is common all over the world. Ubuntu is an African word that explains the significance of being in a community (DeBerri, Hug, Henriot & Schultheis, 2003). The word is explained as, “I am because we are.” All the CST principles indirectly emphasize that a human being is required to be in a community for personal benefits and that of others. The success of a community is an integral part of individual development in that human behavior has a direct impact on the overall structure and behavior of the society. Research states that without authentic and appropriate integration of individuals into the society, creating a trustworthy, meaningful and collaborative society becomes difficult (Sharkey, 2012).
The principle of participation explains that each person has a personal responsibility to support family and marriage institutions. This is because they have an impact on the psychological, emotional, spiritual and social aspect of human beings and in turn affect their behaviors (Curran, 2002). Additionally, this principle underscores that a society is made up of individual human beings and therefore; for society activities to be successful, human participation is inevitable. It is also vital to note that it is individuals who pair up to form marriages and therefore are required to accommodate each other to ensure the well being of other people in the society.
The value of humans proclaims that the rights of people need to be protected. This is to mean that the violation of one person’s rights is equivalent to the violation of societal rights (Curran, 2002). This is because all human beings are equal and are both formed in the image of God. It is evident that when individual people have a right to ownership of property, it is beneficial to the society. For example, when an individual owns a hospital or a school, it becomes beneficial as a social amenity.
The principle of promotion of peace is vital in ensuring growth and expansion of the society at large. This principle is interrelated to every individual in that mutual respect and honor in society promotes a positive impact on productivity and harmony (DeBerri, Hug, Henriot & Schultheis, 2003). For example, people living in the same society can improve their welfare if there is peace among them. This is because each individual has values for others in the society.
The catholic tradition has successfully developed answers to challenging problem around the world. This has created a relationship between individuals and the society. This has ensured that each entity takes care of the other because of the interdependence that emanates from them. It is therefore evident that the success of a society depends on the success of the people.
Alford, H. J., & Naughton, M. (2001). Managing as if faith mattered: Christian social principles
in the modern organization (Vol. 1). Univ of Notre Dame Pr.
Congress, E. P., Luks, A., & Petit, F. (2017). Nonprofit Management: A Social Justice Approach. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
Curran, C. E. (2002). Catholic social teaching, 1891-present: A historical, theological, and
ethical analysis. Georgetown University Press.
DeBerri, E. P., Hug, J. E., Henriot, P. J., & Schultheis, M. J. (2003). Catholic social teaching:
Our best kept secret. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.
Klein, T. A., & Laczniak, G. R. (2009). Applying Catholic social teachings to ethical issues in
marketing. Journal of Macromarketing, 29(3), 233-243.
Massaro, T. (2008). Living justice: Catholic social teaching in action. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Sayadat, M. N., & International Islamic University Malaysia. (2016). Social teachings of the catholic church: Perspectives of selected muslim scholars. Kuala Lumpur: Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia.
Sharkey, S. R. (2012). Sociology and Catholic social teaching: Contemporary theory and research. Lanham [Md.: Scarecrow Press.