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Catholic social teaching is based on the belief that almighty has created the universe with a plan to develop a kingdom of peace, love as well as justice. God has special place for everyone in the kingdom where he assigns particular responsibilities and duties to every individuals as global citizens. This teaching includes different thoughts of life that initiates from family to that of even international development (Clark & Zaleswski, 2015). This involves thinking for those who are homeless to working for environment, how individuals should shop and consume things, maintain dignity and others and thereby build a wonderful place for human beings to live on making everyone happy and contented. There are 9 important principles of catholic social thoughts which will now be discussed to shed more light on how the world can be made a better place for living.
The Catholic Church is of the opinion that human life is not only sacred but also believes that dignity of a human individual is the main foundation of a moral vision of the society. Every individual should consider human beings are precious and should uptake activities that enhance the life and dignity of human person (Thompson, 2015). In the light of self and community, one should remember that no individual should affect the dignity of other persons for the profit of self. Rather they should undertake activities by keeping in mind that dignity of the communities are maintained while acting upon self’s wishes and aspirations. This would help in better benefit of the world and reduce selfishness increasing the chance of the community to feel respected.
This principle advises human beings to overcome the habits of excessive individualism and undertake activities which focus on the fact that human beings are not only sacred but also social. One should overcome the habits of self-obsession and consider organizing our society as a community which would excel in every aspect (Lu, 2017). These would include economics, politics, laws, policies and many others. These would help in developing the capacity of individuals to grow in community where each and everyone would overcome the feeling of self-obsession and introduce reforms that would help in development of the community for common good and development of entire society. This can be related with the term ubuntu which means humanity with others. By this term, one refers to the belief in a universal bond of sharing which connects all humanity. “A person is a person through other people” – it means that one can only call himself a human when he thinks and performs activities for the betterment of other individuals of the humanity and thereby provide help for common good without being selfish.
The catholic social thought is of the opinion that every society and individual has the responsibility to evaluate about how the most vulnerable members of the community are fairing. It is indeed important that every individuals should try to understand that how the level of deprivation as well as the powerlessness of the poor section o the society are wounding the whole community. It is extremely important for every individual to overcome the concept of self and take initiatives thinking of the options for the poorer classes of people to achieve the common good (McNiff et al, 2013). A healthy community can only be developed when members of the community will give up the thoughts of self and provide better attentions to those with special needs and those who are poor and at the margins of the society. Following the golden rule of humanism, a person should never exploit another vulnerable person in a way by which they would themselves not like to be treated. The rich should keep in mind about this factor and should not perform any activities that harm the poor.
This principle states that a community should be developed in such a way where each and every member of the society starting from the high socioeconomic background to that of the low socioeconomic backgrounds would have the right and responsibility to actively participate in different types of political institutions. These would ultimately help the government to achieve it proper goals and develop a strong union. The functions of the government should take place in a way where even the lowest levels of the government can act successfully and adequately as long as possible. Only when the important requirements and needs in question cannot be met at the lower level, then only the higher levels of governments should intervene (Teixera, 2017). This would ultimately help in developing human dignity, build common good and thereby protect human rights.
This principle confirms that very individual should develop personality and personal attributes where their thinking procedures would always be guided by up taking activities that will do good to the common people rather than taking self as the only individuals to be care for. This can be done by protecting human dignity and maintaining healthy community by maintaining the fact that rights of all individuals of the community are protected and responsibilities are met (Long, 2015). Every person has the fundamental right to possess things important for human needs like food, clothing, shelter, employment, care, education and others. Therefore overcoming the concept of self and taking steps for helping them to get their basic requirements should be taken as prime duty. This will help in developing common good. Economic justice should also be maintained.
The God has created the world and has allocated proper resources which human being should respect as gifts from the divine creation. It is the duty of the human beings to care and respect these goods provided by the God as responsible citizens and care should have taken that the resources are not exploited. It is to the duty of every individual to utilize resource for self which is minimum and important for living a proper life (Johnston, 2014). Resources should not be wasted and every chance should be given to the others of the community like those of the lesser privileged class to utilize resources so that they can also be a part of the universal gifts provided to us. We should act as responsible stewards and trustees for these gifts and develop a community with equal access to these gifts rather than utilizing all resources by self. This can be related with the principle of Golden rule. This states that people should focus on treating others the way by which they themselves want to be treated. If the richer class of society does not themselves want to suffer due to lack of proper resources in the future, they should also do not destroy resources in the present time and only use resources which is only required.
Initiatives should be taken which promotes peace not only among the communities but also among the nations. Peace should be promoted as positive and action oriented concept which is not only achieved by the absence of war but also by the involving of the mutual respect and confidence between individuals, societies, nations and others. Every individual should not always be self centered but try to initiate strategies which ensure peace and discourage negativities (Miller, 2015). Overcoming concept of self and ensuring promotion of peace among the communities to ensure common good should be the duty of each individual.
The Catholic social thought promotes the principle of participation where it is believed that each and every individual of the society irrespective of the social status should get the equal rights in different aspect of the society like that in the economic, political as well as cultural life of the society. It should be considered that every individual should possess the fundamental demand of justice and requirement for maintaining the human dignity where all people of the community should have a minimum level of participation in the community (David et al, 2013). Overcoming biases and stereotypes of self and encouraging each individual’s contribution in the community to participate for greater good of the world is very important.
This belief is mainly based on the principle that all individuals should work together to be stronger and to make a difference. Working globally to achieve justice at all levels and being responsible for maintaining unity across cross-national, economic, racial and ideological barriers are very important for proper functioning of every nations in the worlds (Calo, 2015). Respecting and promoting social, economic and political rights of all people overcoming thoughts and biasness of self and acting together as one power ensure better functioning and happier days in the community rather than craving for self happiness. Being united globally ensures common good for all the communities.
The Catholic principles of thought provide nine important principles. With the help of the principles, communities can be developed where every individuals ensure living nit for self but for the better good of the nation and hence the world. These principles if followed by every individual will help in making the world a place where everyone not only lives happily but for the best of mental and physical health as well.
Calo, Z. R. (2015). Catholic Social Thought and Human Rights. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 74(1), 93-112.
Clark, C., & Zalewski, D. A. (2015). Rethinking Finance in Light of Catholic Social Thought. Journal of Catholic Social Thought, 12(1), 19-44.
David, J. M., David, J. M., & Hendry, S. J. (2013). Using Principles of Catholic Social Thought to Evaluate Business Activities. Journal of Catholic Social Thought, 10(1), 155-177.
Johnston, L. (2014). Catholic Social Thought. Proceedings of the Catholic Theological Society of America, 69.
Long, B. (2015). The NDIS as a'Good News' story-Perspectives from economics and Catholic social thought. St Mark's Review, (232), 81.
Lu, M. T. (2017). The Philosophical Foundations of Distributism: Catholic Social Teaching and the Principle of Subsidiarity. Quaestiones Disputatae, 8(1), 7-20.
McNiff, J. (2013). Action research: Principles and practice. Routledge.
Miller, A. (2015). Ending Extreme Poverty: The Call from Catholic Social Thought. Integritas: Advancing the Mission of Catholic Higher Education, 4(3), 1.
Teixeira, P. (2017). From Catholic Social Thought to Catholic Economics and Back: António Almodovar’s interest into an unexpected subject. Iberian Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 4(1), 21-23.
Thompson, J. M. (2015). Introducing catholic social thought. Orbis Books.
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