Principles of Catholic Social Thought
The Catholic social thought is a blueprint comprising of principles that guide a just society and in turn provides the framework for achieving the envisioned just society. The principles present the community with a benchmark for influencing their behavior (Mcknight & Mcknight 2016). This paper will highlight the nine principles of Catholic social thought and link the concepts of the “self” and the “community.”
This principle confirms the social nature of human beings. Human beings are supposed to shun all individualistic drives in their social, cultural and economic relationships. Human beings grow in the community, and there is no way a person can do on his own (Etzioni 2014). Therefore, the community exists because an individual lives a good life. Therefore, each has the responsibility to promote the common good, and it is the responsibility of the government to protect human life and the dignity of every individual. Gemma Cruz argues that the common good exists because of the general community and not for individual self-wishes ( Mckay 2017). The common good links people in the community. The common good is regarded as the universal good. According to Aristotle, the good in human beings happens when an individual flourishes. However, the fact that humans are social beings, their flourishing is pegged on the flourishing of the whole community. The quality of the relationship between the “self” and the “community” determines the level of flourishing in the community.
Human life is regarded as sacred. This principle stresses the divine nature of human life and the need to uphold the respect to individuals regardless of the material wealth or the social backgrounds (Lewis, Volpe, & Mccarthy 2015). The Catholic Church notes that life is sacred and dignity is the basis of a just and moral society. The church also believes in the sanctity of life and the respect for the individual human beings as the fundamental social teaching. Notably, the dignity of an individual is relevant on how the person relates to the community. This means that the “self” has to relate well to the “community” for human dignity to be upheld. Therefore, the community protects the dignity of the “self” in the society. This means that for the “self” to experience full human dignity, they have to humanize the social institution in the “community” in which they live in.
Rights and Responsibilities
The Catholic church believes that the dignity of human beings can only be achieved when the society protects the rights of the persons. On the other hand, a just society can only be reached through the protection of human rights in the community (Calo 2015). The “self” and the “community” has the responsibility of upholding this rights and privileges in the society. Every member of the community has a right to life in the society, and thus they have corresponding responsibilities to one another so that the rights are applied to the latter. Therefore, every member of the community has the obligation to participate in the good of the community as a whole.
Every member of the society has an inherent right to take part in the political, economic and cultural aspects of the community. Therefore, the Catholic church principle demands that every individual is accorded some minimum participation level in community matters (Rowards 2015). The participation of the individuals in the community aspects improves the human dignity of the “self.” On the other hand, it is unjust for a person or society to be unfairly barred from taking part in the activities of the community.
The Catholic social thought reiterates the importance of solidarity among the members of the community. The doctrine states that human beings are brother keepers and therefore they should be ready to offer a helping hand to a deserving fellow human being (Klein & Laczniak 2009). Therefore, this principle highlights the relationship between the “self” and the “community” for solidarity purposes. Human beings are one family regardless of the race, economic background or political affiliation. Therefore, every member has a responsibility to support one another in times of need. Solidarity underscores the importance of loving one another in the interdependent society.
Helping the Poor and Vulnerable
The Catholic church underscores the significance of the life the vulnerable members of a community regarding the reflection of the morals of the society. Therefore, when other individuals are languishing in abject poverty while others are living a luxurious life, the society is considered unjust and imbalanced (Motivation, Inspiration and Life 2017). The abled members of the society need to put the interest of other first. The interest of the society supersedes the interest of an individual. Therefore, the spirit of UBUNTU which means “I am who I am because of who we all are” is relevant in harmonizing people to assist the afflicted in the community (Boudreau & Jen 2016). This means that the “self” is an active player for the wellbeing of the whole community.
Besides the Catholic Church reiterates the importance of respecting God as the creator of the universe by being stewards to His creations. The principle insists that human beings were called to be protectors of the people and the planet (Nixon & Geoffrey 2013). Therefore, every individual has a responsibility towards maintaining their environment and the community which they live in. For instance, the golden principle that states, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is a “self” effort, but the outcome affects the whole “community.”
Role of Government
The government, on the other hand, has the mandate to promote human dignity by promoting the common good, human dignity and human rights (Buchanan & Gellel 2015). This principle ensures that the government facilitates the “self” to accomplish their responsibilities in the community. Besides the individuals also have the responsibility of assisting the government in maintaining the common good and executing its mandate.
Promotion of Peace
The final principle is the promotion of peace. Peace is regarded as a positive concept that drives a just society. The concept of peace cannot prevail where the individuals live in an unjust and imbalanced society. Every individual has a responsibility of promoting peace (Massaro 2016). Therefore, when the “self” promotes peace, the community lives in a peaceful and harmonious manner. This means that the “self” and the “community” are dependent on the concept of peace.
In conclusion, the Catholic social thought provides a framework upon which the morals guide the believers regarding the life in the society. The principles adequately cover all aspects of human life, and by doing this, the principles have helped in ensuring a just society in the universe. Human nature in regarded as inherently a social animal that depends on the relationship with others in the society for its survival. The paper has highlighted how the “self” is a crucial part of the “community” because the community precedes the individual.
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