Question: Our parish has been focusing on issues of peace and justice. What are the principles that guide decision-making and social morality?
Answer: There are seven principals of Catholic social teaching that guide our sense of social morality. These seven key points are the hallmarks of a just society, moral laws, and good leadership. They help shape our social “conscience” and lead us to choose those things that characterize social justice. They are 1) respect for the life and dignity of the human person; 2) call to family, community, and participation; 3) rights and responsibilities; 4) a preferential option for the poor; 5) the dignity of work and the rights of workers; 6) solidarity; and 7) care for God’s creation.
Catholic social teaching has had a great influence in our history and continues to guide us well. We must value every person in all walks of life, but especially those who are weak, vulnerable, and least able to defend themselves. We cannot justify the ends with the means, so no life can ever be sacrificed for the sake of another. The basic necessities of life cannot be denied someone: food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. We can and must find ways to put into practice the Gospel values we preach and proclaim, so that all people can know and experience God’s love for them. That might be the greatest principle of all!