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What is Catholic Social Teaching and what does it look like at St Mary's?

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The church's social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society.  Modern Catholic social teaching has been articulated through a tradition of papal, councilliar and eipscopal documents.  The depth and richness of this tradition can be understood best through a direct reading of these documents.  Below, we highlight the seven key themes that are at the heart of our Catholic social tradition and how we live this out at St Mary's.

1. Everyone is Special (Human Dignity)

God made each person so every life is important and should be protected.  We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.

St Paul tells us that each person is a work of art, created by God and chosen for a unique purpose. Ephesians 2:10

2. We want to contribute to our community (Participation)

God made us to be part of communities, families and countries, so all people can share and help each other.  We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and wellbeing of all. It's about living together as a community.

"You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor person.  You are handing over to them what is theirs." St Ambrose (340-397 AD)

3. All people should have a say (Rights and Responsibilities-Subsidiarity)

God wants us to help make sure everyone is safe and healthy and can have a good life. The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsbilities are met. 

Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right- Pslam 106:3
Fear not for I am with you. I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10   

4. Some people need extra help (Option for the Poor and Vulnerable)

God wants us to help people who are poor, who don't have enough food, a safe place to live or a community. 

 

‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Matthew 25:35-40

5. What is best for everyone (Common Good- Rights of Workers)

Work is important in God's plan for adults and their families, so jobs and pay should be fair. Work is more than a way to make a living, it is a way of taking part of God's creation.

Do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honour. (James 3:17)              

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40

6. We are one big family (Solidarity)

God made everyone so we are all brothers and sisters in God's family wherever we live.  We are one human family whatever our differences.  Loving our neighbour has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of Solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace.  Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.

Blessed Pope Paul VI taught that "If you want peace, work for justice". The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers.

7. Care for God's Creation (Stewardship)

We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation.  Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith.  We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God's creation.  The environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored.

Pope Francis wrote us a letter called Laudato Si - see it here
"Who turned the wonderworld of the seas into underwater cemeteries bereft of colour and life?" Catholic Bishops of the Philippines, 1988

What has happened to our world?

Year 3/4 Ermin class created this video in response to climate change. They wanted to get the important message across that we need to be acting on the words of Pope Francis in our role as stewards of creation, not just for our lives now, but for future generations.  

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