Catholic Social Teaching 101

For those workshop participants who would like to read more about Catholic Social Teaching in advance of the workshop, take 30 minutes and go through the following resources.

What is different about the way we live because we believe in a God revealed in Jesus and are accompanied by 2,000 years of tradition?

When we follow Jesus, we are in the company of millions of people, past and present, who work and pray in the service of God, human dignity, the poor, and the planet. The attempt to articulate principles (or theory) from this lived witness is called Catholic Social Tradition.

The following are wonderfully distilled articulations of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, explaining how we show up differently in the world because of our belief in God.

The Common Good:

The “common good” functions functions for us both as an ideal to strive after and a moral measure for our society. We are made for communion, acknowledging that “my” good includes “your” good.


We structure and concretize our commitment to love one another, not out of patronizing sense of “doing for someone” but out of mutuality and reciprocity.

Life and Dignity of the Human Person:

Our dignity roots in our creation in the image of God and applies across the whole of our existence from conception to natural death. (This is also articulated as the Seamless Garment.)

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable:

We orient our attention and care in a particular way to the marginalized because God is a God of love.

Care for God’s Creation:

We care for and reverence God’s creation as the gift that it is, and in this way care for human beings, especially the poor.

Call to Family, Community, and Participation:

We support families and communities, respecting the ability of each to participate in the shaping of our common life.

Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers:

Everyone has the right to make the world a better place through dignified work, and to be justly compensated for this work.

Human Rights and Responsibilities:

Our creation in the image of God confers on us specific rights and also demands that we take on certain responsibilities.