Catholic Social Teaching is based on the belief that God has a plan for creation, a plan to build his kingdom of peace, love and justice. It holds that God has a special place in this story for each of us, whoever we are. Our part in this plan isn’t just limited to things ‘spiritual’, or things we might do on Sundays, but that it involves every aspect of our lives, from the things we pray about, to how we live as a responsible global citizen.

As Knights of St Columba, our part in this story is a kind-of vocation for the common good, a call to treat everyone as your brother. Catholic Social Teaching is the tradition of papal reflection about how we live this vocation for the common good in our world.

It touches upon many different aspects of life, from the family to international development, how we think of those who are homeless to how we care for the environment, and from how we shop and consume to the rights of workers and the dignity of work. All the different areas that Catholic Social Teaching touches upon have developed from practical reflection on the realities of modern life.

The Church has always had social teaching and the most fundamental source is the Holy Bible. There was also the tradition of the Church Fathers in such areas as ownership of property, the just war and the charging of interest. In its modern form, however, Catholic Social Teaching (CST) first emerged at the end of the nineteenth century as a response to the injustices of the Industrial Revolution and the threat of Communism.

The Ten Principles of Catholic Social Teaching

Click <<here>> to read the 10 Princinples of Catholic Social Teaching

Two examples of Catholic Social Teaching, and why it is needed.

In Christifideles Laici Pope John Paul II emphasised the dignity of every individual as a person created by God in his own image and likeness. Since we are all made in the likeness of God we cannot tolerate any form of prejudice or injustice, to anyone, on any grounds. Gods Law requires respect for all human beings and a duty to defend their human rights.


"From Rerum Novarum onwards, the Church has insisted on the rights of fair pay so that employees can meet the needs of their families. This concept has in very recent years gained momentum through minimum wage legislation and now the Living Wage scheme, endorsed by political leaders and accepted by hundreds of businesses. And yet, in-work poverty is simultaneously gathering pace: more than five million workers bring home an income insufficient to cover basic outgoings, the significant majority of child poverty exists in working households, and low paid workers now make up the largest group relying on food banks for their meals." Cardinal Vincent Nicholls

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