PRINCIPLES OF CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHINGS for ages seven and older
The Dignity of the Human Person God made every single one of us. This makes us incredibly special. It doesn’t matter who we are, who our friends are, what we own, or what we look like. What matters is that we are special because we are God’s creations. This means too that we must treat others with great respect and fairness because God made them too.
We Are Called to Live as Family and Community Jesus understood that people greatly need other people. We all need our families, friends and neighbors. He tells us that these important people can help us. Jesus says we must help them too. Doing this, we create a loving community.
Rights and Responsibilities All of God’s people should have food, work, clothes, a home, school and medical care. These are ‘rights’: things every single person on earth must have to live. But many people do not have them. Jesus wants those who enjoy these rights to help their sisters and brothers obtain their rights. It is not enough to feel badly for others. Jesus says it is our responsibility to see that they receive their rights.
We Are Called to Stewardship The earth and all life on it is God’s creation. We are called to take care of it because it is a holy gift from God and the only place we can live. When we make bad or thoughtless use of the earth’s resources, many people suffer. When we make poor choices about how we treat other living things (people, animals, plants) we cause life to be less than God intends. Making wise choices about the care of God’s creation is called good stewardship. An Option for the Poor and Vulnerable Every person needs food, water, work, housing, school, and medical care. Those who do not have these are poor. Our Church teaches that these brothers and sisters must be treated with extra respect and extra care and given what they need. Those who are not poor must share what they have with the others. The Dignity and Rights of Workers All persons work. There are many kinds of work. In each job, workers deserve to have safe conditions, reasonable hours, and fair wages. They deserve this because they are made by God. Our work gives us the means to live, but it can also be a chance to use the talents God gives us. Our work is our way of cooperating with God to create our world. Solidarity The world’s peoples are interdependent. That means we need each other if we are to live. We must work together if we are to go on living. And, when we share our lives with our sisters and brothers around the world, we will become the best we can be. Even though there are huge differences among us, we are still one family—the family of God.