Catholic Social Thought

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Every human being has a moral responsibility of respecting and living modestly with each other irrespective of the prevalent differences in culture, gender, status, race, or social orientation. It is a shame that this vocation is unfamiliar amongst most individuals in the contemporary world. Most people are more interested in materialistic things to the extent that some individuals commit murder, engage in corruption, or lie to acquire wealth dishonestly. Therfore, the Catholic church introduced the Catholic Social Thought (CST) to inform society about God’s plan for his creation, which includes restoring a community that thrives on justice, peace, and love. CST comprises of 9 principles, which aim at realizing a common good for self and community. Learning the principles of CST facilitates the understanding of the correlation between self and community.

CST Principles

Human Dignity

CST encourages the moral responsibility of protecting the dignity of the human person. The principle teaches every individual and community to look out for each other and condemn deeds such as slavery or exploitation because they diminish people’s worth and value. For example, society should report cases of child labour or individuals and institutions who mistreat the mentally ill or the elderly because of their incapacity to protect themselves. CST informs society to create awareness that every human despite their social-economic background should be respected, valued since God created every person in his likeness and image. Conversely, mistreating another individual equal to abusing the Almighty God.

The Common Good

CST teaches about the principle of the common good as a reflection of how people should live towards sustaining justice, peace, and love. God created people to pursue socialisation as opposed to being self-centred. Moreover, the history of humankind depicts that people thrive as a community by sharing thoughts and ideas to achieve a common good. Therefore, people should participate in community development projects such as building schools, health institutions, or various forms of infrastructure as they will serve the community at large. Besides, laws and regulations integrated by the government help to promote solidarity and protect human dignity, which are ways of realising a common good.

The Promotion of Peace

CST also inspires the need for the promotion of peace from a personal to the community aspect. The principle of peace promotion suggests that Christians should take the lead in ensuring that they preach peace everywhere they are. For instance, an individual or community should intervene to stop domestic violence by teaching the couple how to solve their marital problems without engaging in brutal acts. Equally, states should reconcile their differences in case of any as a way of sustaining human dignity and maintaining the common good of aspects such as justice, love, and love. Consequently, growth and development thrive in peaceful places.

Global Solidarity

CST communicates the principle of solidarity as one of the most significant teachings of the Catholic church. The morality of humanity facilitates the need for unanimity where people protect and respect each other irrespective of their social, political, or economic differences. When practicing and maintaining solidarity, it becomes easier to achieve human dignity, promote the common good, continue the stewardship of God’s creation, and promote peace. Therefore, through solidarity people become one family where love, protection, and justice prevails.

Interrelationship Between “Self” and “Community”

The principle of human dignity portrays a relationship between self and community. According to the good life and the golden rule (2016), people only reciprocate what they have towards achieving human dignity. For instance, a person is more likely to love another person unconditionally if the individual loves oneself in the same way. The same concept applies to other attributes of human dignity such as respect and protection. In such a case, achieving human dignity begins from self-love and self-respect, and once that is accomplished the community will respond the same way. Eventually, the golden rule of showing that human life is sacred begins from a personal mindset and develops into a community value.

The principle of common good informs the understanding of the interrelationship between self and community. The concept of “Ubuntu” supports the ideology of the common good by demonstrating that a person is a particular way because of the surrounding (I am because we are-individual and society, 2017). For example, a toddler will smile back at the parents if they also smile at the child. This principle shows the correlation of self and community since it encourages individuals to share their love, respect, and understanding to the community and the world will respond the same way. Therefore, when individuals practice the principle of the common good, it lightens other people's thoughts who will feel the need to do the same, which will result in positivity in the world.

The principle of peace promotion also edifies the understanding of the connection between self and community. Carter suggests that the foundation of justice is peace, which is a positive vision that every community and individual strives for worldwide (The history and principles of Catholic social thought, 2013). It is impossible to create peace if an individual is unresponsive to this idea. For example, when two people enter into a fight and one person opts for a peaceful resolution to the problem while the other denies, then it becomes difficult to attain harmony between the two. The same applies to individual nations that fight each other because one country refuses to make peace. The solution to universal peace should begin with individuals who respect each other and strive for positivity around them. Eventually, it will transform to magnitude of individuals who have shared interest in living harmoniously and justice will prevail at all times when the positive vision is maintained.

Finally, just like the promotion of peace, global solidarity also informs the understanding of the association between self and community. Different individuals have to come together for solidarity to exists, and it is through solidarity that humans flourish and thrive as a nation. Solidarity contributes to bravery, friendliness, generosity, and trust to name but a few virtues. Such qualities are exhibited from a personal level to the community. Therefore, without self, community solidarity is unattainable (Human flourishing and the common good, 2017).

Every individual and community member has the moral responsibility to protect human dignity, promote peace, achieve global solidarity, and promote the common good. The CST principles aim at helping create self-awareness and a foundation to attain communal goals. Understanding the roles and attributes of the CSTs depicts that self and community depend on each other for people to live happier and resourceful lives.


I am because we are-individual and society. (2017). Lecture Tutorial

The good life and the golden rule. (2016). Lecture Tutorial.

Human flourishing and the common good. (2017). Lecture Tutorial.

The history and principles of catholic social thought. (2013). Lecture Tutorial

September 11, 2023

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