Principles of Catholic Social Thought

1. Dignity of the Human Person

hand on a bible

This is the keystone of CST. We are all made in the image and likeness of God, hence all life is precious and sacred, from conception until natural death.

  • Choose life.
    – Dt 30:15-20
  • The Lord secures justice of all the oppressed.
    – Ps 103:6-10
  • Christ empowers us to continue his work.
    – Lk 24:49
  • Put on a new self, created in God’s way.
    – Eph. 4:23-24


2. Community & Participation

People serving food to a child

All humanity is called to be social and to model the relationship of God in the mystery of the Trinity. We recognize our humanity in relationship to others and are saved through community.

  • Treat your neighbor with justice and mercy.
    – Lv 19:9-15
  • Act justly and walk humbly with God.
    – Mi 6:8
  • Love one another.
    – Jn 13:34-35
  • Learn how to live true Christian community.
    – Acts 4:32-35


3.  Rights & Responsibilities

Mission trip to Uganda

We not only care about life, but also that people have quality of life so that their human dignity is respected. We are called to respect the rights of others.

  • To know the Lord is to act justly.
    – Jer 22:16
  • God does not want empty religious exercises, but true conversion.
    – Am 5:21-24
  • Be a servant.
    – Mt 23:11
  • Combine prayer with action.
    – Lk 6:46-49


4. Option for the Poor

Woman sitting on a sidewalk

The poor and anyone vulnerable or oppressed are also called to be invited as part of the community and to be given a voice. Those with the most need ought to be attended to first.

  • Show regard for the lowly and the poor.
    – Ps 41:1-3
  • Rescue the victim from the oppressor.
    – Jer 22:3
  • Exercise hospitality; make friends with the poor.
    – Rom 12:10-18
  • Jesus announces his mission to liberate people.
    – Lk 4:16-30


5. Dignity of Work

Image of a doctor

We are all called to live a vocation and to be co-creators with God using our talents. Everyone has a right to fair and decent work in which their humanity is respected.

  • Do not grind the face of the poor.
    – Is 3:13-15
  • The unjust trample on the heads of ordinary people.
    – Am 2:6-7
  • Justice in the workplace is an example of showing the Christian way.
    – Lk3:10-18
  • Riches obtained unjustly bring misery.
    – Jas 5:1-6



6. Solidarity

Women and children in India

We are all part of one human family–whatever our national, racial, religious, economic or ideological differences–and in an increasingly interconnected world, loving our neighbors has global dimensions.

  • Listen to the poor.
    – Prv 21:13
  • Justice will bring peace.
    – Is 32:16-17
  • Christ is identified with all people.
    – Mt 25:31-46
  • If one suffers, all suffer.
    – 1 Cor. 12:24-26


7. Care for God's Creation

Sunset over a farm

From Genesis we learn all creation is holy and a gift from God which deserves our respect by being good stewards. We are co-creators with God.

  • Stewardship of the earth.
    – Gen 2:15
  • All the earth blesses God.
    – Dan 3:74-81
  • Learn to trust in God as does nature.
    – Mt 6:25-34
  • All creation awaits redemption.
    – Rom 8:18-25