The Catholic Church holds a rich body of teaching which serves to inform us as we take faithful action in response to the complex societal and personal issues in our life and world. Known as Catholic social teaching (CST), this compilation of Papal and Episcopal documents came into being over the last 100 years as the modern era emerged. Although CST is a relatively new body of teaching it reaches back to our scripture and tradition to shed light on how to understand current social issues and act as people of faith.
The first document, “Rerum Novarum” (On the Condition of Workers) came at the turn of the century when Pope Leo XIII was compelled to respond to the rise of the industrial revolution and the conditions it brought to society; and workers in particular. Since then, Church leaders have addressed unfolding social issues such as economic justice, care of the environment, the nuclear arms race, peace and disarmament, global solidarity and development, racism, violence and the criminal justice system. The fullness of this tradition, though best understood through a reading of the original texts, can become familiar to us through an understanding of the Key Principles of Catholic social teaching.
Each month the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea explores one of the key principles of CST in the bulletin, on the parish web site, and on FACEBOOK. There are also many other opportunities throughout the year to learn more about these teachings and the Church’s Social Justice Tradition.