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Image of the Holy Spirit on the Stephen Foster triptych at Northampton Cathedral

THE DIOCESE > DIOCESAN DEPARTMENTS > Justice and Peace Commission > Catholic Social Teaching
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The Common Good Minimize
Click here to download the March 2010 document from the Bishops' Conference, "Choosing the Common Good"
Catholic Social Teaching Minimize

Catholic Social Teaching is often described as "the Church's best-kept secret"

It provides a framework of principles for reflection, criteria for judgment, and guidelines for action for examining the economic, social and political realities of the world we live in.

It is authoritative Church teaching on social, political and economic issues, informed by Gospel values and the lived experience of Christian reflection;

It analyses the lived experience of the Christian Communities from different historical, political and social contexts;

It challenges us to transform the world we live in as part of our living faith, enabling us in our struggle to live our faith in justice and peace;

It came to prominence in modern times as the Church responded to immense changes in social and political structures, but is not something new. From the time of the early Church, Christians have been inspired by faith to seek justice and to protect and uphold people who are poor and in need;

It is dynamic and unfolding, yet founded on principles that are permanent and true;

It is enriched by absorbing new insights such as the importance of human rights and the environment;

Although formally articulated by the Pope and bishops of the Church, is addressed to all the faithful, and all people of good will;

It is not a ‘third way’ between liberal capitalism and Marxist collectivism ; rather it constitutes a category of its own. Its main aim is to interpret the realities of the world we live in, determining their conformity with (or divergence from) Gospel teaching, and thus to guide Christian behaviour. It therefore belongs to the field, not of ideology, but of moral theology.

It has no models to present, since models that are real and effective can only arise within the framework of different historical situations, through the efforts of all those who responsibly confront concrete problems in their social, political and cultural aspects, as these interact with each other. For such a task the Church offers her social teaching as an indispensable and ideal orientation towards the common good.

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