The work of Catholic Charities is an active expression of our faith. It is our
hope that by sharing some of the basic principles of Catholic social teaching,
that friends and colleagues will gain a greater understanding of what drives us
and will be inspired and strengthened in their own work as well.
Life and Dignity of the Human Person
"In the Catholic social vision, the human person is central, the clearest
reflection of God among us.…The test of every institution or policy is
whether it enhances or threatens human life and human dignity. We
believe people are more important than things."
Call to Family, Community, and Participation
"The human person is not only sacred, but social. We realize our dignity
and rights in relationship with others, in community.…We also have the
right and responsibility to participate in and contribute to the broader
communities in society.…"
Rights and Responsibilities of the Human Person
"People have a fundamental right to life and those things that make life
truly human: food, clothing, housing, health care, education, security,
social services, and employment. Corresponding to these rights are
duties and responsibilities - to one another, to our families, and to the
Option for and with the Poor and Vulnerable
"A basic moral test of a society is how its most vulnerable members are
faring…As Christians, we are called to respond to the needs of all our
sisters and brothers, but those with the greatest needs require the
The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
"Work is more than a way to make a living; it is an expression of our
dignity and a form of continuing participation in God's creation. People
have the right to decent and productive work, to decent and fair wages,
to private property and economic initiative."
"We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic,
economic, and ideological differences.…Violent conflict and the denial
of dignity and rights to people anywhere on the globe diminish each
Care for God's Creation
"Our efforts to….serve the poor and vulnerable must be accompanied
by concrete efforts to address the causes of human suffering and
injustice.…We are called to transform our hearts and our social
structures, to renew the face of the earth…."
The text was taken from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Principles, Prophecy, and a Pastoral Response, publication no. 5-433. For more information call 800-235-8722.