Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. This is why Christ the Redeemer fully reveals man to himself...
In this dimension man finds again the greatness, dignity and value that belong to his humanity.
In the mystery of the Redemption man becomes newly "expressed" and, in a way, is newly created. He is newly created! "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus"*. The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly-and not just in accordance with immediate, partial, often superficial, and even illusory standards and measures of his being-he must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into him with all his own self, he must "appropriate" and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself. If this profound process takes place within him, he then bears fruit not only of adoration of God but also of deep wonder at himself. How precious must man be in the eyes of the Creator, if he "gained so great a Redeemer"*, and if God "gave his only Son "in order that man "should not perish but have eternal life"*.
Over the past 150 years, Christians have applied themselves to developing and releasing a rich heritage of information derived from studies blended with experience over the decades through evolutions of persons, societies and cultures, including wars, shifts and development booms. This body of knowledge is now called Catholic Social Doctrine.
Each tenet of social doctrine is founded upon the core anthropological view of the human person as made 'imago Dei' - in God's own Divine Image - and, although fallen through sin, is redeemed by God's own Son, Jesus Christ, through his Incarnation, Death, Resurrection from the dead and subsequent Glory in heaven, from where He has imparted to humanity His Holy Spirit and ushered in a revolution of Love intended to restore each human person to wholeness, draw each heart close to His, and lead us into the establishment of His Kingdom here on earth.
It is imperative that any conversation about the social doctrine of the Catholic church only take place with this basic view of the human person: Divine, dignified and destined for greatness.
We believe that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. This belief is the foundation of all the humanist principles.
We believe that every person is precious , that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.
The person is not only sacred, but also social. How we organize society - in economics and politics, in law and policy, in education and business, in lifestyle itself - directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community.
Human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities - to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.
The moral test of any society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. The poor have the most urgent moral claim on the conscience of the nation. We are called to look at social decisions in terms of how they affect the poor. This preferential option for the poor and vulnerable includes all who are marginalized in society, including unborn children, persons with disabilities, the elderly and terminally ill, and victims of injustice and oppression.
The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living: it is a form of continuing participation in God's creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected - the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.
We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic and ideological differences. We are our brothers' and sisters' keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace.
Subsidiarity is a manifestation of human freedom, and is the principle by which authority figures acknowledge the rights of all members in society. The principle of subsidiarity states that larger institutions and government should not interfere with the legitimate decision-making of smaller or lower-level organizations, and that matters should be solved at the most local possible level.
We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is not just an earth day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all God's creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that we challenge humanity to live by.