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Catholic Social Teaching

Catholic Social Teaching Overview


Catholic Social Teachings are universal teachings regarding all of creation’s calling to live in relationship.  While these teachings are promoted by the Catholic Church, we believe that they are applicable to people of any and all faith traditions.  Typically these social teachings are laid out in principles so that they can be better understood, similar to the Ten Commandments, eight beatitudes, seven sacraments, etc.  Depending on the source these teachings can include anywhere from six to ten different (but similar and related) principles.  These principles, “once internalized, lead to something.  They prompt activity, impel motion and direct choices” (Byron 1).  Catholic Social Teaching calls us to learn, reflect upon and internalize these principles so we may act on them in every decision of our daily lives.  Here at the Farm we focus on six principles: Human Dignity, Common Good and Participation, Preferential Option for the Poor and Vulnerable, Stewardship for God’s Creation, Subsidiarity, and Solidarity.  Below is some information on what each of these principles entail and calls us to.


Human Dignity

·         Each of us is created equal, and therefore deserves an equal amount of respect

·         We don’t have to earn dignity and we can’t lose dignity.  It is inherent in us because we are human and God created us all to be equal.

·         We see people as people not simply as objects.

·         We treat all individuals with respect.  We respect their opinions and contributions, everyone has something to offer.  We overcome prejudgments and stereotypes with that respect.

·         We work with people, not for them.  We’re not here to “change” their lives or their situations.

·         We promote a faith that is inclusive.


Common Good and Participation

·         We have a right and an obligation to participate.

·         Because we’re all created equally, we all have something to contribute but at the same time must realize the dignity of others and encourage them to grow.

·         In community with others, when we are giving and taking, is where we realize our full humanity.

·         We look for ways to expand our comfort zones.

·         We seek to build community and engage those around us in that community rather than seclude ourselves or seclude our communities.

·         Acknowledge the fact that we are not capable of everything and therefore need the help and support of others.


Preferential Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

·         All policy decisions, and decisions in our own lives, are made with the needs of the people who are underprivileged in mind first.

·         We are all inherently equal, but we have not all been treated equally.

·         Preferential Option for the Poor shows concern whose dignity has not been upheld.

·         We have to judge our own needs against our own wants and put others needs before our own desires.


Stewardship for God’s Creation

·         We take care of what has been entrusted to us.  (example: animals, tools, the Farm, materials)

·         Nothing is actually ours but Gods and has been entrusted to us.  Therefore we are stewards of all of creation.

·         “Dominion” calls us to live in harmony, not in control.

·         We do not waste: napkins, food materials, water, gas.

·         We try to be conscious of taking, buying, and using what we need, not necessarily what we want.



·         Local is better. The further you get away from the roots of something, the less able you are to meet the needs that were initially meant to be addressed.

·         Because we’re social beings, we need to work together to solve problems rather than looking to larger and higher organizations to solve problems for us.

·         We seek to build relationships rather than sacrifice relationships for objects/ work.

·         We serve as advocates for the needs of the people around us.

·         We continually work to give our business to small and locally owned businesses

·         When we can’t support local organizations, we support organizations that have and promote just business practices, e.g. No Sweat Apparel, Fair Trade coffee.



·         We are all responsible for one another.

·         We stand with one another not because of some obligation or hope for personal gain, but because we fully believe that we are all interconnected.

·         We work to understand one another and each other’s opinions/ viewpoints.

·         We try to become more aware of our interconnectedness by eliminating distractions (like TV, radio/music, watches).

·         Be an advocate for other people so that they are empowered as well.

·         We work with and not for our local community.


These principles call us to action.  They are a calling to respond to God’s creation which includes all of humanity.  Check the following sources for more information about Catholic Social Teaching:


United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  “Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions.”  23 Sept 2009.


William J. Byron. “Ten Building Blocks to Catholic Social Teaching.” 23 Sept 2009.  America Press.  31 Oct 1998.



If you have questions or comments, contact: nazarethfarm@gmail.com.
Copyright © 2010 Nazareth Farm, Inc.
Last modified: 05/03/11