The Principles Of Catholic Social Teaching

CST church language
The principles of CST.
  1. HUMAN DIGNITY: Human beings are intrinsically valuable regardless of status, age, gender, health, ability appearance or other variables. Our dignity includes our personal responsibility for our decisions and actions.


  1. RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE: The protection of human life is of primary concern regardless of status, etc.


  1. ASSOCIATION: People have the right to gather in groups with no restrictions imposed on them because of their interests, orientation or differences in political views.


  1. PARTICIPATION: People have the right and duty to play an active part in society and to be involved in the way that society is organised.


  1. PREFERENTIAL PROTECTION FOR THE POOR AND VULNERABLE: The least powerful members of society have to be protected but this is not just a matter of charity, of us ‘doing good’ to them. The principle is one of empathy, compassion, fellow-feeling and mutuality. It is the ‘gut wrench’ that moved Jesus in the Gospel when he met poverty and oppression face to face.  Everyone is included; no one is left behind. The rich need the poor as much as the poor need the rich.  The poor/weak help the rich/strong to recognise their own humanity.


  1. SOLIDARITY: We are all in this together as the human family with a duty to care for each other, in a real ‘my-life-depends-on-you’ sort of way. (The Polish workers’ movement Solidarnosc was named after this principle.)


  1. STEWARDSHIP: Human beings have the ability to be reflective and have a duty to look after the world rather than to abuse it.


  1. SUBSIDIARITY: Decisions should be taken at the level at which they have impact. People have the right to be involved in decisions which affect them. Those in power have a duty to let this happen. As the Scots say: “Nothing about us without us is for us”


  1. HUMAN EQUALITY: All people are of equal worth. Value is not a price tag, with some people worth more than others.


  1. THE COMMON GOOD: The world is to be organised for the benefit of everyone not just for the rich and powerful.
CST everyday language
The same CST diagram, but in everyday language.