Introduction to Catholic Social Teachings
What is Catholic Social Teaching?
• refers to the teachings of the Church on social justice issues • it promotes a vision of a just society
• It is grounded in the Bible and in the wisdom gathered from experience by the Christian community as it has responded to social justice issues throughout history. Three Elements of Catholic Social Teaching
• Principles for Reflection
• Criteria for Judgment
• Guidelines for Action
The Principles for Reflection
• apply across many different times and places, but the guidelines for action can change for different societies or times • Uniform guidelines for action wouldn’t work because societies are so different from one another, and they are always changing over time creating new situations with different problems and possibilities. The Criteria for Judgment
• may be thought of as “middle axiom” mediating between the highly authoritative principles for reflection and the details of the concrete social reality Guidelines for Action
• are always dependant on contingent judgments and the information available through human knowledge. • There are legitimate differences of opinion among believers on a range of social justice issues. Methodology: See-Judge-Act
• Since Vatican II, the methodology that has been promoted asks us to read the ‘signs of times’ using the “See-Judge-Act Method” that Cardjin made popular in workers’ and students’ movements. • It asks us to work inductively, looking first at the social justice issues as they exist in our communities, before assessing what is happening and what is at stake. Finally, we need to discern what action to undertake in response. • It is a simple method which helps us to stop, stand back from a situation and reflect on it before we jump in and take action. The process helps us to develop critical judgment about situations, events and structures. Often, the 3...
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