CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING
Siena College’s Catholic Tradition guides all our programming in the Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy by means of its tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
The tradition of Catholic Social Teaching is a treasure trove of insight and wisdom for the building of a just society and a peaceful world. The seven principles listed below are a summary of its major themes.
Students can study the richness of the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching at greater depth by enrolling in “RELG 265: Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching.”
DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON
All women and men are created in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, every person is sacred, from the moment of conception until natural death. This is the foundational principle of Catholic Social Teaching and the basis of its belief that human dignity is both the bedrock of a just society and the cornerstone of a peaceful world. Every human institution is measured by the yardstick of human dignity.
CALL TO COMMUNITY
People are not islands unto themselves. By our very nature, we are social. How we organize our relationships – in economics and politics, in law and public policy – directly affects human dignity and our capacity to grow in community. All people, therefore, have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.
RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Human dignity can be protected and a just and peaceful society achieved only if human rights are protected. Corresponding to these rights are the duties and responsibilities we owe one another, to our families, and to the wider world.
OPTION FOR THE POOR AND VULNERABLE
A basic moral and ethical test for every society is how well its poorest and most vulnerable members are faring. In a society marked by deepening divisions between “haves” and “have-nots,” it is our responsibility to ensure that we give priority to the needs of the least of our sisters and brothers.
DIGNITY OF WORK AND OF WORKERS
Work is more than a matter of making a living. It is a way we care for one another’s needs and help to build a more just and peaceful world. Work has dignity, and this dignity must be protected, together with the dignity and rights of workers – to just wages, the organization of unions, private property, and self-initiative.
We are all children of God. Therefore, we are more than neighbors in our global village. We are all sisters and brothers to one another, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, or ideological differences, whose love for one another must show forth in our common work of promoting peace in a world torn by conflict and division.
CARE FOR CREATION
Care for the earth is not simply an Earth Day slogan. It is a requirement of Catholic faith. We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored.