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Catholic Social Teaching

“It is important for the whole Church that the welcome of the poor and the promotion of justice are not entrusted to ‘specialists’, but that they are the focus of attention of all the pastoral work, of formation of future priests and other religious, of the normal commitment of all parishes, movements and ecclesial groups.”

Pope Francis, at the Centro Astalli Refugee Centre, Rome, 12 September 2013.

Catholic Social Teaching draws on Scripture, tradition, reason and experience to address issues of social, economic and ecological justice. It provides principles for reflection, criteria for judgement and guidelines for action that help us to build up the Reign of God in the world. These teachings develop in dialogue with the people, places and events of history as the Church discerns and responds to the signs of the times.

In the modern period, this teaching is often communicated through encyclicals issued by Popes and Pastoral Letters by Bishops or groups of Bishops. Hence the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference teaches about social, economic and ecological issues in communion with the Pope. Their teachings address the Australian context more specifically and concretely than the international teachings could hope to do. For example the Social Justice Statements available on this website show how the Australian Bishops have responded to homelessness and economic exclusion in Australia, the need for just relationships with First Nations’ people and communities, and our country’s response to asylum seekers, refugees and migrants.

You can read a general introduction to Catholic Social Teaching by Office for Social Justice staff member Dr Sandie Cornish here.

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