Religions are meant to improve the lives of the people of the society. They provide a guideline to live peacefully in the society. The Catholic Social thought is such an example. The principles of the Catholic Social thought advances the human beings and the society promoting humanity, respect, equality and peace in the society. The principle of Catholic social thought focus on the society but it does not forget the individual. The Catholic principles promote common good as opposed to the individual capitalist endeavours. It distinguishing between the self and the community but community and common good has greater significance than individual or self. However, it does recognize the significance of individuals and their virtues to build a community with better facilities and understanding. The paper discusses four Catholic Social principles, the dignity of the human person, the common good, the preferential option for the poor and the promotion of the peace to illustrate that the principles of CST promote peace, prosperity and unity in the society.
The dignity of human person principle states human beings have value regardless of the social or economic status. They are important because they are human beings and they do not require anything else to be respected. The person is worthy intrinsically and it is must not be treated as means to achieve something else. The human must not be disrespected. They have the dignity which must not be taken from them and it applies to every human being. Therefore, any act that disrespects a human person is immoral. For instance, slavery or abortion is wrong because they take away the dignity and life of the person. Abortion treats a human life as unworthy and as a mean to achieve personal benefits. But the Catholic principles do not agree with such a treatment of the human person. It emphasizes that every human person has its intrinsic value regardless of reasons or external factors. Therefore, the Catholic principle promotes and advances human dignity. It discourages any or every act of violation of human rights or disrespect and mistreatment. As the person lives in the society with other people, the human dignity established in reference to the society. The dignity of the person becomes communal as people cannot live in isolation. Moreover, it follows the principle of Ubuntu to recognize and respect the duties and responsibilities. The society supports the individual and the individual supports the society. There is no other way of living in a society for a human being. It advocates for respecting everyone in the society where the individual lives. Although the principle focuses on the inalienable rights of every human person, they also focus on the community. As the person lives in the community, the person must live with some responsibilities and duties for the community to be peaceful and grow. The individual flourishes and then helps the society to flourish. The individual advancement promotes society’s advancement at the community, national and global levels leading to order, peace and harmony.
The second principle is the principle of common good. As a human being is a social being a person cannot live alone in the society. Therefore, the person has to live with others and living in the society they must focus on the common good. They must contribute to growing the society as a whole. The principle focuses on the common good of everyone in the society regardless of the social, economic, political, and religious status. The principle is crucial for building equality and harmony in the society. Consequently, the principle encourages all the individuals to contribute to advance the society and the common good. Individuals must work for the common good that benefits everyone in the society. For example, contributing to building public gym can be considered a common good. As it serves everyone in the society, it establishes the common good. Similarly, a public park can be another example of a common good that assists everyone and contributes to the wellbeing of everyone instead of serving a single group. Therefore, the common good is essential Catholic social thought that focuses on the well-being of everyone in the society. It discourages disparities and individual endeavours. If an act by an individual does not advance the betterment of everyone in the society that action must not be promoted. The individual advancement is only praiseworthy if it advances the society and the common good. An individual lives in the society, the person must contribute to advance the society and benefit from the society. The individual and society are essential for each other and they cannot exist without one so must contribute to flourishing each other.
The third principle of Catholic Social thought is the preferential option for the poor. The preferential option for the poor is the principle that focuses on the poor people. It argues the poor in the society must be treated differently so that their social, economic and political status would change. The marginalized groups or the minorities in the society must be given importance and they must be helped to assist them in changing their lives. The vulnerable groups must be given the voice and proper rights to advance their conditions and have better lives in the society. The Catholic social thought discourages discrimination and focuses on just and equal society due to which they work for the improvement of the lives of poor people. It is the recognition of the detrimental impacts of the poverty on the society and the groups that the CST focuses on treating them preferentially improving their conditions and to bring them out of the poverty. Otherwise, the evils of poverty will affect them for generations. The society will treat them unjustly and they will be left out of education, healthcare and political and social participation. The poor people in the society present a negative image of the society. They also negatively reflect on the ethics and virtues of human beings. Therefore, the society must work to improve the conditions of the poor as virtuous and rational human beings. The injustices must be recognized and abolished from the society for the society to function properly.
The last principle is the promotion of peace. Peace is essential for every society to flourish. The lack of peace and harmony negatively impacts on the society’s growth and well-being as well as the well-being of individuals. Peace is necessary for the humanity and to maintain the human dignity. It is necessary to advance common good and elevation of poverty and building of just and equal society without peace all aspects of individual and societal life is affected. Therefore, CST promotes peace to achieve the ultimate goal of just society where the common good is the priority. And every individual must contribute to it. They must contribute to the promotion of peace by building virtues of tolerance and acceptance in the self and helping others in the society to promote peace as well.
To conclude the Catholic Social thought focuses on the promotion of a society which is peaceful and equal. The principles of CST try to minimize the selfishness in humans by advancing the common good, human dignity, abolishing poverty and promoting peace.