Catholic Social Teaching (CST) is an essential part of a Catholic’s faith with its roots being in the teachings of the Hebrew prophets who announced God’s love for the poor. CST concerns human dignity and the common good of society based on Catholic doctrine. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Catholic social teaching emerges from the truth of what God has revealed to us about himself. We believe in the triune God whose very nature is communal and social.”
CST is best explained in seven principals. The first is the life and dignity of the human person, as the Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that human dignity is the foundation of our moral compass. The second is the call to family, community, and participation. Humans are social creatures and we have a duty to participate in society while seeking the common good. Third is rights and responsibilities. In order to create a healthy community, human rights must be respected and responsibilities must be met. Fourth, we need to put those who have less (the poor and the vulnerable) before ourselves. Fifth is the dignity of work and the rights of workers. The economy must serve people and we must continue to serve God’s creation. Sixth is solidarity, we are one human family and we must stand together regardless of our differences. The seventh and last principal is to care for God’s creation. We are all called to be stewards of God’s creation, it is a requirement of our faith.
In light of the coronavirus global pandemic, the Ignatian Solidarity Network has created a project called Education for Justice. They have created resources to respond to these times. Catholics, and the wider Christian community, are now called even more to care for the vulnerable and COVID-19. During this time, we have been encouraged to practice “social-distancing”, which is what is best for the common good. However, the theme “Option for the Poor and Vulnerable” reminds us that those suffering from COVID-19 fall into that category. We must always be advocates for people who have been marginalized in society, people who are seen as “lepers”. The people who are suffering the most from the coronavirus are the most vulnerable, and our faith calls us to care for those who are in most need. We are called to donate to organizations that are actively assisting those who are fighting this virus. We are called to support our neighbors during this pandemic, by learning what their struggles are. If you live near anyone who is immunocompromised take the time to check in on them and ask if they need anything.
Overall, as Christians we are called to pray during this time. Pope Francis has called us to pray for those suffering from the coronavirus, as well as the doctors and first responders working to keep those same people alive.