CATHOLIC CIVICS: Good Government 101
Through its social teachings, the Church has provided guidance for the building of just societies in a very wide variety of forms, suitable for a wide variety of cultural, historical, and geographical contexts. Forms of governance, economic structures, international relations, and mechanisms for enabling and empowering each individual to have a voice and to seek truth and God in their own way are all addressed, so that wherever and whenever we find ourselves, we are not left to grope or wander in the dark.
A primary goal of Catholic Conscience is to bring the values of the Gospel, as reflected in Catholic social teachings, into the center of social discourse. We present seminars and workshops, and publish podcasts, videos, and notes on a variety of topics intended to stimulate discussion and to guide voters and other civic participants in making tough choices. Take a look: if you don’t see what you’re looking for, or have questions, let us know. We are here to help.
The social doctrine of the Church is informed by the Gospels and by tradition, which provide virtues that apply to social as well as personal actions. These virtues include:
- Good Stewardship
- The Beatitudes of the Politician
Prudence enables discernment of the true good in every circumstance, and selection of the right means for achieving it. “We can identify three distinct moments as prudence is exercised:
- to clarify and evaluate situations
- to inspire decisions, and
- to prompt action.
The first moment is seen in the reflection and consultation by which the question is studied and the necessary opinions sought. The second moment is that of evaluation, as the reality is analyzed and judged in the light of God's plan. The third moment, that of decision, is based on the preceding steps and makes it possible to choose between the different actions that may be taken.” Compendium, 547
|Prudence makes it possible to make decisions that are consistent, and to make them with realism and a sense of responsibility for the consequences of one's action. The rather widespread opinion that equates prudence with shrewdness, with utilitarian calculations, with diffidence or with timidity or indecision, is far from the correct understanding of this virtue. It is a characteristic of practical reason and offers assistance in deciding with wisdom and courage the course of action that should be followed, becoming the measure of the other virtues.
Prudence affirms the good as a duty and shows in what manner the person should accomplish it. In the final analysis, it is a virtue that requires the mature exercise of thought and responsibility in an objective understanding of a specific situation and in making decisions according to a correct will.
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 198
St. Thomas Aquinas defines humility as “consisting in keeping oneself within one's own bounds, not reaching out to things above one, but submitting to one's superior." Summa Contra Gent., bk. IV, ch. Lv.
In his message for the 52nd World Day of Peace on January 1, 2019, Pope Francis noted that “Jesus tells us that, ‘if anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all’ (Mk 9:35). In the words of Pope Paul VI, ‘to take politics seriously at its different levels – local, regional, national and worldwide – is to affirm the duty of each individual to acknowledge the reality and value of the freedom offered him to work at one and the same time for the good of the city, the nation and all mankind’.”
“Is it not simply human wisdom, the fruit of knowledge and experience? The wisdom the Holy Spirit grants is the grace of being able to see things through God’s eyes. It is seeing the world, situations, problems, everything, with the eyes of God. And obviously this derives from intimacy with God, from the relationship of a son with his Father. When we are in communion with the Lord, it is through the Holy Spirit that our heart transforms and we are able to perceive all its warmth and predilection...
The heart of the man who is wise in this way has the taste, the flavor of God. We have the Holy Spirit inside us, in our heart; we can listen to it, or we can choose not to listen to it. If we listen to the Holy Spirit, He will teach us this way of wisdom, and will give us the wisdom to see through God’s eyes, to hear with God’s ears, to love with the heart of God, to judge with God’s judgment. This is the wisdom that the Holy Spirit gives us, and all of us can have this.”
-- Pope Francis, General audience, April 9, 2014
|Christ reveals to human authority, always tempted by the desire to dominate, its authentic and complete meaning as service. God is the one Father, and Christ the one Teacher, of all mankind, and all people are brothers and sisters. Sovereignty belongs to God. The Lord, however, “has not willed to reserve to himself all exercise of power. He entrusts to every creature the functions it is capable of performing, according to the capacities of its own nature. This mode of governance ought to be followed in social life.
“The way God acts in governing the world, which bears witness to such great regard for human freedom, should inspire the wisdom of those who govern human communities. They should behave as ministers of divine providence.”
In Chapter 25 of the Gospel of Matthew, Christ explained to us that God, the creator, is still the owner of all creation, including ourselves. We are simply stewards of all these things, meant to use them for God’s purposes. This includes each of the gifts God has given us in common, as well as the various levels of intelligence, ability, health, longevity, and wealth that have been entrusted to us individually. We are meant to use all of these gifts for God’s purposes.
In Chapter 22 of the Gospel of Matthew, Christ taught us that God’s expectations are that we will each love God with all our heart, all our mind, and all our soul; and that we will do that best by caring after one another, and enabling each other to put our gifts to work for God.
Finally, in Chapter 25 of Matthew, Christ sternly warned us that we will be judged, as nations, on the basis of the care that we have offered to one another.
Both individually and socially, human beings have a deep duty of proper stewardship.
|The Bible teaches us that responsibility is inseparable from stewardship. We ultimately will be held accountable for the way in which we use what God gives us. In Luke 12:41-48, Our Lord reminds us that we are like stewards who are placed in charge of the household while the Master is away. "Who, then, is the wise and trustworthy steward whom the master will place over his household to give them at the proper time their allowance of food? Blessed is that servant if his master's arrival finds him doing just that." But if the servant abuses his master's trust, saying "My master is taking his time coming" and sets about beating the men-servants and the servant-girls,
and eating and drinking and getting drunk, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know."
- Archbishop Thomas Cardinal Collins, Well Done Good & Faithful Servant
|The Beatitudes of the Politician|
In his message for the 52nd World Day of Peace on January 1, 2019, Pope Francis recalled us to the Beatitudes of the Politician proposed by Vietnamese Cardinal Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyễn Vãn Thuận:
- Blessed be the politician with a lofty sense and deep understanding of his role.
- Blessed be the politician who personally exemplifies credibility.
- Blessed be the politician who works for the common good and not his or her own interest.
- Blessed be the politician who remains consistent.
- Blessed be the politician who works for unity.
- Blessed be the politician who works to accomplish radical change.
- Blessed be the politician who is capable of listening.
- Blessed be the politician who is without fear.
In Chapter 25 of the Gospel of Matthew, Christ taught us that we are meant to spend our time and all our strength on earth doing the work of the Lord; and that in the end we will be judged not only as individuals, but as nations, on the basis of how well we showed love and concern for those around us. Matthew 25:14-46.
|A scholar of the law tested him by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
This means that we must not only seek salvation for ourselves, through fervent prayer in devotion, that we must also participate as members of society, giving ourselves for the care of others.
|The Catechism of the Catholic Church
1913 It is necessary that all participate, each according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This obligation is inherent in the dignity of the human person.
1914 Participation is achieved first of all by taking charge of the areas for which one assumes personal responsibility: by the care taken for the education of his family, by conscientious work, and so forth, man participates in the good of others and of society.
1915 As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life. The manner of this participation may vary from one country or culture to another. "One must pay tribute to those nations whose systems permit the largest possible number of the citizens to take part in public life in a climate of genuine freedom."
Note that we are each of us called to promote the common good according to our positions and roles in life. Living in a democracy, as we do, this means that we must consider acting in multiple ways, through multiple roles.
At a minimum, we must vote. We will only have governments that reflect the values we feel they should reflect to the extent that we meaningfully participate in voting. This means that we must inform ourselves concerning the social teachings of the Church and concerning the relevant issues; must consider the positions and statements of the various candidates and their parties; prayerfully discern the vote that will be most pleasing to God, and then vote.
But that is only the minimum. Many of us are capable of more. We can, for example, and in accordance with our positions and roles in life:
- Speak with those around us – always respectfully, and always from a place of humility –about the issues, the candidates, and appropriate social behavior. And we must remember that the first and last step in any speaking exercise is to listen to those around us. The teachings of the Church are such that on very many issues it is possible to have differing points of view, each of them being in accordance with Church teachings.
- Stay in touch with those we have elected, and those who seek to be candidates – always respectfully, and always from a place of humility, and always thankfully – about the good things they have done, about ythe things they have given up in order to serve others, and, when necessary, about any of their positions that we find challenging. We can write to them, e-mail them, call them, and we can pray for them.
And we can get involved. For example, we can:
- Volunteer to help campaigns
- We can put our names forward as candidates for elections, or for appointed office
- We can join organizations that promote any aspects of the common good: respect for life, respect for the environment, care for the marginalized, care for wildlife, educational institutions, visits to the homebound, the elderly, and the bed-bound
We can also participate by ‘voting’ in the democracies of the economy and the internet.
- We can carefully consider each and every purchase we make. For example, do we really need to go to the big-box discount store, or the big clearinghouse website, to get the absolute bottom price available? Sometimes practices like that put others out of work, or out of business. Instead, can we consider the sources of the things we buy – the manufacturers, retailers, and middlepersons – to maximize just returns for producers, and dignified incomes for all those in between? The more we do so, the better effect we may have on the economy.
- We can carefully consider each keystroke we make while browsing the internet. Every choice we make on the web is a ‘vote’ for various types of content. If we pick the salacious stories, with the racy photos of movie stars, we are encouraging that sort of content. If instead we select responsible news sources, and responsible social media platforms, then we are encouraging those platforms.
|“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Matthew 6:19-21
“The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.”
At this point in history, it is especially important for us, as Catholics, to be involved politically:
- The world is shrinking, thanks to electronic communications and the ease of travel
- Many cultures are coming together
- Forces of greed are ridiculing all religions; might – in the form of economic power – is being accepted as right.
- Its time for us to step back and reflect on the major organs of society
- Cultural institutions
- It’s not good for any one to have too much power – we need balance, or one way or another, dictators will arise. We have an unholy alliance between Government and Business, where parties, candidates, and ideology are fueled by direct or indirect corporate contributions
THE NEW TESTAMENT PROVIDES A GREAT STARTING TEXT. The Church does not have all of the answers, but it knows what questions to ask. It’s up to us, as Catholic citizens, to influence society by acting gently and humbly at home, office, and in public, to bring Gospel values to the center of social discourse.
Seven Themes of Social Justice
Over the years many voices within the Church have proposed listings of "themes" of social justice, usually in order to provide a logical framework for organizing thought and to facilitate discussion of social issues. Such listings can be useful in analyses: the broad range of issues faced by society can be sorted thematically, and considered in accordance with the permanent principles, fundamental values, and virtues described above: the principles of the sanctity of life, the common good, solidarity, and subsidiarity, and the values of truth, freedom, justice and chartitable love, often in light of the virtues of humilty and respect as disussed above.
While such listings tend to look very similar to one another, they vary according to the purposes of their authors and the needs of their audiences. Our listing has been distilled from analyses of party platforms in multiple countries, in order to facilitate the contemplation of issues facing contemporary voters. It is always in a state of evolution.
Abortion, Euthanasia & Alternatives | Human Engineering | Population Control
The Sanctity of Life
Catholics care about the sanctity of life because the entire purpose of each soul God endows with life is to find its way back to God by loving God and caring for all the souls God has placed around it. Voluntary termination of life any time between conception and natural death necessarily frustrates that purpose.
The source of human dignity is the likeness to God that is bestowed on each of us at the moment we are conceived. We respond appropriately to this gift by using all the time, talent, and treasure that God has entrusted to us to seek and grow closer to God, by sharing in His continuing act of creation and caring for those around us. Our first purpose is to seek God, especially in one another. If we do that, everything else will be given to us. Anything that interferes with that is contrary to the Word of God. Genesis chapter 1; Matthew chapters 6, 22 & 25
Abortion & Euthanasia
“You shall not kill.”
– the 5th Commandment
The right to life from conception to natural death is the foundation of all Catholic Social Teaching, and in particular, implies the illicitness of every form of procured abortion and of euthanasia. – 155, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
“This is not something subject to alleged reforms or ‘modernizations.’ It is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life.”
Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 214
Cloning and Cell Manipulation
An issue of particular social and cultural significance today, because of its many and serious moral implications, is human cloning… the simple replication of normal cells or of a portion of DNA presents no particular ethical problem. Very different, however, is cloning understood in the proper sense. Such cloning is contrary to the dignity of human procreation because it takes place in total absence of an act of personal love between spouses, being agamic and asexual reproduction. In the second place, this type of reproduction represents a form of total domination over the reproduced individual on the part of the one reproducing it…
Cloning for therapeutic use does not attenuate its moral gravity, because in order that such cells may be removed the embryo must first be created and then destroyed. 236, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral and spiritual difference and complementarities are oriented towards the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. -224 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Men and women with homosexual tendencies must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. – 358 Catechism of the Catholic Church
Population Growth; Birth Control; Family Planning
Judgment concerning the interval of time between births, and that regarding the number of children, belongs to the spouses alone. This is one of their inalienable rights, to be exercised before God… The intervention of public authorities must be made in a way that fully respects the freedom of the couple. All programmes of economic assistance aimed at financing campaigns of sterilization and contraception are to be morally condemned as affronts to the dignity of the person and the family.
The answer to questions connected with population growth must instead by sought in simultaneous respect both of sexual morals and of social ethics, promoting greater justice and authentic solidarity so that dignity is given to life in all circumstances.
All reproductive techniques — such as the donation of sperm or ova, surrogate motherhood, heterologous artificial fertilization — that make use of the uterus of another woman or of gametes of persons other than the married couple, injuring the right of the child to be born of one father and one mother who are father and mother are ethically unacceptable both from a biological and from a legal point of view. – 234-235, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Climate Change | Species, Diversity & Wildlife | Energy & Resources | Conservation & Sustainable Development
God gave humans dominion over the earth, thereby making us stewards of creation as we work with Him in His continuing act of creation.
We must constantly consider how our actions glorify or harm this wonderous gift God has entrusted to us. This is a multi-faceted question, which must not be over-simplified.
With a vocation to glorify all life which includes respect for the inviolability and integrity of life, humans find themselves in the presence of all God’s other creatures. We can and are obliged to put them at our own service and to enjoy them, but our dominion over the world requires the exercise of responsibility. It is not a freedom of arbitrary and selfish exploitation. All of creation has value and is “good” in the sight of God. This is a marvelous challenge to human intellect. – 112, 113, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue:
it is not an optional or secondary aspect of our Christian experience.
-23, 217, Laudato Si’
The Book of Genesis provides us with certain foundations of Christian anthropology, including the meaning of human activity in the world, which is linked to the discovery and respect of the laws of nature that God has inscribed in the created universe, so that humanity may live in it and care for it in accordance with God’s will. – 37, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
There is urgency to this issue. Every Pope since at least Paul VI has written of our need to shift to a more responsible use of the earth and its abundant resources. The Church accepts that that need is now urgent.
“A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system… Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat… at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it. It is true that there are other factors, yet a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases released mainly as a result of human activity. – Pope Francis, Laudato si’, –23
Energy & Resources
The good steward neither allows the resources entrusted to him to lie fallow or to fail to produce their proper fruit, nor does he waste or destroy them (Matthew 25:14-30). Rather, he uses them responsibly, for the Lord’s purposes, to realize their increase so that he may enjoy his livelihood and provide for the good of his family, his descendants, and his neighbors.
Humanity’s relationship with creation and the creatures of the earth “requires the exercise of responsibility, it is not a freedom of arbitrary and selfish exploitation.” – 115, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
One of the higher priority issues in economics is the utilization of resources, that is, of all those goods and services to which economic subjects — producers and consumers in the private and public spheres — attribute value because of their inherent usefulness in the areas of production and consumption… Resources in nature are quantitatively scarce, which means that each individual economic subject, as well as each individual society, must necessarily come up with a plan for their utilization in the most rational way possible, following the logic dictated by the “principle of economizing.” – 346, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Because of the powerful means of transformation offered by technological civilization, it seems that the balance between man and the environment has reached a critical point… A reductionistic conception quickly spread, starting from the presupposition — which was seen to be erroneous — that an infinite quantity of energy and resources are available, that it is possible to renew them quickly, and that the negative effects of the exploitation of the natural order can be easily absorbed… – 461, 462, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Conservation & Sustainable Development
Care for the environment represents a challenge for all of humanity. It is a matter of a common and universal duty, that of respecting a common good, destined for all, by preventing anyone from using “with impunity the different categories of beings, whether living or inanimate — animals, plants, the natural elements — simply as one wishes, according to one’s own economic needs.”
Responsibility for the environment, the common heritage of mankind, extends not only to present needs but also to those of the future… This is a responsibility that present generations have towards those of the future… A correct understanding of the environment… at the same time…must not absolutize nature and place it above the dignity of the human person himself. In this latter case, one can go so far as to divinize nature or the earth, as can readily be seen in certain ecological movements that seek to gain an internationally guaranteed institutional status for their beliefs. – 346, 461-463, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Species Diversity & Wildlife
Man and woman find themselves also in the presence of all the other creatures. They can and are obliged to put them at their own service and to enjoy them, but their dominion over the world requires the exercise of responsibility, it is not a freedom of arbitrary and selfish exploitation. All of creation has value and is “good” in the sight of God, who is its author. Man must discover and respect its value. This is a marvellous challenge to his intellect, which should lift him up as on wings towards the contemplation of the truth of all God’s creatures, that is, the contemplation of what God sees as good in them. Man must recognize all of God’s creatures for what they are and establish with each of them a relationship of responsibility. – 113, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
“Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God’s infinite wisdom and goodness. Man must respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment.” – 339, Catechism of the Catholic Church
It is a responsibility that must mature on the basis of the global dimension of the present ecological crisis… This perspective takes on a particular importance when one considers, in the context of the close relationships that bind the various parts of the ecosystem, the environmental value of biodiversity, which must be handled with a sense of responsibility and adequately protected… – 466, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Role of the Family | Healthcare | Education & Young Workers | Culture Arts & Tourism
The demands of the common good… are strictly connected to respect for and the integral promotion of the person and his fundamental rights. These demands concern above all the commitment to peace, the organization of the State’s powers, a sound juridical system, the protection of the environment, and the provision of essential services to all, some of which are at the same time human rights: food, housing, work, education and access to culture, transportation… -166, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
The Role & Development of the Family
“Honour your father and mother.”
– the 4th Commandment
The family is the primary unit in society. It is where education begins and the Word of God is first nurtured.
The Church considers the family as the first natural society, with underived rights that are proper to it, and places it at the centre of social life. Relegating the family to a subordinate or secondary role, excluding it from its rightful position in society, would be to inflict grave harm on the authentic growth of society as a whole.
A society built on a family scale is the best guarantee against drifting off course into individualism or collectivism, because within the family the person is always at the centre of attention as an end and never as a means. It is patently clear that the good of persons and the proper functioning of society are closely connected with the healthy state of conjugal and family life. Without families that are strong in their communion and stable in their commitment peoples grow weak.
The priority of the family over society and the State must be affirmed… The family, then, does not exist for society or the State, but society and the State exist for the family.
Every social model that intends to serve the good of man must not overlook the centrality and social responsibility of the family. In their relationship to the family, society and the State are seriously obligated to observe the principle of subsidiarity. In virtue of this principle, public authorities may not take away from the family tasks which it can accomplish well by itself or in free association with other families; on the other hand, these same authorities have the duty to sustain the family, ensuring that it has all the assistance that it needs to fulfil properly its responsibilities. – 209-214, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
The Church teaches that the proper role of government and other human institutions is to foster human life and dignity by maintaining social conditions that enable and encourage us to serve God in one another, and thereby to promote that which is truly in the common interest. This begins with nurturing and enabling families, as well as supporting the elderly and other marginalized members of society.
Among the causes that greatly contribute to underdevelopment and poverty, mention must be made of illiteracy, lack of food security, the absence of structures and services, inadequate measures for guaranteeing basic healthcare, and the lack of safe drinking water and sanitation. -166, 447 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Support for the Elderly
If the elderly are in situations where they experience suffering and dependence, not only do they need health care services and appropriate assistance, but and above all they need to be treated with love. – 222 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
“May Nazareth remind us what the family is, what the communion of love is, its stark and simple beauty, its sacred and inviolable character; may it help us to see how sweet and irreplaceable education in the family is; may it teach us its natural function in the social order. May we finally learn the lesson of work.” – 210 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, citing St Paul VI, Address at Nazareth (5 January 1964)
As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators. Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise. – Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2229
Maintaining employment depends more and more on one’s professional capabilities. Instructional and educational systems must not neglect human or technological formation, which are necessary for gainfully fulfilling one’s responsibilities.
Young people should be taught to act upon their own initiative, to accept the responsibility of facing with adequate competencies the risks connected with a fluid economic context that is often unpredictable in the way it evolves. – 289, 290 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
“[T]here is a growing loss of the sense of history… A kind of “deconstructionism”, whereby human freedom claims to create everything starting from zero, is making headway in today’s culture. The one thing it leaves in its wake is the drive to limitless consumption and expressions of empty individualism. Concern about this led me to offer the young some advice. “If someone tells young people to ignore their history, to reject the experiences of their elders, to look down on the past and to look forward to a future that he himself holds out, doesn’t it then become easy to draw them along so that they only do what he tells them? He needs the young to be shallow, uprooted and distrustful, so that they can trust only in his promises and act according to his plans. That is how various ideologies operate: they destroy (or deconstruct) all differences so that they can reign unopposed. To do so, however, they need young people who have no use for history, who spurn the spiritual and human riches inherited from past generations, and are ignorant of everything that came before them”. – Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti, 13
Culture, Arts & Tourism
Faced with rapid technological and economic progress, and with the equally rapid transformation of the processes of production and consumption, a great deal of educational and cultural work is urgently needed. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 376, 401
Certain economically prosperous countries tend to be proposed as cultural models for less developed countries; instead, each of those countries should be helped to grow in its own distinct way and to develop its capacity for innovation while respecting the values of its proper culture. A shallow and pathetic desire to imitate others leads to copying and consuming in place of creating, and fosters low national self-esteem.
We forget that “there is no worse form of alienation than to feel uprooted, belonging to no one. A land will be fruitful, and its people bear fruit and give birth to the future, only to the extent that it can foster a sense of belonging among its members, create bonds of integration between generations and different communities, and avoid all that makes us insensitive to others and leads to further alienation.” – Fratelli tutti, –51-53
The Human Dignity of Work | Poverty Reduction | Labour, Unions, Employment | Industries & Corporations
The Dignity & Importance of Work
The use of one’s gifts to seek and serve God necessarily includes work, by which humans cooperate with God in God’s continuing act of creation. Work has a place of honour because it is a source of the conditions for a decent life, and is, in principle, an effective instrument against poverty. But one must not succumb to the temptation of making an idol of work, for the ultimate and definitive meaning of life is not to be found in work. Work is essential, but it is God — and not work — who is the origin of life and the final goal of man.
The underlying principle of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. The demand of justice, which stems from it, precedes concerns for profit: “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it” (Prov. 15:16). “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice” (Prov. 16:8). – 257, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
Work is not only an essential part of life, but when we work in accordance with our inner passions – our individual vocations – it is a joy. And it is also an obligation to one’s family, neighbors, and nation. Man must work, both because the Creator has commanded it and in order to respond to the need to maintain and develop his own humanity. We are heirs of the work of generations and at the same time shapers of the future of all who will live after us. – 274, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
But work, and particularly dignified work, is not readily available for all who seek it. Those who are unemployed or underemployed suffer the profound negative consequences that such a situation creates in a personality and they run the risk of being marginalized within society, of becoming victims of social exclusion… –289, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
The poor, the marginalized and in all cases those whose living conditions interfere with their proper growth should be the focus of particular concern. To this end, the preferential option for the poor should be reaffirmed in all its force… Today, this love of preference for the poor, and the decisions which it inspires in us, cannot but embrace the immense multitudes of the hungry, the needy, the homeless, those without health care and, above all, those without hope of a better future.” – 182, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Catholics are called to remember Jesus’ own words: What we do to the least among us, we do to Him. – Matthew 25:31-46
“Helping the poor financially must always be a provisional solution in the face of pressing needs. The broader objective should always be to allow them a dignified life through work”. – Pope Francis, Laudato si’, 128
An Economy to Serve People
I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: ‘Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs…’ Money must serve, not rule! –Pope Francis, Joy of the Gospel, 57-58
The development of economic activity and growth in production are meant to provide for the needs of human beings. Economic life is not meant solely to multiply goods produced and increase profit or power; it is ordered first of all to the service of persons, of the whole man, and of the entire human community. For many people, a living wage and dignified housing are beyond reach. – 2426, Catechism of the Catholic Church
The planning capacity of a society oriented towards the common good and looking to the future is measured… above all on the basis of the employment prospects that it is able to offer. Maintaining employment depends more and more on one’s professional capabilities. Instructional and educational systems must not neglect human or technological formation, which are necessary for gainfully fulfilling one’s responsibilities.
Young people should be taught to act upon their own initiative, to accept the responsibility of facing with adequate competencies the risks connected with a fluid economic context that is often unpredictable in the way it evolves. -271-290, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
Small businesses, trades, and crafts
The decentralization of production, which assigns to smaller companies several tasks previously undertaken by larger production interests, gives vitality and new energy to the area of small and medium-sized businesses. In this way, alongside traditional artisans there emerge new businesses characterized by small production interests at work in modern production sectors or in decentralized activities of larger companies.
Work in small and medium-sized businesses, the work of artisans and independent work can represent an occasion to make the actual work experience more human, both in terms of the possibility of establishing positive personal relationships in smaller-sized communities and in terms of the opportunities for greater initiative and industriousness. In these sectors, however, there are more than just a few cases of unjust treatment, of poorly paid and, above all, uncertain work. – 315, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
Industries, Innovation, & Agriculture
Thanks to technological innovations, the world is being enriched with new professions while others are disappearing. In the present phase of transition there is a continuous movement of workers from the industrial sector to that of services… In particular, there is an increase in…part-time, temporary and “non-traditional” employment… – 313, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
Unions & Workers’ Rights
The demands of competition, technological innovation and the complexities of financial fluxes must be brought into harmony with the defense of workers and their rights. – 313, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
Any form of materialism or economic tenet that tries to reduce the worker to a mere instrument of production, a simple labour force with an exclusively material value, would hopelessly distort the essence of work and strip it of its most noble and basic human quality. 270-271, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Among the rights of workers, the Church recognizes:
– the right to a just wage;
– the right to rest;
– the right “to a working environment and to manufacturing processes which are not harmful to the workers’ physical health or to their moral integrity”;
– the right that one’s personality in the workplace should be safeguarded “without suffering any affront to one’s conscience or personal dignity;
– the right to appropriate subsidies that are necessary for the subsistence of unemployed workers and their families;
– the right to a pension and to insurance for old age, sickness, and in case of work-related accidents;
– the right to social security connected with maternity;
– the right to assemble and form associations.
– 301, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
The Church recognizes the fundamental role played by labour unions… Such organizations, while pursuing their specific purpose with regard to the common good, are a positive influence for social order and solidarity, and are therefore an indispensable element of social life. Work, because of its subjective or personal character, is superior to every other factor connected with productivity; this principle applies, in particular, with regard to capital.
The Church’s social doctrine teaches that relations within the world of work must be marked by cooperation: hatred and attempts to eliminate the other are completely unacceptable. This is also the case because in every social system both “labour” and “capital” represent indispensable components of the process of production.
No Christian, in light of the fact that he belongs to a united and fraternal community, should feel that he has the right not to work and to live at the expense of others (cf. 2 Thes 3:6-12). Rather, all are charged… to make it a point of honour to work with their own hands, so as to be dependent on nobody (1 Thes 4:12), and to practise a solidarity which is also material by sharing the fruits of their labour with “those in need” (Eph 4:28). – 264, 305-307, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
Corporations & Competition, and Consumers
You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
– the 10th Commandment
The individual profit of an economic enterprise, although legitimate, must never become the sole objective. Social utility is an objective of even higher order. When the free market carries out the important functions mentioned above it becomes a service to the common good and to integral human development. When focused on profit alone, however, the market can degenerate into an inhuman and alienating institution, with uncontrollable repercussions.
Freedom in the economic sector… must be regulated by appropriate legal norms so that it will be placed at the service of integral human freedom… A great deal of educational and cultural work is urgently needed, including the education of consumers in the responsible use of their power of choice, the formation of a strong sense of responsibility among producers and among people in the mass media in particular, as well as necessary intervention by public authorities. In order to balance the principle of solidarity with the rights and obligations of the individual, the State’s intervention in the economic environment must be neither invasive nor absent, but commensurate with society’s real needs. “The State has a duty to sustain business activities by creating conditions which will ensure job opportunities, by stimulating those activities where they are lacking or by supporting them in moments of crisis. The State has the further right to intervene when particular monopolies create delays or obstacles to development. -305-307, 351, 376 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
There is a growing loss of the sense of history, which leads to even further breakup. A kind of “deconstructionism”, whereby human freedom claims to create everything starting from zero, is making headway in today’s culture. The one thing it leaves in its wake is the drive to limitless consumption and expressions of empty individualism –12, Fratelli Tutti
Transportation & Infrastructure
The demands of the common good… are strictly connected to respect for and the integral promotion of the person and his fundamental rights. Among other things, these demands concern commitment to the provision of essential services to all, some of which are at the same time human rights: food, housing, work, education and access to culture, transportation… -166, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Civil Rights & Obligations
Each member of society is invested with a certain number of rights. With them come responsibilities.
Each of us, for example, is called to use all the time, talent and resources entrusted to us during our lifetime – including all the circumstances and advantages of our birth(s) – to accomplish the Lord’s work of seeking the truth and leading others to it. Because others very often do not all enjoy the same benefits entrusted to us, a large part of our work for the Lord is to ensure that all within our reach are able to care for themselves and fulfill their own duties to the Lord, within the limits of the capacities entrusted to them. See, for example, Matthew, Chapter 25.
Racism & Discrimination
The unity of the human family is not yet becoming a reality. This is due to obstacles originating in materialistic and nationalistic ideologies that contradict the values of the person integrally considered in all his various dimensions, material and spiritual, individual and community. In particular, any theory or form whatsoever of racism and racial discrimination is morally unacceptable. -433, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Conscience & Religion
The Catholic Church emphasizes, among other rights, the right to religious freedom. Emphasis is given to the paramount value of the right to religious freedom: “all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits”. The respect of this right is an indicative sign of “man’s authentic progress in any regime, in any society, system or milieu.” -320, 321 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
With euthanasia and medically-assisted death and abortion legalized, it is critical that healthcare providers whose deepest moral convictions tell them that such procedures are wrong, not be forced to participate. Catholic teaching says workers should be safeguarded from suffering any affront to conscience or personal dignity.
It is a grave duty of conscience to avoid cooperating, even formally, with practices contrary to the Law of God.
Freedom of Speech: truth, the press & the media
Information is among the principal instruments of democratic participation. Participation without an understanding of the situation of the political community, the facts and the proposed solutions to problems is unthinkable.
It is necessary to guarantee a real pluralism in the dissemination of information, ensuring that there are many forms and instruments of information and communications. Special attention must be given to the phenomenon of the news media being controlled by just a few people or groups. This has dangerous effects for the entire democratic system… The media must be used to build up and sustain the human community in its different sectors: economic, political, cultural, educational and religious. Society has a right to information based on truth, freedom, justice and solidarity. The essential question is whether the current information system is contributing to the betterment of the human person; that is, does it make people more spiritually mature, more aware of the dignity of their humanity, more responsible or more open to others, in particular to the neediest and the weakest.
A further aspect of great importance is that new technologies must respect legitimate cultural differences. In the world of the media the intrinsic difficulties of communications are often exacerbated by ideology, the desire for profit and political control, rivalry and conflicts between groups, and other social evils. Moral values and principles apply also to the media…. 414-416, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
The feminine genius is needed in all expressions in the life of society. The first indispensable step in this direction is the concrete possibility of access to professional formation. The persistence of many forms of discrimination offensive to the dignity and vocation of women is due to a long series of conditioning that penalizes women, who have seen themselves relegated to the margins of society and even reduced to servitude… An urgent need to recognize effectively the rights of women in the workplace is seen especially under the aspects of pay, insurance and social security. –295, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Private property and other forms of private ownership of goods “assure a person a highly necessary sphere for the exercise of his personal and family autonomy and ought to be considered as an extension of human freedom … stimulating exercise of responsibility, it constitutes one of the conditions for civil liberty.” -171, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
The Church’s social doctrine requires that ownership of goods be equally accessible to all, so that all may become, at least in some measure, owners. The world exists for everyone, because all of us were born with the same dignity. Diff1erences of colour, religion, talent, place of birth or residence, and so many others, cannot be used to justify the privileges of some over the rights of all. As a community, we have an obligation to ensure that every person lives with dignity and has sufficient opportunities for his or her integral development. -176, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Not to share our wealth with the poor is to rob them and take away their livelihood. The riches we possess are not our own, but theirs as well… Other rights having to do with the goods necessary for the integral fulfilment of persons, including that of private property or any other type of property, should in no way hinder [this right], but should actively facilitate its implementation. Fratelli tutti, -188-120
The Church also recognizes a number of Human Rights, including “the right to life, an integral part of which is the right of the child to develop in the mother’s womb from the moment of conception; the right to live in a united family and in a moral environment conducive to the growth of the child’s personality; the right to develop one’s intelligence and freedom in seeking and knowing the truth; the right to share in the work which makes wise use of the earth’s material resources, and to derive from that work the means to support oneself and one’s dependents; and the right freely to establish a family, to have and to rear children through the responsible exercise of one’s sexuality. The Church also emphases rights to adequate housing; clean water, and secure, nutritious food; education and access to culture, transportation, basic health care. – 151-166 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
“In human society to one man’s right there corresponds a duty in all other persons: the duty, namely, of acknowledging and respecting the right in question.” “Those, therefore, who claim their own rights, yet altogether forget or neglect to carry out their respective duties, are people who build with one hand and destroy with the other. -156 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Subsidiarity is the principle that each element of society should serve its proper purpose, and support others in serving theirs. One consequence of this principle is that each individual, and smaller groups of people, should be allowed to make for themselves all the decisions that can responsibly be left to them, rather than to larger groups or greater authorities. This is one of the fundamental social teachings of the Church, since it helps to ensure that each individual is empowered to find his or her own way to God.
Families, Individuals, and Civil Society
It is impossible to promote the dignity of the person without showing concern for the family, groups, associations, local territorial realities; in short, for that aggregate of economic, social, cultural, sports-oriented, recreational, professional and political expressions to which people spontaneously give life and which make it possible for them to achieve effective social growth. This is the realm of civil society… This network of relationships strengthens the social fabric and constitutes the basis of a true community of persons, making possible the recognition of higher forms of social activity.
The political community is established to be of service to civil society, from which it originates… This vision is challenged by political ideologies of an individualistic nature and those of a totalitarian character, which tend to absorb civil society into the sphere of the State. The political community and civil society are not equal in the hierarchy of ends. The political community is essentially at the service of civil society and, in the final analysis, the persons and groups of which civil society is composed.
The State must provide an adequate legal framework for social subjects to engage freely in their different activities and it must be ready to intervene, when necessary and with respect for the principle of subsidiarity, so that the interplay between free associations and democratic life may be directed to the common good. -185, 417, 418 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Subsidiary governments: provinces, municipalities, territories, & Aboriginals
The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to various forms of centralization, bureaucratization, and welfare assistance, and to the unjustified and excessive presence of the State in public mechanisms… Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do. -185, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Supporting the Marginalized | Indigenous Peoples | Rural Communities | Refugees & Newcomers
Solidarity is found in a commitment to the good of one’s neighbour. The good of one is the good of all, and the other is as important as the self. Injustice done to another is an injustice that affects everyone. – 193, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Support for the Marginalized and the Vulnerable
Some people are born into economically stable families, receive a fine education, grow up well nourished, or naturally possess great talent. They will certainly not need a proactive state; they need only claim their freedom. Yet the same rule clearly does not apply to a disabled person, to someone born in dire poverty, to those lacking a good education and with little access to adequate health care. If a society is governed primarily by the criteria of market freedom and efficiency, there is no place for such persons, and fraternity will remain just another vague ideal. Pope Francis – Fratelli tutti, 109
So many needy brothers and sisters are waiting for help, so many who are oppressed are waiting for justice, so many who are unemployed are waiting for a job, so many peoples are waiting for respect. How can it be that even today there are still people dying of hunger? Condemned to illiteracy? Lacking the most basic medical care? Without a roof over their head? The scenario of poverty can extend indefinitely, if in addition to its traditional forms we think of its newer patterns. These new patterns often affect financially affluent sectors and groups which are nevertheless threatened by despair at the lack of meaning in their lives, by drug addiction, by fear of abandonment in old age or sickness, by marginalization or social discrimination… –5 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Disabilities, Mental Health & Addictions
Persons with disabilities are fully human subjects, with rights and duties: “in spite of the limitations and sufferings affecting their bodies and faculties, they point up more clearly the dignity and greatness of man.” Persons with disabilities are to be helped to participate in every dimension of family and social life at every level accessible to them and according to their possibilities… They too need to love and to be loved, they need tenderness, closeness and intimacy according to their capacities. – 148, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Indigenous Peoples & Reconciliation
The relationship of Indigenous peoples to their lands and resources deserves particular attention, since it is a fundamental expression of their identity. These peoples offer an example of a life lived in harmony with the environment that they have come to know well and to preserve. Their extraordinary experience, which is an irreplaceable resource for all humanity, runs the risk of being lost together with the environment from which they originate. – 471, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
The Canadian Catholic Church supports the work of the Truth and Reconciliation commission. We are called to support thriving Indigenous communities in Canada, rooted in their unique cultures and traditions.
Northern & Rural Communities
Looking after the common good means making use of the new opportunities for the redistribution of wealth to the benefit of the underprivileged that until now have been excluded or cast to the sidelines of social and economic progress. Too often, social services and infrastructure development suffer from neglect in rural areas. – 299, 300, 363, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
Agricultural labour merits special attention… considering the many problems that need to be met in the context of an ever more globalized economy as well as its growing significance in safeguarding the natural environment. Radical and urgent changes are therefore needed in order to restore to agriculture — and to rural people — their just value as the basis for a healthy economy… – 363, 299 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
Immigrants & Newcomers
Ideally, unnecessary migration ought to be avoided; this entails creating in countries of origin the conditions needed for a dignified life and integral development. Yet until substantial progress is made in achieving this goal, we are obliged to respect the right of all individuals to find a place that meets their basic needs and those of their families, and where they can find personal fulfilment. Our response to the arrival of migrating persons can be summarized by four words: welcome, protect, promote and integrate. – Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti, 129
In the modern world, where there are still grave inequalities between rich countries and poor countries, and where advances in communications quickly reduce distances, the immigration of people looking for a better life is on the increase. These people come from less privileged areas of the earth and their arrival in developed countries is often perceived as a threat to the high levels of well-being achieved thanks to decades of economic growth. In most cases, however, immigrants fill a labour need which would otherwise remain unfilled… Institutions in host countries must keep careful watch to prevent the spread of the temptation to exploit foreign labourers, denying them the same rights enjoyed by nationals, rights that are to be guaranteed to all without discrimination. – 297, 298, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
We are called to welcome immigrants and refugees with generosity and good will, as if they were Jesus Christ himself. Matthew, Chapter 25
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” 23 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, citing Lev. 19:33-34
The Role & Purpose of Government | Stewardship & Reform | Provinces, Territories, Municipalities | International Relations & Defense | Public Saftey
The Proper Role of Government
In accordance with its understanding of the purpose of human life, the Church teaches that the proper role of government is to provide a legal and economic framework in which the common good can flourish, in order that the people may accomplish their mission: that is, so that the people may use the freedom God has given them to seek the truth and thereby return to Him.
An authentic democracy is not merely the result of a formal observation of a set of rules but is the fruit of a convinced acceptance of the values that inspire democratic procedures: the dignity of every human person, the respect of human rights, commitment to the common good as the purpose and guiding criterion for political life. If there is no general consensus on these values, the deepest meaning of democracy is lost and its stability is compromised.
The Church’s social doctrine sees ethical relativism, which maintains that there are no objective or universal criteria for establishing the foundations of a correct hierarchy of values, as one of the greatest threats to modern-day democracies. – 407, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Responsibilities of the State include:
– ensuring that all individuals are enabled to achieve their full potential, by maintaining a framework capable of providing all the material, moral, and spiritual goods necessary for the common good.
– harmonizing the different interests of sectors of society with the requirements of justice, including particularly the reconciliation of private ownership of goods with the common good.
– ordering society not only in accordance with the desires of the majority, but the effective good of all the members of the community, including minorities.
– 168, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Stewardship of Office
Public administration at any level — national, regional, community — is to be oriented towards the service of citizens, serving as steward of the people’s resources, which it must administer with a view to the common good.
Tax revenues and public spending take on crucial economic importance for every civil and political community. The goal to be sought is public financing that is itself capable of becoming an instrument of development and solidarity. Just, efficient and effective public financing will have very positive effects on the economy, because it will encourage employment growth and sustain business and non-profit activities and help to increase the credibility of the State as the guarantor of systems of social insurance and protection that are designed above all to protect the weakest members of society.
Public spending is directed to the common good when certain fundamental principles are observed: the payment of taxes as part of the duty of solidarity; a reasonable and fair application of taxes; precision and integrity in administering and distributing public resources.
In the redistribution of resources, public spending must observe the principles of solidarity, equality and making use of talents. It must also pay greater attention to families, designating an adequate amount of resources for this purpose. In the democratic system, political authority is accountable to the people.
– 355, 408, 412, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Representative bodies must be subjected to effective social control. This control can be carried out above all in free elections which allow the selection and change of representatives. The obligation on the part of those elected to give an accounting of their work — which is guaranteed by respecting electoral terms — is a constitutive element of democratic representation.
Among the deformities of the democratic system, political corruption is one of the most serious. If there is no ultimate truth to guide and direct political action, then ideas and convictions can easily be manipulated for reasons of power. A democracy without values easily turns into totalitarianism.
– 406-412, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Cooperation and respect between parties
Political parties have the task of fostering widespread participation and making public responsibilities accessible to all. Political parties are called to interpret the aspirations of civil society, orienting them towards the common good… An authentic democracy is not merely the result of a formal observation of a set of rules but is the fruit of a convinced acceptance of the values that inspire democratic procedures: the dignity of every human person, the respect of human rights, commitment to the common good as the purpose and guiding criterion for political life. If there is no general consensus on these values, the deepest meaning of democracy is lost and its stability is compromised. – 407, 413, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Peace & Good Order
The Church has time and again called attention to aberrations in the system of international trade, which often, owing to protectionist policies, discriminates against products coming from poorer countries and hinders the growth of industrial activity in and the transfer of technology to these countries.
The continuing deterioration in terms of the exchange of raw materials and the widening of the gap between rich and poor countries has prompted the Church to point out the importance of ethical criteria that should form the basis of international economic relations: the pursuit of the common good and the universal destination of goods; equity in trade relationships; and attention to the rights and needs of the poor in policies concerning trade and international cooperation.
Economic and social imbalances in the world of work must be addressed by restoring a just hierarchy of values and placing the human dignity of workers before all else.
– 370, 321, 364 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
“Opening up to the world” is an expression that has been co-opted by the economic and financial sector and is now used exclusively of openness to foreign interests or to the freedom of economic powers to invest without obstacles or complications in all countries. Local conflicts and disregard for the common good are exploited by the global economy in order to impose a single cultural model. This culture unifies the world, but divides persons and nations, for “as society becomes ever more globalized, it makes us neighbours, but does not make us brothers”.
We are more alone than ever in an increasingly massified world that promotes individual interests and weakens the communitarian dimension of life. Indeed, there are markets where individuals become mere consumers or bystanders. As a rule, the advance of this kind of globalism strengthens the identity of the more powerful, who can protect themselves, but it tends to diminish the identity of the weaker and poorer regions, making them more vulnerable and dependent. In this way, political life becomes increasingly fragile in the face of transnational economic powers that operate with the principle of “divide and conquer”.
Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti, 12
Criminal Justice & Public Safety
In order to protect the common good, the lawful public authority must exercise the right and the duty to inflict punishments according to the seriousness of the crimes committed. The State has the twofold responsibility to discourage behaviour that is harmful to human rights and the fundamental norms of civil life, and to repair, through the penal system, the disorder created by criminal activity…
Punishment does not serve merely the purpose of defending the public order and guaranteeing the safety of persons; it becomes as well an instrument for the correction of the offender. There is a twofold purpose here. On the one hand, encouraging the reinsertion of the condemned person into society; on the other, fostering a justice that reconciles, a justice capable of restoring harmony in social relationships disrupted by the criminal act committed.
– 402 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
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