Catholic Social Doctrine – The Universality of Sin, Salvation and Hope

The doctrine of original sin teaches the universality of sin. This doctrine must never be separated from the reality of the universality of salvation in Jesus Christ. While the doctrine of original sin properly enlightens us to not remain in guilt, nor to take guilt lightly, the doctrine of universal salvation dispels false anxiety about sin and unhealthy pessimism. The Church recognizes the deep chasm which is sin but in light of the hope grounded in Jesus’ act of redemption which far surpasses any evil. In him, sin and death are destroyed.

Christ is the image of both God and Man. He is the New Adam, the mediator of God and man. In him, we are caught up into divine life itself, rising from the depths of sin which held us all captive.

This new “reality” that Jesus gives us in not something added to our human nature; it is rather, the reality of communion with the Trinity toward whom we always have been oriented in the depths of our beings, for we were made in the image and likeness of God.

This brings us to another teaching of the Church: the universality of hope. This hope we now have we share with not only all men and women, but truly with all of creation. All of creation together with all of humanity awaits the Redeemer; all of creation is full of hope, longing to be freed from death and decay.

These principles of the universality of sin, salvation and hope are at the core of the Church’s social doctrine for they speak to the dignity of the human person and the goodness of created things placed at the service of human need and human activity.

For a more detailed description of these teachings, refer to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, nos. 120-123.