Catholic Social Doctrine – Pastoral Action in the Social Field

Christianity has the power to renew not only the hearts and minds of humankind, but also cultural and social realities. The Church offers an integrated vision of humankind and a complete understanding of man’s personal and social dimensions.

Christian anthropology, then, supports and enlivens pastoral action in the area of inculturation, i.e., a renewal of human judgment, values, decisions, thinking and life models. In the Church’s pastoral activity, two aims are put forth: 1) helping men and women discover the truth and to choose its path; and 2) encourage Christians to give witness to that truth in service to the Gospel in the field of social activity. The Gospel, then, is placed in the context of social realities and conforms them to the demands of Christian morality.

Above all else, the pastoral activity of the Church in the social sphere must bear witness to the truth of the human person. It must be inspired by the centrality of the human person.

Because it is rooted in a genuine human anthropology, the Church’s social doctrine and pastoral activity can be a powerful instrument in dialogue between Christian communities and civil/political communities. It is also “fertile soil” for dialogue and collaboration in ecumenism between various churches and ecclesial communities. The entire People of God play a role in this pastoral activity. It is meant for all Christians who are called to bear active witness to it.

For a more detailed discussion of this topic, refer to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, nos. 521-540

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.
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