Social Doctrine of the Church: Building a Civilization of Love

In modern society, men and women more and more are looking for “meaning.” They are increasingly conscious of their rights as human beings and look for more justice in human relations. To this, the Church responds with the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus, a Gospel which liberates the dignity of each human person from the changing social¬†opinions and guarantees the freedom of humankind in a way no human law can do.

The moral principles underpinning faith in God and in Jesus Christ give stability and tranquillity to the social order and insures the prosperity of the State, for at the heart of any culture is a moral sense that in turn is rooted in and fulfilled by a religious sense.

The Church teaches that we humans have a very real hope of overcoming evil and attaining good. Thus there is the Christian hope that a truly better world can be attained. The immediate purpose of the Church’s social doctrine is the proposal of principles and values that can sustain a society worthy of the human person. Among these principles is solidarity. The primacy of love illuminates this principle and is the distinguishing characteristic of the Christian people.

Love must be present in every social relationship. It must thoroughly permeate it. It can be called “social charity” or “political charity.” It is the antithesis of egoism and individualism. In order to make society more worthy of the human person, love must be become a constant and the highest norm for all social activity.

Only love can transform the human person. Love is the greatest social commandment and it requires the practice of justice and inspires us to self-giving. One cannot love without taking into account its natural foundation which includes the practice of justice, even though human relationships cannot be governed solely on justice.

Love “makes one see in neighbor another self.” (St. John Chrysostom, Homilia De Perfecta Caritate)

For a more detailed discussion of this topic, please refer to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, nos. 575-583.

About Deacon Bob

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