The first principle that seems more
reflected on the lives of these people is “option
for the poor and vulnerable.” Most of them helped the poor and vulnerable by
establishing social programs, feed and clothe the hungry. They assisted those
who are most vulnerable to strengthen the community by putting the needs of
them first. For example, St. Louise de Marillac, St. Vincent de Paul, and St.
Teresa of Calcutta helped the poor and vulnerable by providing the assistance
The second principle that seems more
reflected on the lives of these people is “rights
and responsibilities.” Life and dignity of the human person is the
foundation of principles in Catholic social teaching. Human dignity can be
protected if only human rights and responsibilities are protected. Therefore,
these people aimed to bring things required for human decency especially for
the weak and vulnerable. For example, Dom Hélder Câmara challenged the
authorities on social issues and promoted human rights.
St. Louise de Marillac (1591 – 1660) cofounded the
Daughters of Charity with St. Vincent de Paul. She was born into a wealthy
family but she felt a call to religious life and wanted to provide service to
the poor. Louise, together with Vincent de Paul, founded hospitals, orphanages,
and schools all over France. Louise helped people in need and encouraged women
to nurse the sick and aging and help the poor and imprisoned. Louise and
Vincent de Paul established an organization, Daughters of Charity, in work for
the poor and provided systematic training of the women. Catholic social
teaching is not just principles alone but with heart and integration. She responded
the poor and vulnerable with the act
of love and the work of mercy. She also worked with young women to care for
those in need and trained them to carry out their mission of service.
The principles of Catholic social teaching
are considered as guidelines for actions and the various forms of moral reasons
help justify the principles of Catholic social teaching. Catholic social
thought addresses to multiple audiences and therefore requires several types of
justifications as everyone has different beliefs. The moral methodology aims to
appeal to a common ground among all reasonable people. The types of justifications
include theological, biblical, tradition of the Catholic Church, philosophical,
common human experience and pragmatic. Each one of them appeals to different
audiences including members and nonmembers. Biblical or theological would
appeal to Christians because passages from the Bible are quoted. Tradition
justification would appeal to Catholics because important theologians are
quoted. Philosophical uses reason to appeal to the intellectual capacity of
persons of all religious backgrounds. Experiential justification is based on
common human experiences and this would appeal to all persons of good will. Pragmatic justification is used to appeal to
people’s common sense, no matter what their religious traditions are.
Narrative is the basic form of moral
discourse. Bible stories are a form of narrative moral discourse. Stories can
influence people’s behaviors and open up new perspectives. Prophetic moral
discourse can be found in the book of Isaiah. Philosophers and theologians use
ethical moral discourse to write about morality as it appeals to people’s
intellectual capacity. It discusses moral issues by giving reasons for moral
positions. Policy is the final form of moral discourse. For example, the government
uses policies to tackle certain issues.
The principles of Catholic social
teaching can be told in four different ways – narrative, prophetic, ethical and
policy. Narrative and prophetic appeal to our emotive aspect whereas ethical offers
justifications for ideas. Policy is then used to turn ideas into actions. All
four forms of moral discourse work hand-in-hand in communicating the principles
and morality to the public for them to care and act. I am more drawn towards narrative
moral discourse. Storytelling is a powerful tool in conveying a message. Stories
can encourage and inspire the audience because when people hear a story, they
will try to relate it to their personal experiences.
In this diverse country, it is important for us to
respect other cultures so that there’s peace. Ever since I was a child, I was
told to respect others no matter where they are from as it is not acceptable to
discriminate anyone that has different beliefs.
We should always recognize the incompatible values
that go against faith and human dignity. For example, I would never threaten
someone else’s life because that is an act incompatible with human dignity.
Advance acknowledges the evolution of moral positions within
the Bible and in history. We should be open to education and the development of
our consciences. Society is changing rapidly and therefore I believe that it is
important for us to be flexible in adapting to the development of our
Social dimension aims to reconcile the rights and
longings of human. Instead of focusing on myself, I feel like it is more important
to care about others because love is what needed in our society.
Finality is motivated by the hope of an absolute
future. I believe that being
positive and motivated about the future is important in human life.
Discernment involves careful determination, thoughtful
reflection on difficult problems and interpreting the principles and
methodology. Every time I have a problem, I evaluate the situation and try to
come up with a decision based on principles. Then, I’ll decide what should be
done to solve the problem.