Self and community and Catholic Social Through

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Self and Community and Catholic Social Thought

Self and Community and Catholic Social Thought

The human rights’ language as the overriding moral vocabulary of contemporaneousness has generated considerable contact points between the secular as well as the religious. Still, the human rights movement is more and more finding itself in a disputable relationship with communities and religious ideas (Calo, 2015). Evidently, the Catholic Church has continually tried to advance the human rights cause while portentously also challenging the sustainability as well as the coherence of the reigning secular tradition.
This paper draws upon the nine principles of Catholic Social Thought (CST) to demonstrate that the concepts of ‘self’ and ‘community’ are interrelated.

Although recognising the inherent dignity as well as the absolute and equal rights of every human family member is the basis of justice, freedom as well as peace across the globe, Claude and Weston (1992) asserts that the contempt and disregard of human rights have led to ferocious behaviours that have irritated the mankind conscience. The first principle is the “Human Dignity”: The world is currently filled with greediness as well as diminishing respect for human life; therefore, the human life as proclaimed by the Catholic Church is sacred and a person’s dignity is the basis of the community’s moral vision (Brady, 2008). All the Catholic’s social teaching principles are rooted in the human person inherent dignity and the belief that the human life is sacred. The second principle is “Community and the Common Good”: The global culture is steered by too much egoism, but the Catholic tradition decrees that a person is both social and sacred. The human dignity together with the ability of people to grow within the community is directly influenced by economics and politics. The Catholic believes that it is the duty of the government as well as other institutions to protect not just human dignity and life, but also to ensure the common good is promoted in the community. According to this principle, the good of a person is closely associated with the good of the entire community. The principle further emphasises that a person can only be successful in the community. The Common Good according to the Centre of Concern (2008) recognises that every person have to make a contribution to life in the community.

The third principle is the “Rights and Responsibilities”: Healthy community according to the Catholic traditions may be realised when the responsibilities are met and human rights are protected. For this reason, everyone has the basic right to life and human decency. In view of this, every person has a right to his/her family as well as the larger community. The fourth principle is the “Preferential Option for the Poor and Vulnerable”: Understanding how the vulnerable and poor people are coping in the community is the basic moral test for everyone. Regrettably, the community is flawed by deep divisions between the poor and rich; therefore, with the view to the Last Judgment, it is imperative first to consider the needs of the poor and vulnerable. The fifth principle is “Participation”: Every member of the community has a right to take part in the society’s cultural, political and economic life. Every person should be allowed to participate in the community. Contrariwise, it is not right for a person to be unfairly barred from taking part in the society. Barring people from participating in the community is like saying they are not human beings.

The sixth principle is “Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers”: The rights of workers are often disregarded in the marketplace: the Catholics believe that the economy should serve people within the society, and not vice versa. Therefore, for the work dignity to be protected, the workers’ basic rights have to be respected. As suggested by Rasul, Nor, Amat, and Rauf (2015) people must project “self” while in the work environments and make sure that the realistic concept of ‘self’ is espoused in the working world. DeFrancisco and Chatham-Carpenter (2000) point out that a community support is a crucial ingredient in developing self-esteem especially amongst alienated individuals. Therefore, the community serves as a primary source of social support as well as positive identity. The seventh principle is “Stewardship of Creation”: The creator according to Catholic tradition must be shown respect through stewardship of creation. The planet and the people living within it should be protected. Stewardship means connotes protection of diversity as well as recognition of the interdependence of every form of life living on the planet (Australian Catholic University, 2012).

The eighth principle is “Solidarity”: According to the catholic teachings, all people should learn to be their brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, regardless of where they live. The world is made up of one family, irrespective of racial, national, socio-political, ethnic and economic differences. This connotes that the human beings can never be seen as mere instruments or objects; therefore, they should not be sacrificed for economic, political, or social gain (Glendon, 2013). Australian Catholic University (2012) emphasise that accumulation of technical resources as well as material is undignified if it lacks the respect for the spiritual, cultural and moral dimensions of humanity. The last principle of Catholic Social Thought is the “Subsidiarity”: The government has a moral function in promoting human dignity, building the common good as well as protecting human rights. Amusingly, despite multiple adversities associated with sexism, racism as well as classism, the concept of ‘self’ and community has promoted the spirit of togetherness. In consequence, this promotes friendship and social acceptance. Tolerance within the society as mentioned by Witenberg (2015) is promoted by empathy. Having a tolerant can enable a person to accept other people’s differences. Nicholas (2015) maintains that for people in the community to flourish, they have to ascertain a set of goals, and achieving these goals would result in the realisation of the common good.

Even though a number of scholars argue that the mark of community is the one that a person’s life is lived completely in it, Cutchin (1997) argue that the community involves a different set of interests as well as activities. Basically, a community same as the concept of ‘self’ is not homogeneous because it offers a framework of shared commitments, interests, and beliefs that unite people together. Besides that, the community has to be acknowledged as geographical or territorial in their character. Evidently, the majority of people both in past as well as in present have lived and relocated and they have spent most of their life in the local settlements. Therefore, locality and place is a crucial foundation of the community. However, that does not mean that community is plainly socially or territorially bounded; instead, the community is a constructed as well as maintained through social interaction. The social interaction is made possible by the concept of ‘self’.

In conclusion, this paper has drawn upon the nine principles of Catholic Social Thought (CST) to demonstrate that the concepts of ‘self’ and ‘community’ are interrelated. As mentioned in the paper, the character of a person is intimately connected to that of the wider society. Therefore, when a person has a good character then the whole society is likely to have a good character as well. Imperatively, the dignity of a person is the basis of an ethical vision of the community. The poor and vulnerable should be treated fairly within the society, and this can be achieved by having a tolerant attitude.


Australian Catholic University. (2012). Promoting Human Flourishing Principles and Major Themes of Catholic Social Teaching. Banyo QLD: Australian Catholic University.

Brady, B. V. (2008). Essential Catholic Social Thought. Ossining: Orbis Books.

Calo, Z. R. (2015). Catholic Social Thought and Human Rights. The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 74(1), 93-112.

Center of Concern. (2008). The Principle Ofthe Common GooD. Washington, DC: Center of Concern.

Claude, R. P., & Weston, B. H. (1992). Human Rights in the World Community: Issues and Action. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Cutchin, M. P. (1997). Community And Self: Concepts For Rural Physician Integration And Retention. Social Science & Medicine, 44(11), 1661-167.

DeFrancisco, V. L., & Chatham-Carpenter, A. (2000). Self in Community: African American Women’s Views of Self-Esteem. T he Howard J ournal of Communications, 11, 73–92.

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Nicholas, J. L. (2015). The Common Good, Rights, and Catholic Social Thought: Prolegomena to Any Future Account of Common Goods. Solidarity: The Journal of Catholic Social Thought and Secular Ethics, 5(1), 1-15.

Rasul, M. S., Nor, A. R., Amat, S., & Rauf, R. A. (2015). Exploring Critical Factors of Self Concept among High Income Community College Graduates. International Education Studies, 8(15), 43-55.

Witenberg, R. T. (2015, November 25). A refugee, like me: why the Golden Rule matters in an era of mass migration. Retrieved from The Conversation: