It is said – with ample reason and truth – that the Social Doctrine of the Church is one of the best kept secrets in the world. The Catholic Church is well-known for its unity and universality, rather famous for its theological teachings and moral proclamations. But Social Doctrine – what is it? Where is it found? What does it say? Why is there such a thing?
A big number of people – Catholics well-included – are quite knowledgeable about the spirituality taught to them by and in their Church. They are well-acquainted with the piety proclaimed by their Church. They are much aware with the administration of Sacraments in their Church – inclusive of the liturgical observances as well as devotional practices therein held. But the Social Doctrine of the Church?
The Catholic Church is well-noted for its use of reason and employ of faith in the formation and proclamation of its teachings. The Church is also known for its pious and devotional exercises, the spiritual customs it preserves, the religious practices it regularly observes such as Novenas and processions on the occasion of Feast Days. The Church is rather famous for observing the joys of Christmas and the sorrows of Lent. But the Social Doctrine of the Church?
The truth is that the Church is not only interested in the promotion of the love of God but also concerned with the affirmation of one’s neighbors. The theological doctrine of the Church is what forwards the love of God. Its Social Doctrine is what advocates the love of neighbor. And the Social Doctrine of the Church is found analyzed, developed, and explained in the many Social Encyclicals of the Popes.
The following are some examples of the truths contained and proclaimed by the Social Doctrine of the Church: Love. Life. Economy. War. Freedom. Culture. Work. Business. Politics. Media. Biotechnology. Environment. And many other human concerns as individuals, as members of society, as constituents of humanity – such as: Purpose of the State. The Common Good. The Promotion of Social Justice. Economic Development. The Political Community. The Church and Social Order. Church and Politics. Separation of Church and State. Church and State Collaboration. Human Solidarity. Elections. And many other societal concerns.
The Social Doctrine of the Church brings Christ into human society. It looks at man both in his relationship with God and with his neighbors. The Cross of Christ – with its vertical and horizontal dimensions – is its pivotal basis. It is the foundation and expression of genuine Christianity, the recourse and inspiration of genuine Christian preachers.
Would that the Social Doctrine of the Church be not really the best kept secret in the world – through the ministerial labors of said preachers.