Wednesday, December 17, 2014

PRINCIPLES OF THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH



As demanded of elementary logic and as expected by plain reason, any venture to compose and present  a philosophy as well as to prepare and proclaim a body of fundamental and integrated teachings, rightfully demand the adoption and observance of principles  - normative guidelines, abiding rules and/or  rational posits – that are not only necessary but also practical for the logical understanding and consequent affirmation of the said teachings, considering the latter's intended coherence or composite unity.  The Social Doctrine of the Church definitely has and faithfully observes such principles.

It can be readily said that in general, the principles of the Church's Social Doctrine is drawn and based on a unique or singular tripod: God-Man-God's Image.  So is it that when the central subject concern is God alone, there is Theology.  When the primary object treated is man, there is Philosophy.  But when the converging focus of learning and teaching is God plus man as God's Image, then the Social Doctrine of the Church comes to fore.

It is precisely for this reason that the propositions, affirmations and proclamations of the Social Doctrine of the Church cannot be divorced from Divinity although it is primarily about humanity, may not be really understood without God although it is primarily  about man – in conjunction with the latter's human nature, human dignity, human rights.  To those who dare claim that the Social Doctrine of the Church is impractical, then let them explain why many human atrocities persist all over the world, why inhuman realities and not righteousness are rather common realities in the four corners of the globe.  No. This is not meant to say that the Social Doctrine of the Church would make the world heavenly.  But the same body teachings with their unified and unifying principles would certainly make the world a much safer and beneficial place to live in – for men, women and children as well as for the elderly, the youth and  babies.

It is not hard to know and understand that it is the human person – with its inherent dignity and immediate implications and necessary consequences – that is the heart itself of the Social Doctrine of the Church.  Again: The human person in tenure of human dignity is the central concern and focus of the said Doctrine.  In other words, the person with its constitutive human dignity plus innate human rights constitutes the very foundation of the Social Doctrine of the Church that is eminently  about man living in the temporal world and about society  composed of human beings in particular.  Without these realities, the said Doctrine is one big futility.


The truth is that if God had nothing to do with man and/or if man were not made to His image, then the Social Doctrine of the Church – if any – would be just like any secular theory and recommendation about man, about society, about the world.  Such is precisely what makes materialistic thinking and egoistic practices as well as atheistic convictions and actuations that are not only dangerous but even fatal to mankind.