“Truth productive of justice effective of peace.” This tripod can be considered as the overall substance and intent of the Social Doctrine of the Church that teaches what should be the realities here and now in view of the certainties hereafter and beyond.
It is not only interesting and intriguing but also noble and admirable to know the rationale and intention of the Church in formulating and teaching her Social Doctrine. Should the Church be not concerned simply with spiritual matters, with pure heavenly issues and supernal realities? How come the Church also ventures in dealing with and thereby teaching about earthly realities, human concerns, social issues? The rather plain and simply answers to such questions can be readily distilled in the following plain and simple realities: First. Every human person is a social being. Second. All human persons are members of society. Third. There is no person who is beyond social good or evil. And the common denominator of all the said facts is the fundamental that man is created in the Image of God and that man should be wherefore respected, loved and cared for.
It is thus quite noticeable that practically all religious sects and so-called “churches” founded simply by seemingly pious and eloquent individuals are basically and primarily preoccupied with the hereafter and the beyond of man while purely concentrating with heaven and hell whereto man goes after death. They neither speak about, proclaim nor protect human rights. They simply address man’s spiritual needs, forgetting that he also has corporal demands and social requirements – primary of all which is the respect for his rights as a human person. So it is that the said sects and “churches” appear and disappear, come to fore and are eventually gone. Reason: But from man they appear and with man they eventually disappear. Sad but true – with no offence intended, with no ill-will entertained.
Certain basic realities should be noted. One, the Social Doctrine of the Church is neither something that was formulated academically nor speculatively at one time or the other. Two, the Doctrine is formed in the course of centuries during which the Church came to know more concretely and understand more realistically about social issues that intimately affect man with the passing of time and the emergence of social circumstances. Three, the Doctrine is then the body of the official teaching of the Church specifically in conjunction with the plight of man as a member of society – a society that either promotes his legitimate concerns and interests or in effect disregards or undermines these.
The Social Doctrine of the Church nevertheless insistently and consistently remains anchored in Christian Faith and Morals – the teaching about God first and foremost but subsequently about man as someone made to His Image. Wherefore, objectively and practically speaking both in the realm of faith and in the sphere of ground realities, the genuine teaching about God includes man just as the teaching about man includes God. This fundamental integral truth is what makes the Social Doctrine of the Church not only invaluable in content but also unique in significance and implications here and now, hereafter and beyond.