Catholic Social Teaching, sometimes called the Church’s social doctrine, is that body of teaching and reflection that helps us to form a moral framework for how to approach and respond to society’s challenges of ordering and governing our life together in the world. The truths that social teaching proposes are for everybody, and we ignore these truths at great cost to human flourishing. The principles themselves are unchanging, but require continual analysis with the signs of the times in order to discern the new requirements of engagement with a world in flux. Social Teaching is not meant to be used in a partisan way to support whatever policy happens to be under debate at a given moment, but is rather best understood as the source of profound and authoritative reflection on some of the most pressing questions of our age. What is a person? What rights do persons have? What duties? What is society, and what obligations does it have to persons and families, and what is it owed by them?
In answering these questions, the Church upholds the sacred dignity of men and women, made in the image of God, destined for eternal life, and insists that persons are always subjects of creativity, not reducible to mere cogs in a materialist or technocratic machine. Persons are called to both solidarity, a collaboration, a unity arising from a desire for the good of all, and to subsidiarity, which encourages that common goals be pursued in the lowest realm of authority possible. Social Teaching expounds upon rights to association, private property, religious liberty, and a living wage; it reminds us of the universal destination of all goods, and the social ends of the virtue of justice.