Year 11 General Unit 2, Mod 3 - Social Justice Issues

How a religion responds to a current social justice issue.

Catholic Teaching on Social Justice

Catholic teaching on Social Justice comes in the form of official statement such as:

The first encyclical on Social Justice was written in 1891 by Pope Leo XIII.

It is best known by its opening Latin words, Rerum Novarum (‘Of New Things’). This encyclical addressed the rights of workers in the post-Industrial Revolution age. It affirmed, for exam-ple, the rights of people to:

  • the necessities of life
  • just wages
  • form trade unions.


Modern Encyclicals

  • Modern threats to human living conditions.
  • The increasing gap between rich and poor.
  • Threats to world peace.
  • Human rights to the necessities of life.
  • The proper use of technology.
  • The criteria for the well-being of humanity.
  • The right to employment.
  • The obligations of employers.
  • The modern conflict between labour and capital.
  • Social welfare.
  • Rural needs.
  • The needs of the disabled.
  • Refugees and migrants.
  • Private property and the universal destination of material goods.

Catholic Social Justice Teachings

Life, and whatever is needed for its preservation:

  • what is needed for nourishment and shelter
  • the living conditions needed for health
  • the security needed in times of vulnerability, especially during childhood, illness, old age.

To live with dignity, including the rights to:

  • respect, adequate intellectual, moral and religious educatio
  • employment
  • social security benefits if unable to find employment
  • free inquiry into truth
  • freedom of expression and artistic thought.
  • Freedom of expression
  • full participation in society, regardless of status
  • technical, professional and cultural education according to merit.
  • worship.
  • marry

Religious freedom, including the rights to:

  • follow one’s conscience, even publicly

To choose freely their state in life, including the rights to:

  • enter religious life and priesthood
  • have children
  • faithful marriage
  • educate their own children, especially in matters of faith and morals
  • choose their children’s school
  • economic, cultural, social and moral resources needed to live in any state of life.

Economic needs, including the rights to:

  • hoose freely a profession
  • work under the conditions worthy of a human being
  • a living wage
  • a fair share of material resources
  • economic independence
  • access to the holding of private property
  • access to a share of the means of production.

To associate freely, including the rights to:

  • form associations which have their own statutes, provided the purposes of such associations do not involve harm to others, including moral harm
  • be independent of public authorities
  • plan common objectives.
  • immigrate
  • emigrate
  • vote, live where they choose, including the rights to seek refuge as refugees.

Active participation in society, including the rights to:

  • participate in the government of society

Legal protection, including the rights to:

  • protection of personal rights
  • protection against the infringement of rights by the state
  • an independent and impartial judiciary
  • clear and just laws
  • freedom from physical and mental duress in all judicial and police pro-ceedings.oral decision-making requires personal freedom.