Catholic Themes (PDF File)
The following twelve Themes highlight some major aspects of the Catholic faith,
with a particular focus on Catholic social teaching. These Themes capture an important
part of the richness of our Catholic Tradition.
Faith is a divinely bestowed gift that enables human persons to respond to God reaching out to us in love. "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Heb. 11: 1) At the same time, it is a reasoned assent to revealed truth.
Hope is that virtue by which we take responsibility both for ourselves and for the world. It is rooted in the fulfillment of God's promises in Christ.
Love and Justice
A necessary condition for Jesus' command of love of neighbour is justice. Charity must manifest itself in actions and structures that must respect human dignity, protect human rights and facilitate human development. To promote justice is to transform the structures that block love. Action of behalf of justice is not an option but a constitutive dimension of the Gospel.
Dignity of the Human Person
Created in the image and likeness of God, all human life is sacred and all people have dignity. Human persons do not lose dignity because of gender, disability, poverty, age, or race.
Intimacy and Sexuality
Since we are created in the image and likeness of the Triune God, all aspects of our humanity are sacred, including sexuality. Human beings are made for relationship, seeking intimacy through friendship, marriage and family.
Community and the Common Good
Created in the image and likeness of our Triune God, human persons are both sacred and social. Their dignity and rights are realized in relationship with others, in community. "If one member suffers, all suffer together with it. If one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it." (1Cor. 12: 26)
Preferential Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
The God of Jesus Christ cares deeply for the poor and marginalized. A distinctly Catholic perspective on the world maintains that we can measure the quality of any society by the way its most poor and vulnerable are treated.
Human Rights and Responsibilities
Catholic teaching on the dignity of the person and the common good imply that all people have a fundamental right to life, food, shelter, health care, education, employment and religious freedom. They have a right to participate in decisions that affect their lives. Corresponding to this is the duty to respect the rights of others in the wider society and promote the Reign of God.
Dignity of Work and Service
The Catholic Church recognizes that human persons carry out their identity as God's image and likeness in work. The call to work is fundamental to our humanity. The book of Genesis portrays God as working six days to bring creation into existence. This tells us there is something holy about work. Whether for securing a livelihood or attending to the needs of others, all work is an important way human persons live out their vocation to holiness bestowed at baptism.
Stewardship for Creation
God's creation is a sacred gift, entrusted to our care. This value has deep biblical roots in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. Those "who practice stewardship recognize God as the origin of life, the giver of freedom and the source of all they have and are and will be. They know themselves to be recipients and caretakers of God's many gifts. They are grateful for what they have received and eager to cultivate their gifts out of love for God and one another." (Stewardship: A Disciple's Response, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, December 1992)
Peace is the work of justice and the result of love. Much more than the absence of conflict, it speaks of a harmony or shalom which is fundamental to God's original vision for all of creation.
Mystery, Wonder and Awe
When the finitude of our human nature is confronted by the infinite nature of our God, our responses may be as inspired as they may be humbling. Yet humanity is called into an intimate and loving relationship with our Creator. While we may lack a complete understanding of that relationship, nonetheless the experience always presents an opportunity for celebration.