Could you please enlighten me about the place Catholic Social Teaching plays in the context of the overall faith. I’ve been a Catholic since birth but hadn’t even heard about CST until recently. Why don’t I ever hear about it in church?
Justice is at the core of Catholic Social teaching. It permeates our entire faith.
The Catechism speaks of justice in this way:
Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the “virtue of religion.” Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. “You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.” “Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven” (CCC 1807).
Society should work hard to establish ways where people can be freed from poverty and oppression. More important, however, is that man is allowed the means to be freed from spiritual poverty and the oppression of sin. The former involves the temporal order, while the latter involves the eternal order. Mother Theresa said that to be spiritually poor is the worst poverty and the most difficult to overcome (UN International Conference on Population and Development-Cairo, 1994).
Justice can also be found in the two great commandments to love God and love our neighbor. We love God when we give him the adoration, obedience and respect due him and teach others to do the same. We love neighbor when we take care of him, body and soul and recognize, respect and protect his God-given rights.