Seven Principles of Catholic Social Teaching, by Christopher Kaczor, Ph.D.

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By Christopher Kaczor, Ph.D., Catholic Culture

A Fulbright Scholar, Christopher Kaczor holds a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame and is the Robert H. Taylor Chair in Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University. He is the author of Proportionalism and the Natural Law Tradition (2002) and The Edge of Life: Human Dignity and Contemporary Bioethics (2005) as well as many articles for scholarly and popular audiences.

Jesus rescued the adulteress from stoning, ate with tax collectors and prostitutes, spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, and healed the sick and the sinner. He promised the most severe punishments for those who were indifferent to the plight of the poor:

“Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.” Then they will answer and say, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?” He will answer them, “Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.” And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. (Matt. 25:41-45)

Christians through the ages have sought to take the example and words of Jesus to heart and to live them in social settings very different from ancient Palestine. Catholic social teaching is an offspring of this effort.  …

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