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Catholic Social Thought assignment help is divided into nine core principles. Although many of these principles are not unique to Catholicism together they provide a Catholic understanding of the relationships between individuals and the functions of societies. The nine principles are:
All human beings are endowed with dignity and an inviolable set of human and natural rights. These rights are considered intrinsic to the human condition. They are not earned through circumstance and nor can they be lost (Australian Catholic Social Justice Council [ACSJC], 2016). The dignity of the human person is a principle assigning value to every human life.
It is incumbent upon all people to respect and promote the dignity and rights of others, as diminishing the dignity of the human person also diminishes the dignity of humanity itself. (FTPbroadcasts, 2013a)
The notion of the common good posits that all of an individual’s physiological, mental, emotional and social needs are held in common by all people. Within this is an acknowledgement that individuals and communities can only prosper together. It is the responsibility of individuals, communities and institutions to strive to enhance the common interests, dignity and flourishing of all people and pursue the common good (ACSJC, 2016).
The principle of subsidiarity considers thesocial distance between decision makers and those who are affected by the decisions they make. It contends that better decisions making occurs when made in close social proximity to, and in consultation with those affected.
Delegation to a higher authority should only occur when issues are unmanageable by any authority below it (BlogactivTV, 2010). This serves to empower and foster the participation of individuals and communities in governing their own affairs as well as limiting inappropriate influence by those outside the community (ACSJC, 2016).
This principle presents the concept that the primary purpose of the world’s goods and materials is to enable the universal flourishing of mankind, and that by right of being human all people should be given access to the goods and materials they need in order to flourish (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace [PCJP], 2004).
This concept is understood as a natural right. Therefore, “All other rights, whatever they are, including property rights and the right of free trade must be subordinated to this norm” (PCJP, 2004, section 172.
The principle of stewardship of creation is an acknowledgement of humanities earthly origin and dependence. It identifies the responsibility of individuals and societies in caring for and acting as stewards for the environment. Humanity is considered as a caretaker of the earth, not an owner. (FTPbroadcasts, 2013b).
Peace is understood as both a value and a duty. The foundations of peace are justice, human dignity and a commitment to the common good. When these foundations are compromised peace is also compromised. The principle of promotion of peace can therefore be understood as promoting justice, human dignity and the common good (PCJP, 2004).
Global solidarity identifies the responsibilities of people to each other despite any human distinctions such as race, nationality, geography, culture or any other form of difference. Solidarity utilizes the concept of the common good as a basis and emphasizes the duty of global society to its most vulnerable and marginalized members (ACSJC, 2016).
Participation is an essential principle of subsidiarity. CST positions participation as a right but also a responsibility by which the individual “whether directly or through representation, contributes to the cultural, economic, political and social life of the civil community to which he belongs” (PCJP, 2004, section 189). Understanding participation as a responsibility is a core component of subsidiarity and CST.
The principle of Preferential Option for the Poor distinguishes the central importance of Christian charity to CST. It identifies poverty as a significant obstacle to human flourishing and seeks to address it by giving preferences to those choices which most benefit the lives of the impoverished (PCJP, 2004). Though this preference is considered to primarily improve the flourishing of the poor, it is accepted that it also causes the flourishing of the community as a whole (Center of Concern, 2008).
The Principles of Catholic Social Thought uphold the concept of an interrelationship between the self and the community. This is common throughout human social thought all around the world. For example, in African Bantu cultures there exists the notion of Ubuntu. This is best understood as "I am what I am because of who we all are" (Australian Catholic University [ACU], 2016a).
To fully understand the interrelationship between self and community one must begin with the concept of flourishing. In order to flourish a person must have all their physiological, psychological, emotional and social needs met. Meaningful Family relationships, friendships and employment are some of the higher aspects of life commonly associated with individual flourishing (CAFOD, 2010).
Aristotle's moral philosophy of eudaimonia describes flourishing as living a virtuous life. In practical terms the virtues are actions and behaviors which represent a mean between two extremes of deficiency and excess (Aristotle, Ross & Brown, 2009). In this way the virtue of bravery can be considered the mean between cowardice and rashness (ACU, 2016b)
Human flourishing is considered to be distinct from short term human happiness. Aristotle makes a similar distinction between pleasure and happiness. He describes activities which bring pleasure as being done for the sake of something else. Whereas of activities which bring happiness Aristotle et al (2009) says, "to do noble and good deeds is a thing desirable for its own sake" (pp. 192).
To flourish is to achieve something more than pleasure or short term happiness. It is to live a virtuous and meaningful life. This becomes important to the interrelationship between the self and the community when we consider what holds the most meaning to a human person.
What catholic social thought, Ubuntu and Aristotle all have in common is the idea that a human being is socially oriented (ACU,2016c). Aristotle describes the person as "by nature a social animal" (ACU, 2016c) and Zulu culture posits that? "a person is a person through other persons" (Boudreau, J., 2012).
It is widely regarded that what makes us human are our relationships, and that without them our humanity Is diminished and we are unable to flourish. To be human is to be in a relationship with your community. This interrelationship between self and community is best described as a process of mutual flourishing. That is, the individual cannot flourish unless their community is also flourishing and vice versa.
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The principles of CST seek to strengthen, structure and nourish the relationship between individuals and their communities with the objective of increasing human flourishing for all. Human and community flourishing is directly tied to the strength and health of these relationships.
The principles dignity of the human person, solidarity, the common good and promotion of peace all seek to provide a moral framework around which interpersonal relationships between community members can built and maintained.
At the core of these principles is the golden rule? to treat others how you yourself would wish to be treated. This level of respect for other people is essential in achieving community wide flourishing, as individuals are often dependent upon one another in meeting their needs.
The principle of participation in community is essential to promote individual flourishing. However, it is important that the entire community have equal opportunity to participate in order to achieve community flourishing. Attending to the flourishing of societies most vulnerable and marginalized citizens has the effect of improving the wellbeing of all members of the community, this is reflected in the CST principle of preferential option for the poor (Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, 2016).
The human person is an extension of society and the flourishing of one is dependent on the flourishing of the other. CST attempts to present a unified social philosophy capable of guiding individuals and communities towards a shared sense of wellbeing.
Aristotle, Ross, D. & Brown, L. (2009). The nicomachean ethics. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com
Australia Catholic Social Justice Council. (2016). Catholic Social Teaching. Retrieved from http://www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au/socialteaching
Australian Catholic University. (2016a). 2.1. What do people say about ubuntu? Retrieved from UNCC100 Unit Materials Australian Catholic University. (2016b). 4.3 Human flourishing and reciprocity. Retrieved from UNCC100 Unit Materials
Australian Catholic University. (2016c). 2.3 Relationships between individual and society. Retrieved From UNCC100 Unit Materials
BlogactivTV. (2010, June 16).What is subsidiarity and why is it important? [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFWKUzHO2UE&feature=youtu.be
Boudreau, J. (2012). Ubuntu "I am what I am because of who we all are". Retrieved from http://www.motivationinspirationandlife.wordpress.com
CAFOD. (2010). Headline findings from a survey of the public conducted on behalf of CAFOD, Theos and Tearfund. Retrieved from http://catholicsocialteachingorg.uk
Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. (2016). Catholic social teaching.Retrieved from https://www.cctwincities.org
Center of Concern. (2008). The principle of the common good. Retrieved from www.coc.org/files/principle.pdf
FTPbroadcasts. (2013a, June 26).UNCC Dignity of the human person[Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8zjSGTYq14
FTPbroadcasts. (2013b, June 25). UNCC100 Stewardship of creation [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5w0FK4cTM2I