In my booklet Catholic Social Teaching: A Way In, some years ago, I quoted the English expert on Catholic social teaching, Roger Charles SJ: “civil society is… founded on respect for person and family, a morally responsible citizenry knowing its rights and fulfilling its duties, built up though a network of voluntary organisations, social, political and economic, and based on respect for morally responsible freedom.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it! The question is, can the government get a Big Society to flourish at a time of massive cuts in social services, widespread unemployment, a rising cost of living, and a decline in religious adherence? Have the real roots of the recent financial crisis been addressed? Has the government taken on board other important elements of Catholic social teaching, such as the critique of consumerism, the concern for social justice, the understanding of marriage as the bedrock of society, and the sanctity of the unborn? These and other elements of the teaching make up a coherent whole, and one part of the teaching won’t work if the others are not integrated with it.
This blog entry is based on one I wrote for the new CTS blog Catholic Compass.