Sociology Assignment: Principles of Catholic Social Teaching
Task: You are required to prepare a sociology assignment addressing the following questions:
1. Explain and define the following principles of catholic social teaching / thoughts (300 words)
• Preferential purpose for the Poor
• Stewardship of Creation
• Solidarity and Subsidiarity
2. Explain how the chosen principles are relevant and valuable in relation to the skills and knowledge of a lawyer. (400 words)
3. Identify and explain, with examples, how the above 3 principles of catholic social teaching / thoughts may be relevant and valuable in relation to the aims or objectives of a community of families, parents and children. (400 words)
4. Explain how the catholic social thought / teaching principles of the dignity of the human person and the common good are relevant and valuable in relation to a law degree. (400 words)
1. Preferential purpose for the poor
As per the research on sociology assignment, this catholic teaching explains that one should first give thought to the poor and vulnerable members in our society as they are the ones who are in need of help the most .according to catholic social thought, the kingdom of holds a special place for the poor and needy and the Christ thought that when one clothes or feeds a poor they are indirectly looking after the God. The teachings also emphasize defending the defenceless and also lend a voice for the betterment of the marginalized members of society(United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2021).
Stewardship of creation
This teaching explains how all creature in this universe is made by the same creator, and hence the creator or the lord must be glorified and worshipped. Everyone is equal in the eyes of the lord, and hence there is no concept of dominance. The steward here is not an owner, just a manager, and the relationship between Mother Nature and its native cannot be differentiated. It explains how the resource that we obtain from nature like vegetables, minerals, and other resources is our moral responsibility and hence its care and sustenance is a god's act, and everyone should participate in it.
Solidarity and subsidiarity
This teaching explains that members of the society must commit themselves for the betterment of the society, i.e., contribute to the common good and at the same time warns about the danger one can face from the state and other large scale institutions(Devitt, 2017). According to catholic learning, it is an injustice to give work to a larger organization which can be done even by individuals and small bodies. It encourages the contribution of local people and discourages the role of bigger organizations. Previously this principle was used to protect the interest of individuals and minority groups, but now it is functioning to even aid no state organization worldwide.
2. Relevance of catholic teaching and a knowledge of a lawyer
Catholic teaching contributes an ample amount to legal ethics, even though law and catholic teachings are different in many aspects but their matter of subject is same which is ' human being as an individual, 'society or community as a whole, and 'nature's preservation or sustainability, which a popular concern all over the world It is a long chain of action as to how a good ethical lawyer contributes to the legal profession and how a good group of bar association contributes to the betterment of the society. Some legal concepts are difficult to understand for the general public as they are not familiar with legal ethics; hence a lawyer with an understanding of catholic social can make familiarize the public with the language and thoughts that are known and practiced by them. In short, the non-legal perspective derived from the catholic social teachings will help a lawyer to make the decision and also convince clients as most of them come from good-learned Christian families. Sociology, a subject in law, comprises of religious teachings; hence when one is equipped with the catholic teachings, them also gain knowledge in sociology hence strengthening a lawyer's intelligence. There is various law that has come up to protect the environment, and the need to do so has many reasons, including the religious ones, specifically the catholic thought of stewardship of creation which emphasizes the need for a sustainable environment. Lawyers practice human rights for many of their clients(United Nations, 2015).It states that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, which is similar to the practice of catholic principles. Lawyers also work on many cases in which they facilitate and preserve the interest of small and medium scale businesses where they are not able to defend themselves from large-scale organizations. This reflects the learning derived from the catholic principle of solidarity and subsidiarity. Hence, a fair knowledge about catholic teaching will enhance a lawyer's professional standard and help in understanding the codes and regulations on which a community is built. It will also help a lawyer conceptualize its bar associations and state legislatures in a better manner as they are already equipped with pre-handed knowledge of religious teaching.
3. The three moral principles of the catholic social teaching
The three moral principles of the catholic social teaching/ thoughts which are related to societal actions are 'preferential purpose for the poor, stewardship of creation and solidarity and subsidiarity which is incorporated in the journal "The Ethical and Religious Directives for the Catholic Health Care Services." The preferential purpose for the poor and vulnerable is the ethical analysis of society and how it treats the poor and vulnerable members of society. It talks about the care and the preferential option for the poor – as biblical consent. The narration of the gospel proclaims Jesus in the synagogue with the quoting of Isaiah: "bring glad tiding to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord" (Luke 18-19) (Nairn, 2007). The Catholics are mostly required to help the needy, offer the rights to the orphan and defend the widows, as said in Isaiah. Preferential option for the poor is giving the means who need it as it is said that the poor and the venerable occupies an exceptional space in the realm of God, and this practice helps in influencing own assessment, including the policy of the public for helping the vulnerable people in the society as the Christ himself taught us if we help the needy then we are looking after him (The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace, and Development, 2020). For example: due to the economic crisis by COVID-19, many families were falling into poverty and even losing their jobs; in the pick of the global pandemic, the New Zealand government was quick enough to think of the needy. The impact of the benefit event provided a safe environment for the people who received the funding. Another principle is the stewardship of the creation of the catholic social teaching, which is about being the responsible guardians. Catholics consider the individual as the 'kaitiaki,' the guardians of the earth as stewardship is the gift that God has given us the responsibility of the ecosystem, which considers the earth as an important element for the survival and well-being of the people living on it. For example, the people in Kiribati are adopting new techniques of growing vegetables because of the rising of the sea and threatened traditional food system and supply by erratic weather (Partnership Teaching Resource, n.d.) The principle of solidarity and subsidiarity are the two important aspects that should be incorporated in the teachings of the catholic social teaching because, on the one hand, subsidiarity helps everyone to presume the role of an individual in healing the society. This principle gives individuals hope for a greater future, and on the other hand, solidarity helps the individual to find a concrete proposal for the greater world for which the path of solidarity and subsidiarity go hand in hand. For example: during the lockdown, many people heaped each other encouraging and giving hope by risking their lives and giving their lives.
4. Catholic social thought and a Law degree
The dignity of a human being is sacred and a foundation of morality in society according to catholic social thought (University of Notre Dame, 2000). It is believed that every person is precious and cannot be compared to materialistic things. And the principle of common good explains how human growth is not an individual work; it happens in relationship with the community it lives in and interacts with. The realization of human dignity and its protection can only happen in the context of society, i.e., human dignity is affected directly or indirectly by the society's economic and political organization. The laws and policies play an important role in stabilizing the harmony between the community and its people and hence contributing to the growth of both parties. It is an obligation under the catholic social teaching to love their neighbours, which is a broader sense requires commitment towards to the society; it is an unsaid individual's responsibility to contribute to the community it belongsto, to the 'common good. The society we live in is very sceptical and is greatly influenced by relativism, so catholic social thought can contribute greatly as a document in a law degree. These social thoughts strive for peace and justice, which is again a common agenda for people practicing law. With a good knowledge of Catholic social thought, a person pursuing a law degree can aid secular discussions and decisions. When studied in detail, a realization can be made that the dignity of a human and the common good are diverse, but general teaching is not very orthodox and restricting like other teachings of the Catholic social thought. These teaching also relate vastly to the subject of a law degree called 'human rights, which is practiced all over the world. Under the law, every person is entitled to the protection of their dignity and life (WHO, 2015). The essentials of catholic teachings provide a high level of generality and intellectual framework for people pursuing a law degree. Catholic social thought of human dignity also includes many others principles and teachings on the subject of marriage, parenthood, work, and wages (Trocaire, 2018). These are again similar subjects in a law degree. Hence, one can say that adequate knowledge of catholic learnings can facilitate a law degree program.
Devitt, P. (2017). Principles of Catholic Social Teaching | The Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra & Goulburn. [online] The Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra & Goulburn. Available at: https://cgcatholic.org.au/services-directory/councils-commissions/social-justice-commission/principles-of-catholic-social-teaching/ [Accessed 14 Dec. 2021].
Nairn, T.A. (2007). Roman Catholic Ethics and the Preferential Option for the Poor. AMA Journal of Ethics, [online] 9(5), pp.384–387. Available at: https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/roman-catholic-ethics-and-preferential-option-poor/2007-05 [Accessed 14 Dec. 2021]. Partnership Teaching Resource (n.d.). Equity and Inclusion: Through the Lens of the Catholic Social Teachings.
The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development (2020). Sociology assignmentPreferential Option for the Poor and Vulnerable. Trocaire (2018). REFLECTION ON CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING. [online] Available at: https://www.caritas.eu/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/reflection_on_catholic_social_teaching.pdf [Accessed 14 Dec. 2021].
United Nation (2015). Rule of Law and Human Rights - United Nations and the Rule of Law. [online] United Nations and the Rule of Law. Available at: https://www.un.org/ruleoflaw/rule-of-law-and-human-rights/ [Accessed 14 Dec. 2021]. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (2021). Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching | United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. [online] www.usccb.org. Available at: https://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching/seven-themes-of-catholic-social-teaching [Accessed 14 Dec. 2021].
University of Notre Dame (2000). An Introduction to the Principles of Catholic Social Thought | Center For Social Concerns. [online] Nd.edu. Available at: https://socialconcerns.nd.edu/content/introduction-principles-catholic-social-thought [Accessed 13 Dec. 2021].
WHO (2015). HUMAN RIGHTS, HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: LINKAGES IN LAW AND PRACTICE A Background Paper for the WHO. [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/hhr/information/Human_Rights_Health_and_Environmental_Protection.pdf [Accessed 14 Dec. 2021].