What is Social Justice?


First of all, I need some input….what is social justice?? Anyone??

The reason I ask is because I am required to attend a weekend long “Social Justice” retreat for my scholarship. I must say…I’m not too excited. Mostly because I’m skeptical of what secular “social justice” is in relation to Catholic social teaching.

For this reason, I decided to freshen up my knowledge of what the Church teaches about social justice. Thank you: Catechism of the Catholic Church.

(perk of being Catholic…I can always look up an answer)

In the CCC under social justice, the Church has defines it as:

“Society ensures social justice when it provides the conditions that allow associations or individuals to obtain what is their due, according to their nature and their vocation. Social justice is linked to the common good and the exercise of authority.” (CCC1928)

The CCC then breaks up this topic into 2 sections:

1-Respect for the Human Person

2-Equality and Differences among Men

3-Human Solidarity

In my own words, I would describe these points as follows:

1-The human person has intrinsic dignity, which is where rights flow from…meaning all people have equal dignity which is inherent and unchanging.  The treatment of people is based on their dignity, NOT on ability, age, economic status, race, etc.

“Respect for the human person proceeds by way of respect for the principle that “everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as ‘another self,’ above all bearing in mind his life and the means necessary for living it with dignity.” No legislation could by itself do away with the fears, prejudices, and attitudes of pride and selfishness which obstruct the establishment of truly fraternal societies. Such behavior will cease only through the charity that finds in every man a “neighbor,” a brother.” (CCC 1931)

2-Although we are all equal in dignity, there are inequalities in ability, economic status, etc.  These differences are a call to act in accordance with God’s plan and the golden rule.  Treating others as we would treat ourselves.  We need to rely on one another and perform acts of charity. God made us dependent on Him and on the charity of others to better reveal his relational plan for the Kingdom.

The differences among persons belong to God’s plan, who wills that we should need one another. These differences should encourage charity.” (CCC 1946)

3-As a part of the entire Body of Christ, we are called to try to eliminate any injustice happening among our brothers and sisters when we are able.  It is our responsibility to act justly for the sake of the family of Christ.

“The principle of solidarity, also articulated in terms of “friendship” or “social charity,” is a direct demand of human and Christian brotherhood.” (CCC 1939)

Prayers are much appreciated for this weekend as I learn about “Social Justice”

Favorite quote:

“Respect for the human person considers the other “another self.” It presupposes respect for the fundamental rights that flow from the dignity intrinsic of the person.” (CCC 1944)


2 thoughts on “What is Social Justice?

  1. Be assured, my prayers are with you. As always, you amaze me. I’m sure your convictions and your profound faith will serve you well, no matter what secular ideas of ‘social justice’ might be presented. Keep the faith, young mother, and remember that God is with you always.

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