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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

16 May 2018: Dr Carmody Grey

Catholic Social Teaching

An acquaintance of mine recently moved from working at a Christian evangelical charity to a Catholic one. He said although the priorities were the same, there was one difference; in his new place of work, people are constantly talking about something called ‘Catholic Social Teaching’.

One Anglican said recently that Catholic Social Teaching is ‘one of the greatest treasures that the Churches globally have to offer’ – and this was none other than Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. He described it as ‘a comprehensive approach to building a society that reflects the love and integrity of Jesus Christ.’ Catholic Social Teaching is a rich repository of Christian reflection on ­some of the toughest social, political and ethical problems of our time. It has been a significant influence on recent thinking in British politics, including David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ and the movements known as ‘Red Toryism’ and ‘Blue Labour’, as well as the development of legislation in Europe and North and South America.

We live in a time when Christians need more than ever to be active and intelligent participants in the political and social debates that are shaping our age. But Catholic Social Teaching is often called ‘the Church’s best kept secret’. It needs to get into the hands of the people who can use it – Christians, living on the front line of our world. That includes all of us who live and work in a secular society.

From the moment we place our faith in Jesus, we accept a daunting responsibility: to give ourselves entirely to the realisation of God’s kingdom of justice and love in our community and society. The ‘deep well’ of Catholic Social Teaching, this ‘huge treasure’, as Archbishop Justin called it, can help us to do just that: to see how faith in the God of Jesus Christ transforms way we live together in the world.

Dr Carmody Grey is Assistant Professor of Catholic Theology at the University of Durham; this article was supplied by St Laurence Catholic Church, Petersfield.

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