The Church’s Social Teaching
“Catholic social thought places emphasis on the cultivation of virtue rather than the exercise of liberty or the accumulation of prosperity as mankind’s goal. In economic terms it thinks of the common good, with individuals given the chance to find dignity in the exercise of skill, as the guiding principle, rather than profits or abstract equality targets. And it is particularly concerned about the dignity of work and workers. It celebrates vocation, believes in worker participation in industrial decision-making and sees firms as institutions which exist to serve society and imbue individual lives with purpose rather than just maximising shareholder value.”
Who wrote this?
My immediate thought: it must be a catholic writing. In fact it was written by Michael Gove, Cabinet Minister. Two things are remarkable. First that he credits authorship of his socio-political programme to the Catholic church. Second that he promotes as the aim of a Tory government a vision that is the total opposite of Maggie Thatcher’s embracement of profit at all costs. What we know as CST has grown steadily since 1893 with Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum – about workers’ rights. Successive popes have addressed their contemporary scene and applied the Gospel to its realities and problems. It is something we are conscious of in SToC and we are living it in many ways.