Catholic Social Teaching
At St Thomas of Canterbury School, the school community all try to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Our faith calls us to love God and to love our neighbours in every situation, especially our sisters and brothers living in poverty and so learning about the principles of the Catholic Social Teaching helps the children to understand that they are here to serve the way Jesus did: to create positive change and take action to address social & environmental issues affecting our local and global communities.
Catholic Social Teaching is based on the belief that God has a plan for creation - a plan to build his kingdom of peace, love and justice; and more importantly, He has a special plan for every single one of us. Our part in this plan isn’t just limited to those things which are spiritual, or times when we do things which are perceived to be religious - it involves every aspect of our lives: from the things we pray about to how we live as a responsible global citizen.
The Catholic Church has seven principles of social teaching that we share with our children through all that we do, throughout the curriculum, special events, activities and through our ordinary actions in school.
We are all made in the image of God and our life is sacred. We ask such questions as, ‘What makes me special? What makes people special? How should we treat each other?’
God is present in every human person, regardless of religion, culture, nationality, economic standing, etc.
Each one of us is unique and beautiful and we are called to treat every person and every creature with loving respect.
Solidarity & The Common Good
Solidarity arises when we remember that we belong to each other. We reflect on this in a special way at Mass. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, ‘The Eucharist commits us to the poor. To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognise Christ in the poorest.’
We stand side-by-side with our sisters and brothers, especially those living in poverty. We ask the questions, 'Who are our leaders? How do we stand with others? How did Jesus show service and justice?
We should help however and whoever we can, and thinking about our global neighbours is what keeps us going to the end.
The common good means that the fruits of the earth belong to everyone. No one should be excluded from the gifts of creation. Humankind often puts money at the centre of everything instead of Christ and so we ask the questions, 'What is a community? How can the common good be reached? How can we work together to improve the wellbeing of people in our society and the wider world?'
Stewardship - Care for Creation
In the first pages of the Bible we read how God created the sun and the stars, the water and earth, and every creature. We believe Christ is the redeemer of all creation. In 2015, Pope Francis brought together decades of Church teaching in the encyclical, Laudato Si’. In this deeply influential letter, Pope Francis invites everyone on the planet to consider how our actions are affecting the earth and the poorest people.
Everything is interconnected and all of creation praises God. It is our Christian vocation to care for creation as we are the stewards of this earth.
Inspired by the Pope's encyclical, we at St Thomas of Canterbury School have decided to register for the LiveSimply award so staff and children can show how they put their faith into action. We hope to strengthen the bond of our whole community by showing how we care for God's gift of creation.
The Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
The option for the poor reminds us of God’s preferential love for the poorest and most vulnerable people. God’s love is universal - he does not side with oppressors, but loves the humble.
Peace is a cornerstone of our faith. Christ, the Prince of Peace, sacrificed himself with love on the cross and our troubled world is still in need of peace.
We must remember that Peace is not just the absence of war.
The Dignity of Work & Participation
People should always come before the pursuit of profit. Work and earning money to support yourself and your family is an essential part of our human dignity and everyone has the right to participate.
Work has dignity because it is performed by people, who are more important than objects. All people have a right to a minimum level of participation in the economic, political and cultural life of society.
We need to ask the questions, ‘Are workers ever exploited?’ Does any part of society work in inhumane conditions? Is everyone having the opportunity to attend school so they have the opportunity to learn and subsequently work?’
Rights & Responsibilities
The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency.
Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities to one another, our families and to the larger society. When we understand that all people are our brothers and sisters and that we are all important, our understanding of the world around us is transformed. We are God’s children living in God’s world.