Catholic social teaching is a central and essential element of our faith. Its roots are in the Hebrew prophets who announced God’s special love for the poor and called God’s people to a covenant of love and justice. It is a teaching founded on the life and words of Jesus Christ, who came “to bring glad tidings to the poor . . . liberty to captives . . . recovery of sight to the blind”(Lk 4:18-19), and who identified himself with “the least of these,” the hungry and the stranger (cf. Mt 25:45). Catholic social teaching is built on a commitment to the poor. This commitment arises from our experiences of Christ in the Eucharist.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, his brethren” (no. 1397).
Catholic social teaching emerges from the truth of what God has revealed to us about himself. We believe in the triune God whose very nature is communal and social. God the Father sends his only Son Jesus Christ and shares the Holy Spirit as his gift of love. God reveals himself to us as one who is not alone, but rather as one who is relational, one who is Trinity. Therefore, we who are made in God’s image share this communal, social nature. We are called to reach out and to build relationships of love and justice.
Catholic social teaching is based on and inseparable from our understanding of human life and human dignity. Every human being is created in the image of God and redeemed by Jesus Christ, and therefore is invaluable and worthy of respect as a member of the human family. Every person, from the moment of conception to natural death, has inherent dignity and a right to life consistent with that dignity. Human dignity comes from God, not from any human quality or accomplishment.
Our commitment to the Catholic social mission must be rooted in and strengthened by our spiritual lives. In our relationship with God we experience the conversion of heart that is necessary to truly love one another as God has loved us.
—from Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions.
As members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, we serve to create a more just community that gives priority to the needs of poor and vulnerable people. We facilitate following Christ through works of charity and action that promote social justice and nurture faith that reflects God’s love in the world and brings forth peace.
The Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life flows from her understanding that every human being is created by God out of an act of love and in His image and likeness. As such, we are created with an inherent dignity that can never be diminished or taken away, and we are made for a life in relationship with Him. Life is a precious gift – it is the means by which we encounter God and each other. Because of this dignity, we seek to protect life at all stages and in all conditions – from its very beginning at the moment of conception until we take our last breath at natural death
As an Order, we do not take part in political activities that may place at risk our national or international standing to continue our charitable work in the Holy Land. As individual Catholics, we are called to be conscientious citizens, speaking out for the rights and dignity of all people. As informed Catholics we seek through public policy initiatives, advocacy and voter education, to bring about the unchanging Gospel values into a changing world. As individuals we advocate for legislative and policy issues at the local, state and national levels placing ourselves at the service of the local bishop, USCCB, Catholic Relief Services and other organizations.
Parishes are the heart of Catholic life and a vital setting for sharing and acting on our Catholic social teaching. We acknowledge and attest that every human life is a life worth living, that every person has gifts, talents and inherent dignity, from the moment of conception to our entrance into eternity.