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Religion Library: Roman Catholicism

Vision for Society

Written by: Cynthia Stewart

The Catholic vision for society also encompasses the dignity of work, which Catholics consider to be not just a necessity but a spiritual action that leads to human fulfillment. Catholic teaching holds that societies should care for their workers, affording them the respect that is due to every person and the gratitude that is due to those whose labor makes society possible. Care of the earth and the riches God has provided is a growing concern in Catholic social teaching, as is true in many societies and religions. These and other social teachings spring from the Catholic view of society as a work in progress that should always be striving to express the love and justice of God.

This idea of a "work in progress" is true of ecumenical interactions as well, and the Catholic vision for society includes the reintegration of all Christians into one body of fellowship. To this end Catholics participate in a wide variety of ecumenical discussions and theological dialogues, especially through the Church's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, created in 1960 as part of the preparation for Vatican Council II.

Study Questions:
     1.    What historical factors have limited the expansion of the Catholic Church?
     2.    Is the Catholic vision for society synonymous with the vision of a Catholic society? Explain.
     3.    Why do the Catholic social teachings focus on social justice rather than religious doctrine?
     4.    What is the relationship between family life and society?


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