Catholic Social Thought

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Current Theme: The Life and Dignity of the Human Person

The Life and Dignity of the Human Person

Human dignity lies at the heart of the church’s teachings and serves as a foundation for all of CST.  Rooted in scripture, this principle asserts that all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God and are therefore imbued with an inherent dignity.  Human dignity is something that can’t ever be taken away.  The moral implications of this belief demand that we treat all lives as sacred and work to protect the dignity of all peoples. 

As a Catholic institution, USD encourages our community to reflect and pray about how we can acknowledge the dignity of each person, protect the vulnerable and create a better world.  As a Changemaker campus, we are preparing leaders who are compelled to act on behalf of justice and the common good to protect and promote life.  This semester offers multiple opportunities for our community to learn more about Catholic Social Thought on campus. 

As we look towards Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United States in September, the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, and the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, there are many ways to witness the church’s commitment to CST and the challenges it continues to provide us. 

Scriptural foundation: 

Genesis 1:26 “Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness.”

Psalms 139: 13-14 “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works!  My very self you know.”

Matthew 25: 35 “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me."

1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

Magisterial teaching:

“Human life is sacred and inviolable. Every civil right is based on the recognition of the first, fundamental right, the right to life, which is not subject to any condition, of a qualitative, economic and certainly not of an ideological nature.” - Pope Francis

“Therefore every threat to human dignity and life must necessarily be felt in the Church’s heart; it cannot but effect her at the core of her faith in the Redemptive Incarnation of the Son of God, and engage her in her mission of proclaiming the Gospel of Life in all the world and to every creature.” – St. John Paul

"Our mistreatment of the natural world diminishes our own dignity and sacredness, not only because we are destroying resources that future generations of humans need, but because we are engaging in actions that contradict what it means to be human. Our tradition calls us to protect the life and dignity of the human person, and it is increasingly clear that this task cannot be separated from the care and defense of all of creation." - US Catholic Bishops