The Social Doctrine of the Church is constantly challenged to adapt to the social needs of people of each time and place, applying, in a dynamic and creative way, the principles of the Gospel to the human experience.
PUBLISHED ONAug 2016
Since my younger years, I have been fascinated with stories about hidden treasures and, mostly, with the people who relentlessly believe they exist and search for them. In the Gospel, Jesus invites us to search for the “hidden treasure,” that “pearl of great price” (Mt 13:44), an image of the incomparable value of God’s Kingdom which, once found, makes all efforts worthwhile and is dearly cherished as the most valuable possession.
As disciples of Jesus, we have found “The Treasure” – Jesus Himself and His teachings, to make us live to the full (Jn 10:10). However, we need to continue digging deeper to uncover its greater richness. This is not an intellectual exercise nor just a faith feeling but a very practical challenge to allow it to shape our lives, institutions: how we live and build society. It has been summarized to us in the basic commandment of love: love God above all things and love neighbor as yourself (Mk 12:30-31). In a nutshell, this is the foundation of our Christian morale and the great treasure of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
From this foundational treasure, the Social Doctrine of the Church tries to interpret the social, cultural, economic and political realities to determine their conformity to the Gospel values. The Social Doctrine of the Church is constantly challenged to adapt to the social needs of people of each time and place, applying, in a dynamic and creative way, the principles of the Gospel to the human experience. However, this is done without ever compromising its four pillars. First, the dignity of the human being; each person has been created in the likeness of God and that is a dignity no one can take away. Second, the common good, which is not the sum total of individual goods but the common ground where a life of communion is possible. Third, subsidiarity; we are not in this world to compete, to be rivals, but to collaborate with each own’s uniqueness. We complement each other. And, finally, solidarity; we need to recognize that we belong to each other; we are interdependent and we have the great capacity to be compassionate and live in empathy with the sorrows and joys of others. These principles bring us to dig even deeper to uncover this treasure, realizing the life-giving link between the Gospel and the realities of our daily lives.