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August 2, 2022 REL Asset - Activity, REL Catechetical - K–6, REL Catechetical - Jr High, REL Topic - Catechesis, REL Catechetical - Early Childhood, REL Topic- Social Doctrine, REL Asset - Prayer Card, REL Catechetical - Intergenerational

11 Catholic Social Teaching Resources for Religious Education

Catholic social teaching is the teaching of the Church that calls all members to work for justice and peace as Jesus did. Jesus’ life and teaching are the foundations of Catholic social teaching and the whole Catholic Church is called to live by this social teaching. It’s important to teach students about Catholic social teaching so that they can then live it out, through discipleship. Knowledge and understanding of the teachings and its seven themes are the foundation for action. Catholic social teaching resources can support catechists and families in teaching Catholic kids as a foundation for discipleship.

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How to Teach About Catholic Social Teaching

Teaching about Justice

In order to take on the serious responsibility of continuing Jesus’ work of social justice, students must have a Catholic understanding of justice. Social justice means opposing injustice in society and working to promote justice for all people who share human dignity because they are made in the image and likeness of God. 

Teaching about Peace

A Catholic understanding of peace goes beyond the absence of war and violence and is brought about when all people live in harmony with one another and with creation. Peace is God’s will. Catholics are called to be peacemakers. Justice and peace are closely connected. 

 

Peace is God’s will. Catholics are called to be peacemakers.

Catholic Social Teaching Resources 

Church Resources 

All members of the Catholic Church are called to live by Catholic social teaching and work for justice and peace. Catholic social teaching is explained through a wealth of foundational documents including papal and Vatican documents and documents from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

Prayer Resources

As disciples of Jesus and members of the Catholic Church, one way in which we bring about justice and peace is through prayer. Catholic social teaching resources include prayers focused on justice, peace, and the seven themes. 

It is not easy to work for justice. It takes fortitude and a continual hunger to see the injustice, unfairness, and inequity made right for all people. The Prayer of Hunger for Justice Prayer Card is a way to ask Jesus for this fortitude. 

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World peace can begin at home, and it’s important for those learning about and striving to work for Catholic social teaching to understand the impact of everyday efforts for peacemaking. The Prayer for Peacemakers Prayer Card focuses on peacemaking within our own spheres of influence. As individuals become instruments for peace, the Prayer for Peace Prayer Card recalls the peace Jesus gave his disciples and offers a prayerful meditation focused on peace. 

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Educational Resources 

Once students have learned about the themes of Catholic social teaching, they can begin to apply them in appropriate ways. Parents and catechists can support students in doing so by demonstrating and modeling ways to live out Catholic social teaching with Catholic social teaching resources. Putting Catholic social teaching into practice requires understanding, courage and commitment. The Applying the Themes of Catholic Social Teaching eBook expands on a basic understanding of Catholic social teaching and suggests ways to apply the themes for adults, in their everyday lives as well as in homes and religious education classrooms.

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Sharing the example of saints and holy people is another way to support students in learning about Catholic social teaching. Saints who worked for justice and peace in their lives provide case studies in ways to live out Catholic social teaching as disciples of Jesus Christ. Saint stories are helpful as Catholic social teaching resources. 

Providing appropriate and meaningful opportunities for service projects that address the themes of Catholic social teaching are another way that parents and catechists can help students learn about and live out Catholic social teaching. These projects can be designed to directly support those who are poor, oppressed, neglected, or in need. Inspiration for engaging service projects that relate to the themes of Catholic social teaching can be found in the 10 Service Projects Children Will Love eBook

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Youth Resources 

Catholic youth and families can take steps to put Catholic social teaching to work in their communities. Research shows that beginning with the millennial generation, there is increasing interest in social justice via service. Offer this retreat to young Catholics as a Catholic social teaching resource that can help them understand ways to integrate the seven themes of Catholic social teaching into their lives as they gather, pray, and reflect on Scripture. 

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Resources for Each of the Themes of Catholic Social Teaching 

There are seven themes of Catholic social teaching: Life and Dignity of the Human Person; Call to Family, Community, and Participation; Rights and Responsibilities; Option for the Poor and Vulnerable; The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers; Solidarity; Care for God’s Creation.

Life and Dignity of the Human Person 

Catholics can pray to honor the human dignity of all human persons, made in God’s image and likeness. The Honoring the Dignity of All Human Beings Prayer Card is a way to strengthen commitment to treating all people with respect, a central theme of Catholic social teaching. 

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Call to Family, Community, and Participation 

Catholics are called to be active participants in our families and communities, making choices through the values of faith when it comes to social, political, and economic life. Being an informed Catholic voter is a way to live out this theme for adult Catholics of voting age.

Rights and Responsibilities of the Human Person 

Every person has a fundamental right to life and having basic needs met, including faith and family, work and education, health care and housing. Catholics can advocate for these rights and help to ensure that all members of the community have access to them. Outreaching in the community on behalf of those who are homeless, through events the one offered in this Helping the Homeless Activity, is a way to live out this theme. 

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Option for the Poor and Vulnerable 

We have a special obligation to help those who are poor and in need. This includes those who cannot protect themselves because of their age or because of their health. Saint Martin de Porres is an example of caring for those who are sick and vulnerable.

Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers

As a way to value work and ensure that people have the right to decent work, just wages, safe working conditions, and to participate in decisions about their work, pray for those who labor on behalf of others. The Prayer for Those Who Labor Prayer Card remembers and honors all workers.

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Solidarity of the Human Family

Solidarity reminds us that all people of all cultures, races, and religions are part of one human family. Pope John Paul II called for solidarity among all the people of the world. Share a Saint Pope John Paul II Activity with Catholic kids that inspires and invites them to reach out to others with messages of peace.

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Care for God’s Creation 

Catholics are called to be stewards, or caretakers, of his creation by respecting the environment and preserving it as a gift for future generations. Care for creation shows respect for God, the Creator. Catholics can be stewards at every age. Learn about ways that children can protect the environment with a Stewards of God’s Creation Lesson that includes prayer and activities for home or classroom use.

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In Summary

Learning about and understanding Catholic social teaching is the first step in living it out as disciples of Jesus. By utilizing Catholic social teaching resources, teaching about justice and peace, and providing opportunities to put the themes of Catholic social teaching into action, parents and catechists can model and support ways to pray and live by this teaching across all seven themes.