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Unit 3

Major Themes of Catholic Social Teaching

Through His birth and His ministry, Jesus identified Himself with the poor, the lowly, and the marginalized, showing us that in order to truly safeguard human dignity, we must honor that dignity in the weakest and most vulnerable members of society. Society must safeguard the rights of its every member and protect the nuclear family. The family is our first community, the first authority to which we are subject, and the first witness to our dignity as children of God. To safeguard the common good and protect the persons within society, the State also has the obligation to protect our natural human rights. The Catholic understanding of rights is rooted in the natural law and is associated with our social responsibilities. Our rights ultimately have their origin in God, and so it is the government’s job to protect rights, not grant them.

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